A View from David Zax
Website Time Machine Stands up to Hackers
CodeGuard backs up your website, in case hackers ever break in.
It has been a season of rampant hacking. The massive breach on the Sony PlayStation Network kicked off the season, exposing 100 million user accounts. Since then, other Sony businesses (Sony Pictures, Sony Europe, Sony Greece, and several others) have been hacked repeatedly. After airing a special on WikiLeaks, PBS recently had its website hacked by a group called LulzSec. PBS issued a statement announcing the hack on its website—and then the hackers hacked the statement on the hack.
These high-profile cases are just the tip of a very ugly iceberg. Every half second or so, a new webpage gets infected with malware—about 4 million pages per month.
Websites fearful of LulzSec and its ilk might do well to examine CodeGuard, a startup that recently garnered attention at TechCrunch Disrupt, and just nabbed half a million in funding from Imlay Investments. CodeGuard is, essentially, like an Apple Time Machine for websites. Just as Apple’s Time Machine continually backs up your Mac by taking a snapshot of what’s on your hard drive, CodeGuard does the same for your site.
The Atlanta, Georgia-based startup wants to differentiate itself from other backup services out there. There are some ISP-based backup options, but these tend to leave much to be desired. CodeGuard claims that many victims of hacking often discover that the backup is “hard to access, out of date or has been affected by the same event.”
CodeGuard says its system won’t run into any of these problems. Rather than just passively taking periodic snapshots of your site, it’s smart enough to know exactly what files were added in a given day or hour (you can choose how often you want CodeGuard to check in on your site). By maintaining a roster of past versions of your site, CodeGuard essentially gives your webmaster and undo button, making reverting back to a former, “clean” version of the site easy.
CodeGuard also is more proactive about actually notifying you if your website has been hacked. Oftentimes website owners only learn their site has been compromised well after the fact, and almost incidentally: they Google themselves, and a warning comes up; or a customer will email them tipping them off to something strange. But by scanning new and modified files, CodeGuard is able to identify a hack right away—before malware spreads and damages the site.
CodeGuard’s free to use for sites under 250 MB; up to a gigabyte, it’s $10 a month. Beyond that, it offers “custom pricing.” Money well spent, though, when the alternative might be falsely reporting to your readers that Tupac Shakur is alive and well in New Zealand.
Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.Subscribe today