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I really try to restrain myself when a backup article pops up on HN, but there are two things you raise here that I'd like to address ... first:

"Ditto for any SSH-based backup scheme that requires keys to be stored on the original box. A compromised box could also lie about checksums, silently corrupting your backups."

This is a good thought - you should indeed be thinking about an attacker compromising your system and then using the SSH keys they find and wiping out the offsite backup. All they need to do is look into cron and find the jobs that point to the servers that ...

So how do we[1] solve this ? All of our accounts have ZFS snapshots enabled by default. You may not be aware of it, but ZFS snapshots are immutable. Completely. Even root can't write or delete in a snapshot. The snapshot has to be deliberately destroyed with ZFS commands run by root - which of course, the attacker would not have access to. It's a nice safety net - even if your current copy is wiped out, you have your ZFS snapshots in place.[2]

"Backups should be pulled from the backup box, not pushed from the original box."

This was the tipping point - I had to comment. Since day one, we have, free of charge, set up "pull jobs" for any customer that asks for it. Works just like you'd like it to on whatever schedule they can cram into a cron format. It's a value add we've always been happy to provide.

[1] You know who we are.

[2] Yes, if you don't notice for 7 days and 4 weeks that the attacker has wiped you out, at that point your snapshots will all rotate into nothingness as well. Nothing's perfect.

Is it possible to be notified if a certain percent of the backup is changed? Something that would let me tell if something like 50% of the bytes or 50% of the files are different between snapshots? Just a simple 'zfs diff | wc -l | mail' in cron?

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