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OffG DoS attack update

It’s looking as if the server issues we have been experiencing since May 23 is some form of denial of service (DoS) attack.

May 23-25 the server was experiencing loads up to eighty times expected maximum, causing it to crash intermittently and making it difficult or impossible to access or administer the site. At this time many of you will have been getting ‘database error’ messages or experiencing freezes or 30-60 sec loading times.

By May 26 the attack had subsided and we had taken some steps to further secure the site. Things were restored to a normal level of function.

We’ve experienced repeat minor load surges since then, and are still experiencing them, but so far nothing the server can’t handle.

We’re hoping this disruption won’t be repeated, but if we go dark again for a while you can assume it’s for the same reason.

In that event the best way to keep in the loop and stay in touch with us will be via Twitter (@offguardian0) and Facebook (https://Facebook.com/OffGuardian). We’ll post updates there during any downtime, so we suggest you bookmark these pages right now for future reference.

Thanks to you all for your patience and support while this was going down. Thanks also for the helpful suggestions we’ve received.

We’re glad to report the downtime has had no appreciable effect on our visitor numbers or on our Alexa ranking, which remains healthy and quite a bit higher than we would ever have anticipated when this site was launched.

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JudyJ
JudyJ

I have just posted a couple of comments today but would appear to have now lost the useful edit facility.

Admin
Admin
Admin

You’re correct. The edit function is currently not working. We’re assuming it’s part of a portfolio of fairly minor issues we’re encountering since the server overloads. We are working on fixing them.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

The “Post Comment” function is not working here. Repeatedly: over days, threads and indivicual comments. Or, more exactly, only partially working: comments appear when posted, gone minutes later… Bad optics in plain view of what O-G says on the can. Now who would want to give that impression?

Admin
Admin
Admin

Just to be clear, are you telling us there are comments literally and permanently vanishing?

Obviously we need to take that seriously if it’s a general problem. We certainly are not removing comments.

Are you sure this isn’t a caching issue for you?

Have the comments definitely failed to show up permanently? (Bear in mind the spam filter can get over-keen and we do sometimes need to rescue genuine comments from purdah, so they may show up after a delay in this case).

JudyJ
JudyJ

Admin

I am finding that I compose a comment, post it and it appears on screen where it should…but then if I briefly go to a different thread and back, I find my comment is no longer visible or accessible. When I look at the “below the line” listing there is no record of my comment. This happens every time, not just intermittently.

However may be 20 minutes later my comment appears on ‘BTL’ with the original time of posting. But even then I can’t link to the thread via my listed BTL comment for may be another half hour. The same with other peoples’ BTL comments. I click on them and the system takes me to the thread but the comment I am looking for isn’t there. This is followed again by a half hour delay before appearing where it should.

So, in short, it appears that posted comments are registering immediately but there is roughly a 45-50 minute delay before the system finalises its ‘acknowledgment’ of them and publishes them for all to see in the rightful place. I have noticed this for the past two or three days if not longer.

Hope this helps.

Robbobbobinj
Robbobbobinj

“Just to be clear, are you telling us there are comments literally and permanently vanishing?”

No, I’m telling you I seldom go back to look at comments I’ve posted unless I have a reason to (e.g. something I read or–more often– think of in the same online session, but not necessarily the same thread, that cogently disses, confirms or augments what I’d previously written, etc).

“Have the comments definitely failed to show up permanently?”

Unlike you, I’m not actively looking for such problems but in the case of this one, JudyJ seems to have nailed it on May 31 2019 at 4:41 PM. I didn’t get it because of my probably undesirable trait of not caring how I appear to others so seldom looking in the mirror but for general purposes for normal readers and for other purposes, some kind of posting/reply history like the on-Guardian’s (which I presume is just recontextualizing a single entry in the database) could be useful.

Wazdo
Wazdo

Thanks for all your time and hard work.

Robert J.
Robert J.

Every day on OffG around and after 11 AM CEST, from different locations, never noticed anything of the kind.

BigB
BigB

As they say: you only get flak when you are over the target. Carry on truth bombing!

DunGroanin
DunGroanin

Admin,

Site serms pretty accessible and fast, so something has changed.

Curiously I have come across two IP adresses now for off-Guardian.org, neither connects, which one is you?

[edited by Admin]

Presumably your tech knows about this…

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

Cloudflare is an Internet ‘content delivery’ and more recently ‘Security as a Service’ company with a very large and complex international network and a CEO with a rugged commitment to absolute content neutrality and a number of services to further that aim.

