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Unread 05-04-2020, 02:58 PM
Alex Pepple Alex Pepple is offline
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Default The Recent Eratosphere Slowdown

Dear Eratosphereans,

Most of you must have noticed the agonizing slowdown of the Sphere in the past few days. It was from another massive denial of service attack from spammers--mostly their web bots--just flooding the site with incessant and aggressive access requests.

At some point, the site simply became unusable! I'd been battling the attack for some time now and trying to stem the tide. Since things were just getting out of control, I decided to do something I've been reluctant to do in the past--simply block/ban a massive list of IP addresses from ever connecting again to the Eratosphere and related websites ... that is, once I could investigate in-depth and determine who the main culprits were. I say "reluctant" because banning any block of IP addresses might come with collateral damages--essentially, blocking a few legitimate visitors within the banned blocks. But it was that or continuing to be pinned down by the evildoers! With that, I've now, unfortunately, banned a large block of IP addresses originating from Latvia, Singapore, Bulgaria, and Shenzhen, China. Altogether, it's a block of close to 132,000 IP addresses.

With this massive ban, you might note that our visitor count (at the bottom of the Eratosphere home page) has gone from just a handful of members in conjunction with thousands of "visitors" (mostly hackers' web bots!) to now, a handful of members along with just over a hundred "visitors." And indeed, the site's speed has become acceptably fast/usable again!

As I've indicated, there's likely to be a few innocent, legitimate visitors, alas, even Eratosphere members, who might be affected by this massive ban. So, should you be aware of valid visitors/members in any of the indicated countries likely to be casualties of this massive ban, let me know and I'll endeavor to unblock them individually as the need arises.

To end with a cautionary note, our reprieve might be short lived because it's a cop-and-robbers type situation between the hackers and those trying to stop them. Essentially, these days, these pests, crooks, scammers/spammers are coming out of every nook and cranny of the world. So, it might be only a matter of time before they again gain the upper hand. But should that yet happen, I'll be stopping them again, one way or another!

Thank you all for your continued support!

Cheers,
...Alex
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Unread 05-04-2020, 05:35 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Alex, are these people who are targetting the Sphere in particular, out of some sort of grudge? Or are they random mischief makers? This seems to happen at the Sphere quite a bit compared to other sites that I visit, which don't seem to have to do constant battle with such things. Yet I can't imagine anyone, even those who might have left here with bad feelings, carrying on a relentless campaign against the site for years and years.

At any rate, I appreciate your efforts and your approach makes sense. Given the regions you've banned, I wouldn't expect many legitimate users to be affected.
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Unread 05-04-2020, 06:21 PM
Alex Pepple Alex Pepple is offline
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Hi Bob - I don't think they're targeting the Sphere specifically, but are just targeting it because it's there and they feel they can. Moreover, they're using faceless web bots they've let loose to boldly go and scavenge the web and report back with any vulnerabilities they can then exploit for ill or gain. The problem is that these days, it's not limited to the Sphere but to any website of any significance. And I guess we should be masochistically flattered that we're significant enough to them to be bothered with. Finally, I believe that the reason why the evil bots and other such spam and denial of service attacks have escalated these days is because the skill required to deploy them has significantly decreased: specifically, the really skillful hackers are now selling them in the dark web an other such venues to any amateur/hobbyist hacker and/or criminal element with some spare cash at their disposal.

Cheers,
...Alex
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