The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

site being abused?

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Chuck's picture
Chuck

site being abused?

I just got (9:04pm EDT, Sat Aug 6, 2011) a "Private Message" from a "julianaforlove" that's only been registered as a TFL user for a few tens of minutes. If the message had come in to my email inbox rather than TFL, it would have been classified as "spam" and immediately discarded.

Given the human presence and all the clicks normally necessary to send a PM on TFL, I'd expect such abuse to quickly be judged "too expensive" and so to go away. But I wonder if somebody has found a way to have a machine (i.e. not a human) send tons of these messages very quickly. How many others have received an unwanted Private Message?

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I just signed in, and it popped in the notice window.

David G

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

I've got one too, from the same user.

I just went through the process of trying to send you a PM (didn't commit to the final stage), but it appears that it's just as simple as 2 links (your name, then from your page a link "Send Message") and then I'm in the editor. There is no captcha or other challenge to thwart a script. They could send 10k messages per minute.

- Keith

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

I also have a message, from someone who evidentially thinks I am a Lesbian judging by the content.  *rolls eyes*

I don't want to get such messages, but I also really don't want to have to type alphanumeric soup for Captcha or some other security system every time I write a PM to someone.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I just signed in and found your post about the offending email before looking at my messages. Thank you for the heads up.

sam's picture
sam

"juiliana" must be lonely or something.   :)

 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

hope she goes away...soon!

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I got one too, just an hour ago.

lumos's picture
lumos

This is interesting topic, actually....possibly....

I didn't get this rather intriguing PM from your dear 'Juliana' person, regretfully :p, but yesterday afternoon (UK time. Probably about early-mid morining EST in US) I noticed there were over 2000 visitors to the site, even going up closer to 3000 at one stage....or two or three.  It only lasted, probably less than an hour or so, but during this period, the system of the forum became so slow (naturally) and I had a big problem changing pages or posting/checking PM, and in the end I couldn't access here at all, so I gave up and left, returning after one-two hrs later. (Can't remember how long....sorry)

It's not that I keep an eye on the visitor counter all the time,   but as far as I remember, it's usually in hundreds at most, never in thousands.  Or is it just me who hadn't noticed an occasional huge upsurge in visitor's number before?   If that's the case, this post is totally pointless and I appologize for bludgeoning in with an irrelevant info...and would like to congratulate Floyd for the continuing success of his forum.  But if this sudden (?) surge is something to do with this PM in question,  could there be a some sort of automated system which can do this kind of thing, maybe....?

Just a thought....

lumos

 

ETA:

Also,  just this morning, My account page keeps on telling me I have '1 new message'  though I don't, anymore. I did have a few new messages this morning, true,  but I've alreay opened and replied to all of them. But it still says I still have another (?) '1 new message', though I can't find any when I open the inbox...... How come?

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

It looks like the offending PMs have been deleted.  You probably had one also, and when it was deleted, the count of new messages was not decremented.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

For the last week, I have been having difficulties when this site is loading-it will never finish loading, or if it loads initially, a subsequent screen won't load. I finally get a "Internet Explorer is not responding" and have to shut down IE.This happens several times each visit and I can visit multiple times on the weekend. It only happens with The Fresh Loaf.I've cleared cookies and temp internet files.I haven't done something like Ad-Aware in a olng time to look for malware. I would have to download the Win7 version.  Is it some ad? Is the server having issues? Anyone else having issues?

To reiterate, I have no problems,ever, with any other site. Ideas?

asfolks's picture
asfolks

I have had the exact same problems you describe clazar, I also have no problems with any other sites.

lumos's picture
lumos

Exactly the same here, and I have the latest Win7 version and also the latest IE9.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

I had a lot of problems with IE9, generally, but specifically with TFL.   I ended up reverting to IE8, as I didn't like IE9 anyway.   I believe Floyd has made some changes to the site which deal with these problems with IE9, but reverting to the older version may be a good move for you too?   I'm definitely not going back!

Best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Andy. 

I've been having some problems with IE9, too, since I updated and, as you said, more so here than other sites. (I've been discussion with the IE9 problems with my computer guys, and still haven't been able to make up my mind if I should revert to back IE8 or not. ....Being indecisive...as usual....)

But the problems I encountered here yesterday was at TFL are probably not very much to do with it, because it was so much worse and different than usual problem. That was precisely why I noticed the unusually high visitors count, as I mentioned above.  It might be a pure coincident, but I found it interesting some people had this problem of JulianaPM on the same day.

BW

lumos 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi lumos

Why not download Firefox? I much prefer it to IE and I don't get many problems at all (but it won't allow me to view my cctv, I have to revert to IE for that).

Richard

lumos's picture
lumos

Yes, I'm a total convert, now. I'll have to stay at home all day tomorrow, so I'll definitely do it! :)

lumos

 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

No problems here, most of the time.  I use Win7 and IE9, all updated.  Occasionally I will be on another website, on another tab, and this one will crash.  IE9 dumps it and continues.  I have been assuming there was a conflict in Java scripting or something similar.

