Backup and Think

There’s a guy out there who is so sure he can prevent identity theft, he gives out his Social Security number in his ads. He dares you to try and steal his identity. He’s got a $1-million guarantee on it. (The company is Lifelock, his name is Todd Davis, and I’m not linking to him or his site because this is not a paid ad, but rather an illustration of a larger point.)

Identity theft is such a big deal, that many people refuse to put their Social Security numbers on any document whatsoever. Your employer probably doesn’t require it. Your insurance companies don’t use it as an identifier for you. Because if that identifying piece of information ever got out, someone could pretend to be you.

But hey, let’s just hand over the keys to our websites, right? BlogBackUpr is missing more than just vowels and originality. It’s missing a clue about security. It claims to be a free webservice (in BETA, of course) that will back-up the contents of your blog, every day. A nice automated procedure, that involves no local storage headaches for you… and all you have to do is turn over your username and password.

Frequently Unasked Questions

Reprinted, as of the moment of this posting, is the FAQ:

Is this a backup service for my blog?

Does this service work with my blog?
This service works with all blogs that have a RSS-feed.

Why do you need my WordPress login?
We need to be able to backup more than the RSS-feed supplies and for restore. All passwords are stored encrypted in our database.

What’s included in the backup?
If your blog engine is WordPress we include full posts, comments and catagories. And the other blog engines depends on the engine in question.

Which blogs support automatic restore?
We currently support:

  • WordPress Open Source (
  • WordPress.Com
  • Blogger.Com

There will be support for more platforms in the future. Blogs with other platforms can use the “Export” function.

Why is there no backup?
Please wait at least a day.

What about the blog template and images?
Sorry, this service is just beta. But if you register we announce when we will backup your template and images.

I’m seeing error messages
All errors are logged and reviewed. Please contact me for more detailed status

Who is behind this service?
Jonas Lejon is a young web 2.0 entrepreneur living in the beautiful country of Sweden.

I’m sure Jonas is a nice young man, with no ill intent whatsoever. And I am fully satisfied that my passwords will be stored encrypted in his database. However, there is no promise whatsoever that he won’t use them!

Trust: a four-letter word

Hey… if I were into spam blogs or building up search engine links, I’d create some valuable webservice that gave me unencumbered access to blog sites. I’d go into older posts, maybe insert a few text links in there. I might even add a “display: none” tag, so they wouldn’t be visible, but would fire up my linkrank just the same.

This isn’t the first time I’ve railed against our collective stupidity in trusting too much. Even the tech-savvy elites can’t resist the chance to click on the promise of a shiny new Firefox plugin! What makes this BlogBackUpr even worse is I discovered it through the “Currently Popular” links on Which means it’s just a matter of moments before it’s on Digg, and Reddit, and any of a host of link-hosting sites. Share the misery, people.

Again — no ill will toward Jonas. Good luck, my man. But even better luck to the people who have signed up for your services without asking any of the important questions that ought to have been addressed in your FAQ. Better luck to them — because God only knows where else they’ve handed off the keys to their online identity.

[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, blogging, security, identity theft, webservices[/tags]

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  1. FYI — as of this comment, 113 people have bookmarked that site. It will be interesting to see how high that climbs once the other social link-nets start pumping traffic.

  2. Time-stamped check: As of this moment, we’re up to 157 people who have bookmarked the service.

  3. I wonder if there’s any correlation between the price of something and how much information one is willing to give up.

    Think I remember a story last week over security concerns stalling or at least being a concern for online shopping.

    Or, maybe, if it’s free, a service opens up to that many more people, and simply by being a numbers game, you get a lot of people. And, a lot more information “out there.”

  4. This could still be a result of the “it won’t happen to me” syndrome. We all take daily risks on the Internet, and sometimes I think we take more than we normally would because we’re doing things at work, etc., where we are greatly distracted.

    Also, there is the possibility that many people succumb to the “I want to be first to have the latest technology” syndrome, which you address.

  5. The offer itself sounds so suspicious. I wonder just how many people will avail of this free service. Until people try it out, we will never be sure if this guy is the real deal or not. I’m sure he himself realizes how carefully people will react to his identity theft prevention process. Trust is not something to be given lightly. Some movies might make out trusting seem so easy but even though you feel like you can trust a person, it’s best to tread cautiously.

  6. Excellent point, Susan. Even tech-savvy people can blind themselves to password dangers, because they want to be the first to use a solution to a problem they don’t yet have!

    (It’s not like there isn’t already an Export function for these blog engines…)

  7. Interesting post Ike. As you said, the guy’s intentions may be pure, but he needs to make his privacy policy very clear and very prominent.

    I don’t understand why this service is necessary though, since my ISP backs up my site and blog databases daily as part of their service.

    If you shop around, you’ll find that many reputable ISPs offer daily database backup.

  8. You are concerned about your identity being compromised. Google yourself.

    See how much you find out about yourself from just writing to each other using your real name on a blog. Or determine if someone else is using your name while writing on blogs and message boards.

    In the last 24 hours I have received e-mails containing written Terms of Use and Privacy Policies from “Scripts-Howard” and “My Space”. It looks like a memo went out to make sure your back is covered.

  9. Hi Ike, thanks for writing about BlogBackupr. I’ve added an option in the sign up process to use the public feed (no password required) of WordPress blogs instead of the private feed (password required).

    If you have more suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me.


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