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Unread 01-17-2019, 01:36 PM
Alex Pepple Alex Pepple is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 4,348
Blog Entries: 79
Default Server Downtime--Take 2

Dear Eratosphereans,

We’d just been hacked. Again!

After I restored the server, I was gun-shy about setting up the security measures that had crashed it until I could set up an external backup. But it looks like the hackers wasted no time to hack the site and when I first saw how things looked, they looked BAD! (And it must have been easier for them with none of the stronger security measures I was gun-shy about in place!). It was so bad that I couldn’t even login to the server and it looked like the hackers had managed to lock me out of it, and worse, it looked like they’d managed to wipe out everything on the server and there would be nothing to restore even if I could get in.

Eventually, I was able to check through a back door (even though it seems the hackers locked me out from the root account, which is the only place where the system allows changes/restores, etc), and it seemed the files were probably still there.

After that—it took them a while—but I was able to get the tech support of the server's hosting company to reset the root password. So, at least, I could log back in to the server’s root account and determine what mess was left behind by the hackers. It was encouraging then that it seemed all the data files were still there (I didn't go in depth to the folders, but from a high level--so, I still was concerned that there might be crucial things missing when I looked closer!). But overall, it was a good first step in my effort to fix everything, if possible,

Further looking around, and work on it, got me far less concerned--it wasn't as bad and hopeless as I'd feared. Indeed, this time, I restored things a bit quicker than the last since it seemed the user data and other important configuration were still in place and not irreparably tampered with. So, it took me only hours this time (instead of the days of last time) to get things back up and running again … and we’re back up again without any data loss (as far as I can determine). Thanks all, again, for your patience and support!

(And hopefully, this is the last bad server, bad hacker news I'd be reporting to you--and that I'll have to work and work on--for quite a long while!)

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Unread 01-17-2019, 02:19 PM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 2,037

Thank you, Alex, for your work keeping this site up and running. It's a really wonderful place, and I'm grateful that you make it possible.
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Unread 01-17-2019, 03:08 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,431

I second Aaron. Thanks, Alex!
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Unread 01-17-2019, 03:14 PM
Orwn Acra's Avatar
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,015

Why does a poetry site get so many hackers?
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Unread 01-17-2019, 03:37 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952

Hoo-yah! Hackers again defeated. Thank you, Alex, you are a warrior.

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Unread 01-18-2019, 11:46 AM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is online now
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,650

Originally Posted by Orwn Acra View Post
Why does a poetry site get so many hackers?
I speculate that it’s because of its international reach across Anglophonia, from Monash University, Australia, even (perhaps) to the Finland Station—certainly, a few years ago, to Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. An expensive delicate ship that has somewhere to get to, here or in Dogpatch, Absentia. That’s the best I can come up with, bro.
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