The website that I always have problems with is KAF.  On the KAF website I frequently get DNS errors, which I seldom get with any other website.  KAF's answer to the problem was to tell me to "get a real browser".  My answer to the problem is to spend my money where I can be sure entered data won't randomly vanish.

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

The problems you describe are exactly what's happening to me. In fact, I've arranged for a computer person to come and fix my computer one night this week! But if it is the site, what is the fix? I'm not computer literate very much, don't look at many other sites besides this one. (this takes forever!, so much to read) So I was not aware that the issuses did not happen on other sites. I had trouble trying to get to this message send. My IE is #8.

Looking for answers too. Jean P. (VA)

Ford's picture
Ford

I have a notice that I have a new message, but none appears.  Guess the problem has been handled, in part.

Ford

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I closed the account and deleted all of the PMs.  Blocked the IP too, for good measure.

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Floyd!

Chuck's picture
Chuck

From what little I can see here (obviously you know a whole lot more:-), a scripted computer that simulated a human who could type extremely fast logged in and sent PMs repeatedly. As one more piece of insurance against this type of thing happening again and requiring your manual intervention, might it make sense to detect any IP that's generating a huge amount of unusual traffic and block that IP on the fly?

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I haven't had any issues since you did your magic.

Thanks,Floyd, for such a great site!

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I have a notification of 1 new message... that doesn't appear in the list of private messages. Just a bit annoying.

jcking's picture
jcking

Go away bad message.

varda's picture
varda

and the persistent problems that I was having with this site disappeared.  Firefox is open source.  -Varda

asfolks's picture
asfolks

Firefox fixed my problems as well.

lumos's picture
lumos

I might change to Firefox, too, then. Is it really a lot better than IE, as a lot of people seem to think?

 Tried to revert back to IE8 yesterday to just to see what happens, and told by Mr.Microsoft my system does not support it. Weird.....I'd been using IE8 on this system before I switched to IE9.....

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

IE is not something that you can 'revert' back to earlier releases. It hooks itself into the operating system. Same with DirectX. Once you upgrade either of these, the only way to revert back is to reinstall Windows.

You will find Firefox as easy to use as IE. There are a lot of really handy plugins. For me, the deciding factor was how much less memory is required for anywhere from 8 to 12 open tabs. In IE, it was pinging the 4GB area. In FF, it's about 2.5GB. I also found that if I kept a browser session open multiple days, the memory consumed by IE would creep upwards. In other words, it doesn't seem to 'clean itself up' when you close tabs. Firefox manages memory usage much better in that regards. I'm not fanatical about either, as realistically, they both do the same job pretty much the same way. Firefox just does it a bit better. There are occassions where I'll run into a site with an embedded video that won't run on FF. I just open IE and load it. It's rare, maybe 2 or 3 times a year.

I am using Firefox 4, and it's quite stable. Firefox 5 is out, but I haven't upgraded to it, so I can't comment on it right now.

- Keith

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks, Keith. Really great tips! :)

the only way to revert back is to reinstall Windows.

Yeah, I sent email to my pc guy to inquire about the problem, and just got reply back a few minutes ago, explaining me what you've just said. Really inconvenient, isn't it, IE.....

What you told me really converted me. I'll switch to FF as soon as I have a spare time to do it.

Thanks, again. :)

lumos

sheffield's picture
sheffield (not verified)

by uninstalling IE9 and it will automatically revert to IE8.  I was having problems with IE9 (really slow) and uninstalled it and IE8 was not much better.  Installed Firefox 5.0 and all my problems have disappeared.  Really a fast browser too.

lumos's picture
lumos

I did once tried reverting back to IE8 a few months ago by first uninstalling IE9, just as you did. Didn't revert to IE8 automatically, but lost a browser completely....took a bit of work (after taking a considerable time to panic) to get some access to any site. When I managed to get a browser back it was IE9 again. So I gave up then....

Anyway, as I replied to Richard (Rulalidle) above, I'm a total convert now. I'll intall FF later today.  Been contemplating if I install verson 4.0 or 5.0, but as you said you're happy with 5.0, that's I'm going to get! Thanks!

lumos

rpt's picture
rpt

Another alternative is Google Chrome which I use. I like the way I can sync bookmarks between my various machines at home and work, although I believe you can do the same in Firefox with an extension.

My advice (I'm a professional software engineer) is don't use IE. It doesn't follow standards very well and has a history of security problems and other issues. There are a few sites that only work with IE but there aren't too many of these.

Richard.

lumos's picture
lumos

I did try Google Chrome when they came out first, didn't like ito. Tried their new version, too, but still wasn't keen, unfortunately.

So, I'm going to be a foxy (old) girl from today. ;) 

Thanks for advice, nevertheless, Richard. :)

lumos