Connection Difficulties

Discussion in 'Notices & Announcements' started by Admin, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. Admin

    Admin Forum Administrator
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    Some of you may have noticed that the forum wasn't working well this morning, or early afternoon. I got up late, so I don't know how long it might have gone on before then, but I couldn't connect to the forum. I was getting timeout errors.

    The forum was under a brute force attack. Attempting to gain access to the administrative account, a brute force attack is an automated attack, in this case using several IPs, all hosted in China, that tries one key combination after another, hoping to hit upon the password that is being used.

    Since a lot of people use words for their passwords, some brute force attacks simply try every word in the dictionary, while others use a systematic sequence of keyboard characters. Brute force attacks are often able to gain access eventually, although it can take hours, days, months or even years to be successful, depending on the complexity of the password used.

    According to tech support, they were using multiple computers, probably each using different sequences of characters. They were also attacking both of my forums, which are hosted with the same hosting company, but on different accounts. They may have been targeting me but, more likely, they were targeting a host of forums, or perhaps simply accounts hosted with the same company.

    They were not successful, nor do I expect that they will be, and for a couple of reasons. For one, I use a password that consists of random characters a mile long, and I change it periodically, especially after experiencing such an attack. For another, my host would shut the forum down before they were apt to be successful.

    The reason that the forum was slow or unreachable was that, when multiple computers are rapidly accessing the forum, as they were, the results are the same as a DDOS attack, except that the purpose is to access the administrative account, whereas the purpose of a DDOS attack is to crash the site.

    Everything seems to be back to normal now, and I apologize for being inaccessible. That just comes with running a website.

    Oh, by the way, brute force attacks are usually directed against the administrator's account but it doesn't hurt to use random characters in a password, and to change it from time to time. That's always a good practice, wherever you are asked for a password, but it was my account they were trying to access, not yours.
     
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  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Greeter
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    Our internet has been slow and unresponsive most of the day; so it was probably a major attack like you said. I looked at the down-detector, and Comcast is having a lot of problems today, and when I checked the other main ISP providers, it looked they were all having a very bad day.
    The whole DC area seemed to be one of the worst hit, and since you are in that part of the country, it might have just reached you in part of the main targeted area.
    If this is something you like to check, the down-detector app is available on the iPad, so might also be for your Mac. It is spelled "downdetectr" .
     
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  3. Admin

    Admin Forum Administrator
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    As you no doubt noticed, the forum wasn't working this morning or early afternoon. Although it seems to be working now, I don't know if the problem has been abated, or even what the problem was. I have filed a tech support report but have not heard back from them yet.
     
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  4. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    Sorry this happened to you. I've never understood the mind of a hacker. I mean, I could see trying to hack a bank or the Federal Reserve or NASDAQ. But to hack a forum like this - what's the purpose??

    I always ask my husband, who spent 40 years in the IT business - what are hackers who put virus on computers trying to accomplish. Again, I can see if they are after SS numbers or bank account information, but most just seem to get a kick out of disabling a computer.....of a random stranger.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    There was a network attack that caused some intermittent connection issues.
     
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  6. Admin

    Admin Forum Administrator
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    As you may have noticed, the forum was down for a few hours this afternoon. I haven't heard back from tech support yet so I don't know what happened. I was away, and saw that it had been down for just over two hours when I returned, so I put in a tech support request. Since it's working now, I assume they fixed it, whatever it was.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I'm sure that some of you noticed that we were having problems earlier. I was too. There was another Denial of Service attack. It is unlikely that they were targeting us specifically. Our server was probably just in an area of the network that was being targeted. I contacted our host and they temporarily moved us to another set of servers that they have outside of the area of attack, so we should be okay now. It's been more than a year since the last significant attack so we're doing pretty good. Some of you probably understand this as well as I do.
     
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  8. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Yes, I only got a white page...didn't last too long.
     
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  9. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I didn't have a problem with this site, but I did have an issue when I tried logging onto PaidViewpoint yesterday. That was the only site I noticed an issue with, and I visited quite a few. I'm glad you got it up and working. In the few times I have had issues, I haven't worried too much, because I know you're on top of things and will get it back working again soon.

    But, I do like when you let us know what's going on, because that helps me figure out why I'm having issues with other sites, and I think it's interesting to see which ones are under attack at the same time.
     
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  10. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    I waited patiently till I could get back in - I'm a good girl I am :p
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

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    As an example of what we've been talking about here, I haven't been able to connect to Facebook all day, so far. I can connect to the first page but I can't accept new friend requests, view my News page, view Notifications, or go to anyone else's page. I'm pretty sure that Facebook isn't down for everyone, but something has gone wrong between where I am and wherever Facebook is, as I've been able to connect to everything else that I've tried to connect to.
     
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  12. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Facebook has been very slow to load for me the past few days but that's the only issue I've had with it.
     
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  13. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I've had difficulty with a few different sites recently. Not this one, but others, particularly from my cell phone, using wifi. I've also had some issues with Facebook and Twitter, even from the desktop. Those two seem to be major targets for hackers.
     
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  14. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I'm still having issue with Facebook but it's mostly loading the page.
     
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  15. Ken Anderson

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    I couldn't get on Facebook yesterday until sometime late at night. Then it began working fine for me.
     
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