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  1. #1
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    The site was temporarily disabled

    There is a vBulletin security breach that has caused a vulnerability to hacker attacks (and a hacker did try to exploit it today).
    I'm taking counter-measures but I had to disable the site for a couple of hours. It is back up now as you can see but all the counter-measures and clean-up are not yet complete. The site may be disabled again at some point today. I expect to have this issue solved for good by tomorrow.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. Thanks Amfortas, Ann Lander (sospiro) thanked for this post
  3. #2
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    test
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  4. #3
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Maybe the hacker will become so immersed that he/she will become an opera lover...

  5. #4
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    Maybe the hacker will become so immersed that he/she will become an opera lover...
    That's one of the things that baffle me. Why exactly are these people so concerned with a site like ours? It's not like if they post spam, we'll let it stand. If they want to copy our content (a practice known as scrapping) what exactly is the commercial value of our humble thoughts about opera? What kind of market this would have? You know, if customers everywhere want to read us in what we have to say about opera, they can just come to us and read it; our site is free, doesn't require subscriptions. So why do they try so hard to infiltrate us? And they are usually from parts of the world where there is no major interest for opera anyway. The latest attack came from Morocco and Egypt, go figure. I wish they'd leave us alone, dammit. I spent seven hours yesterday and one hour today dealing with this. They've been chased out and the modifications they tried to insert in our site have been deleted. But even if they had breached our defenses, for what? It's not like we are swimming in money here and there is a hot market out there for what Opera Lively has to say.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  6. #5
    Member Member OperaFanNH's Avatar
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    Just a guess, but my guess is that the hack attacks are probably NOT personal, and they may well have nothing whatever to do with the fact that this site happens to be about opera. Could be they are just practicing their "craft", and this site just popped up on their radar. My best guess, though, is that it's just about money...such as might come from their harvesting identity information, or just a subscriber list full of email addresses. Lists of new email addresses that can have spammy offers sent to are valuable, either to the hackers themselves, or to the people to whom they'd sell such addresses. These days scammers might just want to insert links in messages that might be clicked on. There are so many ways that clicks on the right links can earn money that this too might be what they are looking for. Don't know the extent of their attack, but sounds like you're fighting the good fight. Good Luck!

  7. #6
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OperaFanNH View Post
    Just a guess, but my guess is that the hack attacks are probably NOT personal, and they may well have nothing whatever to do with the fact that this site happens to be about opera. Could be they are just practicing their "craft", and this site just popped up on their radar. My best guess, though, is that it's just about money...such as might come from their harvesting identity information, or just a subscriber list full of email addresses. Lists of new email addresses that can have spammy offers sent to are valuable, either to the hackers themselves, or to the people to whom they'd sell such addresses. These days scammers might just want to insert links in messages that might be clicked on. There are so many ways that clicks on the right links can earn money that this too might be what they are looking for. Don't know the extent of their attack, but sounds like you're fighting the good fight. Good Luck!
    Thanks. But at one point these attacks were so frequent, (before we successfully changed our defense methods, some 3,500 of them tried to infiltrate us - while our legitimate users are 10% of this..) that we'd laugh about it, saying, "we wish opera lovers were as interested in Opera Lively as these hackers seem to be..." LOL

    The bad part of this is that I had to learn all of this from scratch. By now I'm getting sort of good at this, in terms of the webmaster tasks, but in any case, it's time consuming, and it takes me away from working for the site's operatic content. So, this is a very annoying part of the operation. At this point Opera Lively must be one of the most defended sites out there (we contract with a scanning service that monitors us for malware every four hours, we have three different methods to stop the spammers with add-ons and contract with Akismet, we have patches and filters in place - we actually block access for the entire country of China from where most hackers come, and we block other countries as well), but this is all done at a cost, both financially and time wise.

    And to think that what we do is a niche and rather sophisticated art form and a free service, it seems profoundly unfair that we need to be bothered by these suckers, so often... They should target some big guys out there, not us, a humble, not-for-profit opera site!

    Anyway, I'm ranting about it, because yesterday's events were really tiresome... I was planning to continue to work on Laurent Pelly's interview, and had to stop it all to be fighting Egyptian hackers, was awake until late, was fatigued all day long today in function of this... I hate it.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  8. #7
    Member Member OperaFanNH's Avatar
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    WOW! Luiz, I feel so bad for what you are going through. In my first post to OL introducing myself, I mentioned how I thought you were truly living your dream. Well, I guess handling hack attacks and spammers is surely NOT part of that dream.

    Related Aside: A friend of mine sent me an email, and on the bottom was a signature line very unlike him. It advertised a web site where you could buy software to copy a DVD or something like that. I immediately suspected he had no clue about it and called him. Long story short, he had a virus on his computer (which we got rid of) that merely (secretly) added a signature line to every email he sent. He had no clue. The hacker didn't have anything personally against my friend, it was just a numbers game. My friend was just one of a zillion other computers that had been hijacked to send this hackers message. I think THIS is the kind of thing you (and everyone else) is being attacked about. Somewhere, someone is trying to make some money from your host computer, or subscriber base, or messages with secret links added, etc. Very sad.

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