IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

"Catastrophic” hack on VFEmail destroys almost two decades of data

!!!ALERT!!!! Update Feb 11 2019
www.vfemail.net and mail.vfemail.net are currently unavailable in their prior form.
We have suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of a hacker, last seen as [email protected]
This person has destroyed all data in the US, both primary and backup systems. We are working to recover what data we can.


Main points:

  • If you didn't use nl101.vfemail.net, then your mailbox is gone. Send yourself an email to re-create it (if necessary).
  • After the initial incident on 2/11, incoming mail was queued on the sending servers.
    These should have started coming in within 12 hours, creating new mailboxes for existing accounts - 'new' mail should not be lost.
  • Accounts exist, the mail data does not. If your mailbox hasn't been re-created, you can't login. Send yourself an email to re-create it.
  • If you're one of the 10% who used webmail, your addressbook and calendars still exist.
  • If you can't login, use https://nl101.vfemail.net to login to webmail.
  • If you used POP. Change your mail server to nl101.vfemail.net
  • If you used IMAP. CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT, and use nl101.vfemail.net for the server name.
    DO NOT CHANGE AN EXISTING ACCOUNT, YOU WILL SYNC WITH AN EMPTY MAILBOX AND LOSE YOUR LOCAL MAIL.
  • There is no control panel
  • Consider your mailbox data to be lost, but we haven't given up yet.

Timeline -
As of 5am 2/11/19
www.vfemail.net and mail.vfemail.net are currently unavailable.
We have suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of a hacker, last seen as [email protected]
This person has destroyed all data in the US, both primary and backup systems. We are working to recover what data we can.
New updates 2/11/19 6pm CST:

  • Incoming mail is now being delivered.
  • Webmail is up. Note-mailboxes are created upon new mail delivery. If you cannot login, you may not have received mail.
  • Mailboxes are new, no subfolders exist.
  • No filters are in place. If you created a filter with Horde, Login to Horde, Create any folders you need.
    Click Filter, Click Script, then click 'Activate Script'.
  • There is no spam scanning at this time - Incoming mail may be Spam scanned depending on DNS status.
  • Free users should not attempt to send email, there is currently no delivery mechanism for free accounts. Paid accounts should be useable, including Horde/Roundcube contacts and calendars.
  • NL hosted email is available (if you bought and requested a Migraiton).

At this time I am unsure of the status of existing mail for US users. If you have your own email client, DO NOT TRY TO MAKE IT WORK.
If you reconnect your client to your new mailbox, all your local mail will be lost.
2/12/19
AT YOUR OWN RISK - POP users can use 'nl101.vfemail.net'
IMAP Users should create a new account, then use 'nl101.vfemail.net' as the IMAP/SMTP server

2/13/19

  • If you are unable to login, send yourself an email from another location. Receipt of an email creates your new mailbox.
  • We have engaged a data recovery vendor to discuss options.
  • Mailboxes were shutdown for a short time while we move data between volumes
    We've used 11Gb of space in 2 days - FYI.
  • Vanity domains should receive mail properly now
  • If you were set to 'nobackup', you should start receiving mail now.

“Yes, @VFEmail is effectively gone,” VFEmail founder Rick Romero wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning after watching someone methodically reformat hard drives of the service he started in 2001. “It will likely not return. I never thought anyone would care about my labor of love so much that they'd want to completely and thoroughly destroy it.”

VFEmail says data for virtually all US users is gone for good!

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