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Comparison of furry website HTTPS configurations

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Security is necessary for one's own protection, both offline (to protect one's physical safety and possessions) and online (protecting identity, money and, as the our digital and real lives become more integrated, even physical possessions). Our own behaviours and security systems need to work together to be effective. It's no good having the latest burglar alarm, strong locks on your doors and a security gate if one leaves the door wide open. Similarly, it's great to lock the door each time one goes out - but if that door is secured solely by a latch, it won't be effective. As I've given some basic guidelines on how to stay safe online, I'm now comparing how furry sites are helping their users stay safe.

Update (Jan 28): All Weasyl servers now receive an A grade, however the server configuration is still not consistent.

Furry websites face broad denial-of-service attacks

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Fur Affinity connection timeout Online furry communities are reeling after a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks now entering their second day, which not only knocked out Fur Affinity, but have impacted a variety of less-well-visited art and chat sites.

Fur Affinity has been practically unavailable since the disruption started, at 10PM EDT on Tuesday. Its forums, which initially remained up, went offline Wednesday afternoon.

SoFurry was the next-worst hit, with almost complete downtime since their attack started, also late on Wednesday, while Inkbunny, Weasyl, e621 and F-list have all suffered attacks.

Reactions to the attacks have been mixed, with Weasyl upgrading servers, while Inkbunny advised users to "take the opportunity to spend time with the important people in your life".

Fans fret as Fur Affinity nears fifth day of read-only mode

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Nearly five days have passed since Fur Affinity entered read-only mode, and despite ongoing staff efforts, the interruption has led many users to mull alternatives.

The unheralded change, initiated in an attempt to resolve slowdowns during peak hours, caused consternation among artists, many of whom rely on the site for their income:

The problem is, this was unplanned downtime. […] If it was planned […] people would have had time to get things together. Such as commissioners, contests, bids, etc. and where to get in contact or if the bids/auctions are postponed while the site is down.

[…] at first I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make any money for christmas, but now I'm starting to worry that FA will be down so long that I won't be able to make enough for rent. […] it's so very disheartening when it was supposed to be a nice holiday season...

Operations team lead yak began an attempt to clear backlogged database transactions on Monday afternoon "as fast as the RAID10 array of 15k drives allow". A day later, FA status forum poster Raptros reported that the database would be transferred to a different server.

Staff then reported "waiting on two new hard drives to come in" to replace failed hardware, which they did on Friday afternoon. Advertisers were given ten extra days in compensation.

Update (15 Dec): An announcement posted on Sunday morning:

The last of the data is importing, and we'll be standing by to finish the upgrades. ETA should be tonight.

Update 2 (16 Dec): Oversized notification tables were cited by FA coder net-cat as both the source of delays and a reason for the slowdowns:

[The current method of notification handling] is not scalable and quickly becomes unsustainable for sites with 10^5 and 10^6 users.

Staff have rewritten queries, tweaked database settings, and intend to prune notifications older than 90 days soon after the site returns.

Update 3 (17 Dec): Fur Affinity came online for a few minutes before stalling and returning to read-only mode, "unable to handle a flood of users while rebuilding the RAID arrays". The site returned eight hours later, with mass notification clearing options disabled.

Users flooded social networks to complain about the disruption and compare alternate sites; primarily Inkbunny, SoFurry and Weasyl. On FA's forums, a 20-page thread was locked after discussion degenerated; it was soon replaced, while fans clamoured for software upgrades.

e621 'closed down permanently' after legal threats

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Mature furry imageboard e621 has apparently closed its doors:

Thanks to numerous threats to our host, false claims of illegal content, harassment and a few things that are much worse, e621 is being closed down permanently. It's been fun running it.

The closure is likely the result of allegations made earlier today that e621 hosted cartoon child pornography.

Update: All is impermanent. Varka (CEO of Bad Dragon) intends to take over the site.

FA, fchan and e621 attacked

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Furry art communities Fur Affinity, fchan and E621 all went offline just prior to Christmas following an early morning distributed denial of service attack (commonly called a DDoS) against the three websites. Fur Affinity was back online by the evening of the same day, fchan was running with degraded functionality for roughly 24 hours and E621 was back online a few days later. The source of the attacks remains unknown.

DDoS attack on FA, Fchan, E621

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A distributed denial of service attack struck furry art archive Fur Affinity and image boards E621 and Fchan on Sunday, lasting for several days. Fchan suffered from degraded functionality until early Monday morning,[1][2] while Fur Affinity's main site was mostly unusable until the evening of the same day.[3] E621 had returned by the middle of the week.[4]

The initial burst of traffic was via UDP, a protocol not typically used by web servers, but blocking such traffic only worked for a short time.[5] During the downtime, Fur Affinity popped up sporadically, with users reporting abnormalities such as getting logged in under other user's accounts.[6]