Adobe Creative Cloud Bug Deletes User Data on Mac

A recently published update for the Adobe Creative Cloud graphics service has been pulled by Adobe following reports that the Mac version of the software may delete important user data with no warning.

Backblaze, a data backup service, has been hit hardest by the bug, with their official providing some insight into the issue. Whenever a user signs into the Adobe Creative Cloud service after the update, a script is run that automatically deletes the first folder found in the root directory of the Mac. Due to Backblaze’s reliance on a hidden folder named .bzvol, it has been hit harder than many other software or services, as this required folder is likely to be the first directory in the root.

In an email, Backblaze Marketing Manager Yev Pusin wrote “This caused a lot of our customers to freak out. The reason we saw a huge uptick from our customers is because Backblaze’s .bzvol is higher up the alphabet. We tested it again by creating a hidden file with an ‘.a’ name, and the files inside were removed as well.” A number of Backblaze officials have posted videos of the bug in action online. The only version that seems to be causing the unwanted deletions is 3.5.0.206.

Even those who don’t use the Backblaze service are suffering effects potentially dangerous to their system with the.DocumentRevisions-V100, which is required for Mac autosave and version history to function, being high up alphabetically. Folders with spaces are also at risk, and as a result, the data of users who store important files in them, with OSX sorting said folders to the top entry on the hard drive.

Adobe has already addressed the issue, with an Adobe spokesperson stating “We are aware that some customers have experienced this issue and we are investigating in order to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We are stopping the distribution of the update until the issue has been resolved.” Anyone who is yet to install the update should refrain from doing so, and those who have should avoid logging in to the service until a fix is published. For those who already have the update have a workaround available, by creating a folder sorted higher alphabetically than any other on the drive. An obvious example would be “.aaaaaa”, but Backblaze has suggested the more amusing “.adobedontdeletemybzvol.”

It is amazing how a bug this major can be allowed to go live without being spotted and there is always the possibility of sabotage with an unscrupulous employee or hacker hiding the script in the code. Until Adobe releases more news on the issue and a fix, we don’t know, but it should certainly make many users a lot more wary of the service.

Seagate Targeted by Ridiculous Class-Action Lawsuit

It is always great to wake up to some news that makes one laugh and today is one of those days as Seagate is targeted with a ridiculous lawsuit. The Plaintiff Cristopher A. Nelson claims that Seagate has an inability to deliver non-defective hard drives that conform to their express and implied warranties, its breach of consumer protection, unfair competition and false advertising laws as well as its unjust enrichment. So far all sounds good in the sense of the lawsuit and not so good for consumers that might have been misled. However, the plaintiff solely bases his accusations on the misleading Backblaze reports that no one in the industry with respect for themselves take seriously as well as his own failed drive.

BackBlaze is a large-scale data hosting company, but it is one that takes alternate routes in order to provide their customers with cheap storage and that is where the problem lies. They will use any kind of hard disk drive in their large scale servers as long as it’s cheap, but it is far from every drive that suited for this kind of usage. A desktop drive is rated for 6-8 hours usage a day in systems with 1-4 drives installed, yet BackBlaze is using desktop drives in large scale servers that hold up to and above 50 drives while they run 24/7. Not only this, they also purchase the drives from any place they can find, including supermarkets where they most likely haven’t been handled properly before being sold.

So it isn’t really any surprise that BackBlaze is experiencing a lot of failures with these drives. As a farmer you wouldn’t go out and purchase an Opel Corsa or similar car to plow your fields with just because it is cheaper than a tractor. A good farmer knows that and a good hoster should also know what drives to pick. Yet they still use Seagate as they still provide them with cheaper storage than competition despite the failure rate.

Now you might ask yourself, why is it only Seagate that is affected by this and not the other companies that make hard disk drives used by BackBlaze? That is actually a very simple, BackBlaze only seems to purchase consumer drives from Seagate. WD drives in use by BackBlaze, for example, are WD RED drives and while they only are certified for 1-4 drive bays, they are manufactured for 24/7 usage and thereby will hold up better than equivalent desktop drives. In return, this means that the Seagate drives will look worse on their yearly reports.

But let us get back to the class-action lawsuit in question. The plaintiff apparently purchased a Seagate Backup Plus 3TB drive at BestBuy, an external storage drive, which then failed 2 years later. He then got a replacement on warranty which apparently failed about a year after receiving it. This is where the first red flag should pop up, actual multiple ones. But the main one is that he’s basing his lawsuit on two different products, internal and external storage, where the one even is being used wide outside their intended region of operation. I’d also like to question just how he handled that external drive, most people don’t treat external HDDs with as much care as they should.

I don’t expect this lawsuit to make it past any judge with just a little bit of respect for themselves and that it will be thrown out as soon as the judge finished reading the transcript. The lesson here is, buy products suited for the operation you need them for and treat them properly. Nothing more, nothing less.

3TB Seagate Hard Drives Have 43% Failure Rate, According to Backblaze

Cloud storage provider Backblaze, in its 2014 ‘Hard Drive Annual Failure Rate’ graph, reports that the 3TB Seagate Barracuda drives it used for its storage service had a 43.1% failure rate over 2014. Other Seagate models also performed badly, with the 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11 failing 23.8% of the time.

It must be noted that Backblaze exposed the drives to heavy stress, using them 24/7 to support user data. Seagate’s drives, designed purely to serve as home external storage devices, are not expected to handle more than eight hours use a day, nor be used as part of a massive vibrating enclosure, so it is baffling why Backblaze would continue to use Barracuda HHDs for a task they are so ill-suited to.

Not every hard drive manufacturer fared as badly as Seagate, though. HGST drives in particular proved to be very reliable under heavy use, with its 2 to 4TB drives boasting only a 2.3% rate of failure for the year, and the 2TB 7K2000 model leading the pack with a 1.1% failure rate.

Source: Ars Technica

Backblaze Reveal Their Hard Drive Fail Rates for Hitachi, Seagate & WD

Online backup service Backblaze have just published their enterprise hard drive fail rate statistics for 2014. Since they have a large data centre at their disposal, they’re in a perfect position to report on the reliability of hard drives after extensive usage; they have 34,881 hard drives in their data centre, storing over 100 petabytes of data.

“Losing a disk drive at Backblaze is not a big deal. Every file we back up is replicated across multiple drives in the data centre. When a drive fails, it is promptly replaced, and its data is restored. Even so, we still try to avoid failing drives, because replacing them costs money.” Said Backblaze. “We carefully track which drives are doing well and which are not, to help us when selecting new drives to buy.” They added.

At their disposal are 2TB, 3TB and 4TB Hitachi drives, 1.5TB, 3TB and 4TB Seagate drives, and 1TB and 3TB Western Digital drives. As you can see in the charts above and below, Seagate 3.0TB drives are failing more frequently, going from around 9% up to 15%; although even 9% is quite a high number in my opinion. Hitachi and WD drives are performing really well, although it’s clear that the 3TB WD drives are wearing out more frequently this year.

Is this a true indication of their performance and quality? Yes and no, since there are a lot of external factors at play.

“It may be that those drives are less well-suited to the data centre environment. Or it could be that getting them by drive farming and removing them from external USB enclosures caused problems. We’ll continue to monitor and report on how these drives perform in the future.” said Backblaze when discussing the causes of the drive failures.

Thank you Backblaze for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Backblaze.