The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby skirtingtoday » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:23 am

Thanks too for all your hard work - virtually un-noticed by most folks here. It is very much appreciated.

Only very occasionally, there is a delay in logging in - but that is probably at a time when the spam-junk is being scanned, sifted and deleted. A small price to pay to keep the site clear.

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"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on" - Winston Churchill.
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it" - Joseph Goebbels
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby STEVIE » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:16 pm

I can only add my thanks too.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby skirtingtheissue » Thu May 08, 2014 11:08 am

This forum for me has always worked flawlessly and seamlessly; one assumes that it "just exists" with little attention, like the power grid. Well, Carl, you've shed some light on what maintenance issues exist behind the scene, and you deserve a lot of thanks for keeping everything running smoothly!
When I heard about skirting, I jumped in with both feet!
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby crfriend » Thu May 08, 2014 9:28 pm

skirtingtheissue wrote:This forum for me has always worked flawlessly and seamlessly; one assumes that it "just exists" with little attention, like the power grid.

I take that as high praise indeed, for the goal I strive for is "utility-grade" stability. In fact one of the "objectives" on my resume is, "[...] to provide [the] enterprise with robust fault-free systems and networks" (or something to the effect).
Well, Carl, you've shed some light on what maintenance issues exist behind the scene, and you deserve a lot of thanks for keeping everything running smoothly!

We get "issues" behind the scenes, everybody does -- including the electric company -- and it's down to how you handle them which separates the men from the boys.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby crfriend » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:52 pm

Here's an update on this front, mainly because I'm about to purge several hundred inactive and deactivated accounts. This will not affect anybody who has an active login.

The last time I cleaned out the database was back in July of 2014 and it's become a bit of a mess in the interim. The number of bogus registrations remains high, and the automated bits in the background remain entirely useful; however, there's been a recent uptick in crud, and I'm going to dust off the registration table.

Here's what the last year and a half looks like:
sc-inactive-users.png

There are three classes of inactive users -- those whom the system has summarily dealt with (based on IP) tagged as "Auto" in red, "Manual" (in green) represents the ones that the moderation team has manually dealt with (and reported), and finally "Incom" (in blue) represents incomplete registrations where the e-mail handshake failed (usually due to a bogus or deactivated e-mail address).
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby Sinned » Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:04 am

Thank you Carl and others for keeping this site clean and a pleasure to visit. Whilst on can I ask a question about finance? There must be a cost to host this site so where does the moolah come from. There is no advertising so no revenue there. Not really that important a question and no accusations of shady dealings, just a thought that flitted through my brain a day or two ago, that's all. If silence is the reply then I'll say no more. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. In true Monty Python fashion. Eric Idle does that character superbly.
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby Stevie D » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:49 am

Sinned wrote:Thank you Carl and others for keeping this site clean and a pleasure to visit. Whilst on can I ask a question about finance? There must be a cost to host this site so where does the moolah come from. There is no advertising so no revenue there. Not really that important a question and no accusations of shady dealings, just a thought that flitted through my brain a day or two ago, that's all. If silence is the reply then I'll say no more. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. In true Monty Python fashion. Eric Idle does that character superbly.


Yes - what Sinned said. Very happy to make a contribution to the site. And yes - I'm still active here even though I might not post much.

As for the 'Nudge nudge' sketch, it's a classic. Enjoy it here :D
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby crfriend » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:27 pm

I'm getting set to do (yet) another purge of deeply-inactive users to free up space in the user-name realm and outright delete the deliberately- and automatically- disabled users in the database.

Bogus registrations by those who would push "advertising" ("spam") at us have continued apace, and, for the most part the automated defences are doing their job well. Here's what the situation looks like, and shows the number of registrations that have been deactivated on a day-to-day basis from January, 2016 to date:
inactive_users.png

Beware: The graph is a large image so it could show things accurately over the 2 1/2 year window. (I should do this more often, but I'm lazy.)

The outright block on China remains in place, and I don't think I'm willing to remove it.

