Furry auction site FurBuy remains offline, a month after it was abruptly taken down, leading to severe corruption of the 19-year-old site's database.
Site owners say May 23's emergency shutdown was intended to recover from a freeze triggered by a self-styled security researcher's access, and announced a months-long renovation.
The researcher revealed their involvement, claiming to have been blocked by FurBuy after contacting them on Twitter. They said they did not access the database, but that someone using the vulnerability they found would be able to do so - which is disputed by the site owners.
Modern database systems and server hardware are meant to cope with unanticipated downtime by writing to disk in such a way that the data can always be recovered to a consistent state; however, this requires appropriate configuration, and tends to decrease overall performance. It is also possible for hardware to fail under stress.
The last successful backup of the site was made in October 2017, but this remained unnoticed after the death of long-time system administrator Mordrul last August, from thyroid cancer.
The term "ghosting a convention" is when a person attends and hangs around, but has not paid the organizers to do so. It’s seen as a major faux pas in the furry fandom due to the amount of time, effort and money their fellow fans put forth in order to put on the events.
Those who support the festivities through their patronage, therefore, should be praised for putting their time and money forth to support their gathering of choice. For the relationship between convention and attendee is symbiotic.
Instead, certain events seem to have started to shun the precedent of sharing how many furs attended their celebrations. Like a tree falling in the forest, the con did occur; but if you look back years from now, there will be no hard evidence of how many gathered. In essence, it is the attendees who have been ghosted.
Which is why I am writing this piece today, concerning a worrisome trend that a handful of events seem to have taken - including some of the largest events in our fandom. Conventions, as of late, have been trying to push away from publicly putting forth their attendance counts.
Update 5/24: An updated tentative count was released by BLFC in the comments below.
Update 6/16: FWA has provided their counts with the video of closing ceremonies in comments below.
Update 6/16: AnthOhio, which took place in late May after the article was written, has as of today not released attendance numbers on any internet media platform. They did release charity numbers of $13,000 raised.
Fur Affinity restoring from six-day-old backups after server compromised; site source code distributed at BLFCPosted by GreenReaper on Tue 17 May 2016 - 12:28
I'm hoping @furaffinity's data is still safe. Just before it went down, every submission I tried to view said "submission not in database"
— Alioth Fox (@AliothFox) May 17, 2016
Update (21 May): FA returned for a day, but is now in read-only mode. Passwords were said to be hashed and salted, but if you've used the same one elsewhere, now is the time to change it to be unique per-site.
Update 2 (23 May): Fur Affinity has returned; however, all passwords have been reset, which is causing problems for those with an old/invalid email address.
FA users took to Twitter and the Fur Affinity Forums looking for answers – which appeared to have been preemptively provided by a post asking "What would you do if you found an exploit on FA?", posted last Sunday on the Phoenixed Forums. However, more recent posts by the original poster disclaim responsibility.
The majority [of the site's data is secure], yes. The backup we have is 6 days old. We're still going through and trying to determine the extent of the issue, and once we have more information, we'll post it publicly and give a full, transparent run down of what happened.
Are furry podcasts unsuitable for breakfast? FM listeners in Colorado sure thought so!
On the morning of April 5, Denver-area FM station KIFT 106.3 "The Lift" suffered a broadcast signal intrusion on a relay station serving a remote valley. Instead of Bruno Mars, listeners in Breckenridge, Colorado were treated to Paradox Wolf, Fayroe and friends.
Denver station KCNC-TV "CBS 4" contacted The Lift for an explanation, and were told they send programing from their studio to four transmitters via the Internet. Somehow, the Breckenridge repeater K258AS (99.5 FM) was compromised, and someone had spliced in Furcast Episode 224 in place of The Lift.
Thankfully, the primary FM and webcasts of both The Lift and Furcast.FM / XBN were unaffected, but a large amount of NSFW programming, including swearing, was broadcast without censorship for several hours, with The Lift's engineers unable to kill the studio/transmitter link remotely.
On FurCast's end, their server saw a gradual rise in connections to its podcast archive (used on its website and iOS and Android apps for listeners) from 06:00 AM EDT onwards, until they were able to temporarily disable access at 02:30 PM EDT. The archives have since come back online at a new address, with a long list of blocked IP addresses to prevent a recurrence.
This article has been withdrawn at the author's request. Comments will remain readable for a short period for the benefit of their posters.
FurrTrax is a mobile app, social networking site and collaboration system to help members of the furry fandom organize, plan events, make friends and find other furries in their local areas or with simular interests.
Key features include public and private chatrooms, including video chatrooms, a public shoutbox, webmail hosting, heavily customizable user profiles, with user manageable comments walls and user image gallery and file sharing, GPS distances of members (but not actual pinpoints), event posting and planning, singles and dating, private messaging, image galleries, a section for authors and their stories, including fiction and non-fiction, user forums, a classified section, a user to user store, groups pages with group walls and status updates and notification. Instant messaging is not yet available but is coming soon.