AFAIK–BICBW–the only content they have withdrawn their general and protection services from is that of The Daily Stormer, when Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince awoke–after one of those terrorist vehicle attacks on pedestrians–to a bad hair day and decided to ‘kick them off the Internet,’ with much subsequent tuttuting from the usual free speech worthies (including his mea-culpa, post-decision self).

A side effect of that ideological bias is Cloudflare’s corporate $oft $pot for protecting the Internet hosts (usually websites) of political dissidents, human rights activists, democratic infrastructures and such, a manifestion of part of which you ran into and reported. The answer to your disappeared question is that ‘they all were’ (oops, I think I just gave away more than you did, due to my common, culturally-induced obsession with my name–sorry all).

The resultant, uncharacteristic administrative redaction of your post is a function of the tendency of even some otherwise 21st century drivers to hang St Christopher medallions from their rear-view mirrors in order to reduce the road toll, giving them a quick post-facto spray of pound shop invisibility paint to keep them from being spotted and targetted by any…erm… slow-lane… bad actors who are seeking, contrariwise, to increase the general level of highway mayhem. Life in our heads almost as complicated a bind as the vagaries of the DNS.

A couple of personal protections that Cloudflare provides free to individual surfers that you might be interested in are its robust (and very fast) privacy-preserving DNS lookup service (run in partnership with the APNIC Regional Internet Registry, who ‘own’ the addresses) located at IPv4 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1 and IPv6 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001), and its upcoming* free VPN “Warp” (freemium version “Warp+”).

Also, FYI and if you’re in a hurry, the Swiss email company Protonmail already offers a almost certainly reliable**, free but speed-limited freemium VPN service, as well as secure email, though it probably(?) requires more identifying signup information than will Warp.

*Still in development, I believe, but it may be there by now.
**Trust is as trustees do.

DunGroanin
DunGroanin

Well … thank you very much Robbo that is fairly comprehensive.

It seems that I need to catch up on my now ancient tcp/ip self education.

It was always handy by-passing faulty DNS’s – i guess the barbed wire is going up fast in the wild internet frontier landscape – the end of free roaming is nigh.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

“It was always handy by-passing faulty DNS’s…”

Some task, that. Like SSL implementations, “faulty” describes most of them.

John
John

Wouldn’t be surprised if Louis proyect and his handlers are involved

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum

There modus operandi must be:
If you can’t beat em, infiltrate and undermine em.
Purveyors of putridity.

Toby Russell
Toby Russell

Thank you for the update and for all your great work!

Loverat
Loverat

The positive out of this is that it means this site is making a difference. I don’t know much about IT and rankings etc but my observations are that this site attracts some decent authors and the comments suggest the readership is high. And it has only been around 3 or 4 years.

No expert, but everyone raves to me about Mintpress and various US based sites. Yes some great articles but the site just looks empty in terms of reader comments/participation. Zero Hedge – some good articles but the format looks unattractive and too many comments. I think this site looks to have got the balance right. Just my impression from taking a look around. Good work and this site looks to have a great future.

John
John

Zero hedge is for liberturdians aka exploiters

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

Zero Hedge, like The Daily Stormer and multiple like sites are also an invaluable resource for those interested in the world as it is rather than the world as they would have it be if the Bullshit Fairy reigned free.

davemass
davemass

Can you not trace the ipaddresses of the incoming loads?

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

Depends if they’re those of wannabe hackers or just button-pushing patsies.

systemicfraud
systemicfraud

Ask Bernie and he’ll tell you–FAKE LIBERALS play dirty!!!

mark
mark

Probably those splendid chaps at the Integrity Initiative doing their stuff. Unless some of our resident hasbara trolls were put up to it. They seem to have been getting a bit more miffed than usual of late.

Obviously all a bit of a bore for the administrators of the site, but it’s quite gratifying in a way. It shows that the you know whos are getting rattled and the site is doing its job. All credit to the admin for wading through this.

On a separate matter, I don’t know if people have seen the recent output of Sky News. They are laying it on with a trowel in Syria coverage. It seems the Syrians and Russians are deploying completely new revolutionary weapons systems which exclusively target hospitals and children. There’s a particularly noxious individual called Alex Crawford (female) doing a sterling impression of Lord Haw Haw. Cue the next gas attack.

Rhisiart Gwilym
Rhisiart Gwilym

Rectification of Names (qv): LackofIntegrity Initiative/Institute for Blimpcraft. Call the POSes as they are: lying propaganda outfits.