Some stuff does get through, but since new registrants are required to have their first few posts vetted by the moderation team we winnow out the garbage that way and deactivate the spamming account manually.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby Charlie » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:17 pm

Thank you crfriend, it's so pleasant to come to a site with no advertising. I even indulged in the luxury of turning off Adblock for SkirtCafe.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby Sinned » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:59 pm

We do take it for granted all the hard work the moderators ( and in particular Carl ) do to keep our site lean and active. Thanks all of you and I am grateful that your expertise is up to the task of keeping the user table to acceptable limits and disabling all the attempts to corrupt. I have a degree in CompSci but as I was never really trained on the software behind this new internot thingumy I would be at a loss to know where to start. The skills may not be easy to pass on but there must be some way of passing on the most important of them to ensure the continuity of the excellent service. We really are lucky to have the moderators that we have. I shudder to think of what would happen if even a small fraction of those malicious accounts were to wreak their damage. :cry:
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby moonshadow » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:10 pm

What's amazing is I'd say sites like SkirtCafe are pretty low on the threat scale as there are no paid memberships, and to my knowledge, no e-commerce programs running on the site, thus there really can be no monetary motive in a hack or attack. And yet even with that, we hear that Carl is constantly fighting with fraudulent issues behind the scenes.

Imagine the security measures that have to be in place to protect major global enterprises from hack. Companies such as Microsoft, which also host thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of smaller company databases across the planet. The company I work for gets cyber attacked almost daily, and about once a fortnight, one actually gets in and does some real harm, where we have to go in and change all passwords, and sit through another online lecture about how to spot spoof emails. I've received a few of them myself.

Imagine what banks have to deal with on a minute by minute basis.

Then you consider that as far as I know, virtually all of our voting machines are computerized now and subject to being hacked.

My own personal website, which I'm sure has at least a few security measures in place, but most likely the most important measures have nothing to do with the content of my site itself, but rather with Lycos and the handling of my credit card information (I pay the annual subscription because like pretty much everyone, I don't want ads on my site, and I insist on FTP access). My actual site has no real hacking value, other than just for someone to be mischievous.

I remember 20 years ago, I watched an advertisement for the U.S. Army where they said that in the future wars will be fought in the digital world. I would have never believed it then... but now, it makes perfect sense.

Perhaps the ultimate weapon isn't a nuclear warhead... it's the seizing of a nations economy. Imagine, even a few days where no commerce could take place at all due to a massive cyber attack on the worlds banking systems.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby Grok » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:30 pm

Infrastructure has been hooked up to the Internet. For convenience, I believe.

In a test by the U.S. government, an electrical generator was destroyed though hacking.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby moonshadow » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:13 pm

Yep, I read somewhere that one of the most fearsome weapons was the E.M.P., or one that could essentially wipe every circuit on a hemisphere. Nobody actually dies, but it puts us back in the dark ages for possibly years, or not decades, and that is where death comes. We don't realize how dependent we are on electrical technology. Don't think so?

Preppers got a generator? How you gonna put fuel in it?

Got guns? What about when you run out of ammo or need parts for one of them?

Grow food? Yes, but without diesel to run the farm equipment, and electricity to power the machines in the various mills, no tractor trailers on the highways, how are you going to get it from field to table?

Then of course, for the nations that were spared, they'd just swoop in and invade a helpless U.S. Our military would be useless as it depends heavily on computers.

Even the preppers supply of semi-automatics and cases upon cases of ammo aren't going to matter when that ever country that attacked us starts dropping bombs from the sky.

When virtually all of our computerized technology comes from China, who then, holds all the aces anyway?

I'm not saying it's going to drive the human race into extinction, but such a blow would probably take our global population from the billions to pre-dark age numbers.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby Grok » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:32 pm

As I recall something like this happened during the mid-nineteenth century. The source was the sun-a solar flare. The flare fried telegraph lines. However, the telegraph was the only system at the time that used electricity on a significant scale.
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Re: The Neverending Fight Against On-line Junk

Postby crfriend » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:54 pm

moonshadow wrote:When virtually all of our computerized technology comes from China, who then, holds all the aces anyway?

This hit the news this morning. Several companies including Amazon and motherboard manufacturer have had external and independent security audits done and these showed up extra components on the motherboards that contain a "virus-in-hardware" entirely likely ("One hundred and fifty percent.") were of Chinese origin. So, yes, the Chinese now have access into some of our most vulnerable infrastructure, and if they do, so do others. Contemplate the damage that could be done by tampering with a city's water supply or sewerage system. Randomly shuffling the timings on traffic-lights (in a nation where very few people now know how to drive properly and cogently).
I'm not saying it's going to drive the human race into extinction, but such a blow would probably take our global population from the billions to pre-dark age numbers.

A technological calamity would definitely cause a large die-off of population in the developed world. Personally, I suspect it would be better to be near ground-zero and die in the flash and blast than persist for a few months in ever-decaying situations before finally dying of starvation, thirst, or disease.
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