My understanding is that there was one, but then the host over wrote it with a corrupted copy.
It's curious that the Way Back Machine archive also can't pull out older archives of it, either.
Thanks for that bit of info. That pretty much confirms they didn't have staggered backups.
I'll try to break it down for peeps that aren't familiar with how this works. Some hosting companies provide daily backups as part of their service. What that means is the server your website is hosted on (in this case E-Sangha) is backed up once a day. Now, every day at the same time the previous day's backup is overwritten with the current day's backup. The problem here is that once your website is corrupted (or hacked) for more than 24 hours the old backup gets automatically overwritten with the fresh corrupted backup.
I've seen this happen before. People think that because they are doing daily backups they are protected, but by not having staggered backups (daily, weekly and monthly), it leaves them vulnerable to these kinds of unfortunate things.
FYI, the Way Back Machine is not a complete archive. It's basically a spider that attempts
to index and record the publicity available portions of most websites. On large and fast moving sites like forums, it's nearly impossible to index all of the threads. Also, the most important thing on a forum second to the posts is the user data. The Way Back Machine does not capture user logins, passwords, private messages, or any of the other important parts of the database. Just attempting to scrape threads from an archive of past posts wouldn't fix the problem of all that missing user data. Really without a working database, a fresh install is the only feasible option.
David N. Snyder wrote:
And then if the hackers are in one country, such as Russia and Leo is in another, Singapore and the server and hosting is in the U.S., it would be difficult if not impossible to sue since there would be no venue or jurisdiction for the court.
I think part of the reason for the delay may be that it is just so heart-breaking for Leo and the administrators to start all over from scratch. It was the largest English language Buddhist forum (that I know of) that ever existed. It had something like 1.4 million posts and about 60,000 members. Can you imagine how long it will take to build that base up again? So they are probably still searching for ways to restore it to the level it was at.
I run a number of websites as part of my business. I've been hacked several times, the most recent of which was only a few months ago. Going after the hackers is close to impossible. It sucks, and I can definitely empathize on a very personal level with what Leo and the E-Sangha crew must be going though.
I would suggest Leo hire an expert. It might be possible to repair his database, although it's probably going to expensive if it is at all possible. Based on my own experiences with corrupted databases, I'm doubtful that it can be repaired. I'm not an expert on restoring databases or security. I just know what I do from running my business and dealing with similar issues.