Gezzah Potts

These slime presstitutes are so so predictable, you can almost set your watch by when their next hoax is hatched. No TV news and no newspapers for me except a glance at ABC world news on my phone when I get up in the morning. Any important stories, I get the actual story from here, Moon Of Alabama, The Saker, Information Clearing House and The Greanville Post plus occasional forays on Strategic Culture and elsewhere. Sky News? Ewww….

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

If Sky Newe and/or its fellow tevellers are keeping a close eye on you, why would you take pride in eschewing a disdainful glass at it. Into me-only-blindfolded cage fighting?

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

The older one’s fingers get, the more one needs an Edit button. For “Newe” read “News” and for “glass” read “glance”.

Gezzah Potts

Or maybe a new pair of glasses Rob!?

John
John

She’s the same Alex Crawford who was on the back of jihadist pick up trucks in Libya cheering on head choppers

JudyJ
JudyJ

And getting the full backing of the UK’s UN Rep Karen Pierce (you know, the one who looks and behaves like the progeny of the Terminator and Shirley Temple). And there was me thinking that indulging in propaganda for al Qaeda terrorists was regarded as an offence under the Terrorism Act. Silly me.

Reader
Reader

Must be NewsGuard et. al. up to their benevolent safeguarding of the inviolable western democratic commitments to free speech tricks.

Gezzah Potts

Just….. Bastards. Thats the only word to describe whoever was behind this. And yeah, echo what Emily said. They want us all reading The Guardian or Murdoch’s sewerage, and having our brains fried by their lies and propaganda. Screw that. Keep up the fight guys.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

“Just….. Bastards. Thats the only word to describe whoever was behind this.”

Look at it this way: Script-Kiddy Hacking as a Public Service (SKHaaPS). Do you want O-G’s newly nanny-free self-admins to be as green behind the ears when the heavy shit hits the fan as they were on the honeymoon? And this way: “the revolution will not be streamed.”

Gezzah Potts

Well Rob, please excuse my incredible naivety and rose tinted thingy’s, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. However, in the real world, we have complete psychopathic loons out there who want to shut down all dissenting voices and those (like OffG) who expose these creatures crimes to the light of day. Of course they’ll try again and again. As a complete computer illiterate, unfortunately I can’t be of much help.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

“…please excuse my incredible naivety and rose tinted thingy’s, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

I’ll excuse your naivety if you digest my “for dummies” 101.1, as follows:

No IT construct more ambitious than a beginner’s endless loop to print “Hello world” repeatedly until it’s stopped likely to be bug free. Once a program graduates to the status of a programmed logic array on a silicon chip, or a “compiler” (C++…), or an “operating system” (Windows, Linux, Unix…), or an “interpreter” (Java…), or an application (Word, Excel, Photoshop, Gimp, Audacity…), or a Government budgeting system, or various infrastructure or high-tech weapons controllers…) then significant bugs that persist through months, years or even the entire lifetimes of the hardware, firmware and software systems involved are almost inevitable, however much time and money is spent chasing, determining and fixing them. Some of those significant bugs are likely to be “critical” to varying degrees, involving consequences from business survival to planetary annihilation. When scores of applications run together in a computer, that “risk” is multiplied many scores of times; when those scores of applications multiplied by several thousand, running in billions of individual systems, running together in an internetwork, that “risk” is mind-boggling. You’re right about the recent tiny glitch herd, it “shouldn’t” have happened. But on the other hand, how long are you prepared to wait around for “shouldn’t” to graduate to “won’t”?

As a complete computer illiterate, unfortunately I can’t be of much help.

Rubbish. The latter environment in the form of a public Internet (read “large collection of miscellaneous hardware, firmware, operating systems, applications, programs and routines forming a site that, in turn runs over a massively interconnected communications network of billions of other such sites”) is the environment in which the technical operators of this site work. And so far we’ve been talking about the relatively “solid” parts of it all. Individual operators’ confguration files introduce a whole new slew of unpredictable variables. As an easy peasy first step in your technical education in that immensely complex field, you could, when it comes to what should or should not technically happen, learn to cut them some technical slack. It’s prolly all you’ll ever need to learn to be of “much help”.

Gezzah Potts

Thanks Rob.

Emily Durron
Emily Durron

You can look forward to a lot more of this. There are strong vested interests in the mainstream media and within the power structures of the State that will seek to quietly knife your balloon until the air is entirely expelled.