FurrTrax is not a paysite, or a subscription site, and does not require any purchase of any kind to use all of the sites sections. There is however a Donator Rank which offers some basic bonuses including choice of name color, colored chat text, the ability to add background images to profiles, attach extra profile pictures over the default of 10, embed YouTube videos on profile and access the rich profile editor tool. The minimum donation is one dollar. All features not listed here are given to basic members by default.
The FurrTrax mobile site is also in transition to a new Jquery mobile theme, so some pages may not match the look of others. This is temporary.
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.
One must wonder whether it's time Dragoneer stepped down as head of Fur Affinity, as he continues to make poor leadership decisions. Earlier this year, he stirred controversy by announcing Zaush, who'd been accused of rape, as development lead for Project Phoenix. This time he has made sure there are no lingering doubts over the suitability of his appointments by choosing a fur with a history of maladministration.
StarryKitten was recently announced as the new head of the FA tech team, tasked in part with “bringing more transparency” to FA. Some noticed that StarryKitten had only joined FA about a week before the announcement was made. As it transpires, StarryKitten was an alternate account created by the infamous Zidonuke, the real head of the FA tech team.
With the concept of irony easily going right over Dragoneer's head, it was further revealed that the tech lead with a puppet account has been a secret member of staff since 2013:
The cost of printing and distribution combined with minimal or non-existent sales always made fanzines a marginal proposition. But the format, if not the medium, is still popular with those seeking to try their paws at publishing.
Tag by Felix Greypaw and Hashiko Whitepaw offers an example of what you can do in just a few days; the first – so far only – issue was published May 16, including in-depth (and, alas, uncredited) articles about Dust: An Elysian Tail, Furcadia, and Wolf's Rain from Wikipedia, as well as furry-themed horoscopes and art.
Furry N' Fuzzy Magazine has made it to two issues, although it's overdue for the third. Featuring artists, t-shirt reviews, interviews, personal histories, the syndicated column Ask Papabear, photos of things that look furry, and copious ads, there's something for everyone.
How would you like to appear as a red panda character on Skype, Twitch, or other services that use a web cam? That’s the idea behind FaceRig, a new program under development at Holotech Studios which allows anyone with a web cam to appear as an animated character. In addition to the red panda, the current characters available include a leathery demon, an anime girl, and a beefy human soldier — but they have plans to add more characters as the program is developed further. It all works through cutting-edge face-tracking technology that the developers have created. Check out the demo video over on YouTube. Meanwhile the developers have an IndieGoGo campaign started up to help them get the venture capital they need to bring this program out on the market.
At the 2013 XOXO Festival, Mike Rugnetta of the YouTube/PBS Idea Channel delivered a really interesting talk about the Internet, specifically how it's helped us develop new ways of constructing our self-identities, due to the discovery of new ideas and interacting socially online, amongst other things. He hops from topic to topic very rapidly, and doesn't really get started until about two minutes into the video.
Interestingly - if you jump to the 10:15 mark - he discusses fandoms. Good fandoms have lots of opportunities for interaction, sharing creativity, and finding ways for the fans to relate to one another. In fact, the fans may relate to each other more than they might relate to the original theme that caused them to gather in the first place! What matters is the energy within the fan community, the bonds between fans. (This reminded me of Anthrocon 2007's guest of honor Mark Evanier, who noted that furries seemed to be "fans of each other".)
Mike asks his audience if there's a fandom without canonical media for fans to gather around? A fandom which would instead subsist mainly by the interaction of the fans, without devotion to a specific TV show, movie, or comic book series? Yup! Furry!
Hopefully, all Internet users have, by now, heard about the United State's widespread spying programme which has recorded huge volumes of data passing through America. Just as concerning is the looming, default porn block in the UK which will not only block porn by default but also violence, alcohol, smoking and Internet forums, among other things. These programmes should be of major concern to all Internet users. They are also a perfect opportunity to talk about online security.
32 days before the mayoral election in Xalapa, capital of the Mexican state of Veracruz, a feline candidate is making a mockery of the ruling coalition's politicians on social networks.
"Candigato Morris" has his own iconic posters and other campaign materials, and has captured the public fancy with such slogans as "no more rats in Xalapa" and "in Xalapa it suits you to vote for another animal; vote for Morris".
According to his Facebook profile, Morris, who was born in Xalapa, "promises no more than the other candidates" and "sleeps a lot, which is the ideal profile for a mayoral candidate."
It's yet to be seen whether the candigato's weakness for "quilts, sheets, pollows, couches, and clothing in general" will be his undoing. Still, given his charisma (and the fact that his campaign page has over 18,000 'likes'), the PAN and PRD coalition candidates may be in serious trouble come July 7.