Back From the Shadows Again

Gates of Vienna was taken down again early this morning, and remained out for most of the day. I spent a lot of that time hassling with the issue, and consulted with people far more expert than I am, trying to figure out how to correct the problem.

Now I have to deal with the backlog of work and material that accumulated in the interim. I’m not sure when normal programming will resume.

And who knows how long the site will remain up? We don’t know what’s causing the problem, so there’s no telling when it will recur. I’m told the evidence is not consistent with any kind of DoS attack; on the other hand, no other cause has been determined.

Over the long run we may be required to switch to a different hosting option, most likely a — shudder! — more expensive one.

Stay tuned. There will at least be a news feed later tonight, and maybe some other posts.

7 thoughts on “Back From the Shadows Again

  1. this is the work of leprechauns. I’ve seen their green shadows fleeting here and there at the edge of vision as they grab the scissors, the stapler – whatever it is I can’t find.

    Or maybe those *&^%#$ mice chewed through the string attaching us to the intertubes. The mice are real – boy are they! – and they’ve showed up early this year, no doubt due to the onset of global warming. Normally they live outside till the deep cold at the bottom of the year, but this week the heat out there must’ve driven them inside.

    Yes, the cruel Baron set up the mousetraps under the desk in the kitchen and in the closet. So those two are now with their ancestors. But the traps are re-set with more peanut butter just in case more of their friends decide to move in.

    And if you know of a more humane solution – inexpensive – I’m all ears because they are truly pests. These critters stay outside and eat all the tulip bulbs, or they come in and eat through plastic and cardboard to get to people food. And the cat food. They also like garment bags with coats in them: wiggle in, shred the bottom half of the coat to make a cozy nest, drag in a pound or so of dry cat food and proceed to reproduce.

    We need to find some mouse-proof string.

      • We’ve had great success (in the past) with bobcat urine spritzed on cotton balls which are placed around the outside perimeter of the house. Trouble is, this product has been outlawed in our state.
        Since then, our family has increased to include three cats and a dog . