What's Mine is Mine, and What's Yours is Yours

Posted by Adam Sewell on 7/13/23

If you know me at all, or have read some of my other posts, you may have the impression that I am a huge supporter of open source software and well, you have the correct impression. I fully believe in giving back to a community that has helped grow you as a person or had benefited you in some way, shape of form. For example, years and years ago I was a volunteer in an online malware removal community. I went through some fairly extensive training to be approved to help random people on the Internet remove malware from their machines. The entire operation was a volunteer community, including the "teachers" that you worked with to learn the in's and out's of malware, persistence, and footholds. That knowledge is still something that I use to this very day.

After going through the process and being approved to work on my own in this community, I felt like that I needed to find a way to contribute back to the community that had invested into me. With some mulling over the idea, I ended up writing at first, a Firefox browser plugin and then later on a Chrome extension that served the same purpose. It was a tool that allowed the malware removal team in this (and other) community an easier way to research the logs that we had to pour over. I ran that project for years and it was a great learning experience for me, not just in coding the plugins but managing and maintaining code across multiple platforms. In fact, I still have the original code I wrote and shudder when I look at it.

Again, I take a strong stance of sharing back to the community but as with anything, there are limitations. The first and foremost hard limit for me is don't use other people's products and call it your own. I actually had this happen with my original Firefox plugin, where someone tried to copy my code and call it their own. That did not go over well for them in the end but I made every attempt to come to an amicable resolution. I've actually ran into that issue again recently with MyGeek where someone was trying to use a service that we provide as their own.

As a contractual obligation ended, as with any of our services, we followed our standard security procedures and removed access and data from our services pertaining to the project. What I found out after the fact was that a third-party that was also involved in the project had not copied the data that we had provided to them off of our services. I found this out because they contacted me for the data. Unfortunately there's very little that we could do to help them in this instance because the data is gone, we ourselves could have liability issues had we actually kept the data around after the contract ended.

So as the moral to this story, if you have access to something that is important for you to function as a business. Please, please ensure that you have backups of that data. The service that houses your data that you rely on may not always be there.

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