Announcement The outside world is a dangerous place...

GazHyde

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Hi all,

The server issue just now was caused by some tweaks to the firewall in the attempt to try and help someone who hasn't been able to access the site for a while. As soon as we drop some countries being blocked on the firewall the incoming traffic hit the servers hard.

This is mainly down to a subset of countries in the world that originate the majority of spam and malicious internet traffic. I won't specifically name the countries, but they are pretty much be obvious.

So that leaves us with a bit of a crap situation where some people who visited here regularly have now been locked out due to the actions of their fellow devious countrymen. The only way they can access the site is by installing a VPN so it looks like they aren't coming from where they actually are.

The alternative is that the site gets hammered by malicious traffic. It's like we are being rewarded for being a popular site with lots of people trying to nasty things to us.

Ho hum, to all the people who can't see this because they are blocked I do apologise - but there's nothing I can do right now... :(

Be safe peeps, Gaz.
 

andyglym

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Sad times but that's the Web at it's worst. We get battered by cyber wanna be infiltraitors at work to the tune of thousands of malicious hits a week from certain Countries. As you IT peeps know, once they're in, you're goosed :(
 

hard top

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Hi Gaz, I just rebooted my PC and could get back on the forum, if that is of any help?
 

Jjim

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Thanks for the update. As long as the site remains safe, that’s the main thing.
 

Pingu

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I'm surprised these spammers don't use VPN to make it look like they are somewhere "safe", or do you think they want you to know who they are?

Plenty of free VPNs out there, especially if you're not using more than 10Gb per month.
 

ktnez99

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Do
Hi all,

The server issue just now was caused by some tweaks to the firewall in the attempt to try and help someone who hasn't been able to access the site for a while. As soon as we drop some countries being blocked on the firewall the incoming traffic hit the servers hard.

This is mainly down to a subset of countries in the world that originate the majority of spam and malicious internet traffic. I won't specifically name the countries, but they are pretty much be obvious.

So that leaves us with a bit of a crap situation where some people who visited here regularly have now been locked out due to the actions of their fellow devious countrymen. The only way they can access the site is by installing a VPN so it looks like they aren't coming from where they actually are.

The alternative is that the site gets hammered by malicious traffic. It's like we are being rewarded for being a popular site with lots of people trying to nasty things to us.

Ho hum, to all the people who can't see this because they are blocked I do apologise - but there's nothing I can do right now... :(

Be safe peeps, Gaz.
you know that you can access this site/forum without being a member/login-ed? As I have just then logged in to alert you to this. I hope this helps you.
 

Redline

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Traffic will no doubt be being bounced through other servers. It isn’t just our forum that is being hammered, it’s anything that is a potential target.
It’s a daily fight to keep our critical services and infrastructure from harm. What is happening here is just a small window on what is happening everywhere. Much is state sponsored frequently hiding behind innocent parties. A colossal amount of work is put in by many agencies to protect the UK. While most of us see the internet as a great place to be, behind the scenes, it is a war zone. I have seen it first hand. It takes a great deal of hard work and management to keep things safe. Thanks go to Gary and the back room technicians for keeping our little corner in the pink! :computer::thumbsup:
 

hard top

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@ktnez99 I am not sure what you mean as you post that you had to log in to be able to post on here?
That is the only way you can post on here but the forum can be viewed by anyone online.
 

GazHyde

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I'm surprised these spammers don't use VPN to make it look like they are somewhere "safe", or do you think they want you to.
They aren’t using their own connections, generally they will be renting space and connections from a big service provider in a less regulated country. They’ll use that service till enough complaints are filed with the provider and they get kicked for breaking their terms and conditions. They they open new accounts either with the same provider or another. This being one of likely hundreds or thousands of accounts they run simultaneously. Setup - shutdown - move on - rinse and repeat.

I’ve watched attacks on firewalls in real-time and you’ll see similar suspicious patterns coming in from multiple addresses from random data-centres in different countries, alternating between them so as to try not to look as suspicious. It’s really interesting from a nerd point of view, but really frustrating when we have to use Neanderthal tactics such as blocking a whole country to negate it.
 

GazHyde

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Do

you know that you can access this site/forum without being a member/login-ed? As I have just then logged in to alert you to this. I hope this helps you.
As HT said, yo can see most of the forum without being logged in and that’s intended. You register to post and to see some stuff that’s not shown without an account.
 

ktnez99

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@ktnez99 I am not sure what you mean as you post that you had to log in to be able to post on here?
That is the only way you can post on here but the forum can be viewed by anyone online.
Easy. Log out and search for the site. You’ll see everything posted.
 

Redline

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They aren’t using their own connections, generally they will be renting space and connections from a big service provider in a less regulated country. They’ll use that service till enough complaints are filed with the provider and they get kicked for breaking their terms and conditions. They they open new accounts either with the same provider or another. This being one of likely hundreds or thousands of accounts they run simultaneously. Setup - shutdown - move on - rinse and repeat.

I’ve watched attacks on firewalls in real-time and you’ll see similar suspicious patterns coming in from multiple addresses from random data-centres in different countries, alternating between them so as to try not to look as suspicious. It’s really interesting from a nerd point of view, but really frustrating when we have to use Neanderthal tactics such as blocking a whole country to negate it.
The majority of attacks can hopefully be spotted and responded to quickly. But, it needs constant vigilance and automated support to spot. However, everyday there are far more sophisticated and highly targeted attacks whose intent is to cause massive and long term destructive impact at national level. Fortunately, large organisations and the government woke up to the threat and acted in a coordinated way to respond. A while ago, the threat was very real and very acute. Many CEOs were panicking and in shock at the onslaught. Many companies were, and some are still not understanding the risks, leaving security wide open often by allowing thousands of insecure devices connected directly to the internet. Everyone was doing it to make their own life easy. Every day, even now, there are dozens of highly organised attacks aimed at our power, communications, broadcasting and manufacturing infrastructure.Thankfully, ZOrg is likely to be a target of those more crude and unsophisticated attacks. Doesn’t make it any easier to manage.
Some general advice. Simple things like password security is key. Most people’s passwords can be cracked very easily and quickly. Hackers spend massive amounts of time trying to hack accounts of key individuals in organisations. They rely on the fact that most people are incredibly lazy with passwords and think they are being clever. Please don’t ever reuse passwords or derivatives of the same password. One key unlocks your whole on-line life! Don’t use personal information - names, birthdays, places etc - you have probably published it already. Use two factor authentication where possible. Use a password vault. Just needs a little care and thought.
As Gary said - it’s dangerous out there. Sleep soundly peeps :whistle::thumbsup:
 

Redline

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Easy. Log out and search for the site. You’ll see everything posted.
All posts are publicly visible. Only access to create and reply needs user access. That’s we constantly say don’t put email addresses and phone numbers in posts - everyone and their dog can see them. Use PMs for that information. :thumbsup:
 

GazHyde

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Easy. Log out and search for the site. You’ll see everything posted.
Not everything is visible without signing in. Also what’s visible or not doesn’t matter if you happen to be in a country that’s completely blocked on the firewall. It’s like we don’t exist to them...
 

Oddly Godly

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Thanks for all your hard work, as it goes unseen most of the time most of us probably don't really appreciate or understand the effort put in behind the scenes. :thankyou::scorecard:
 
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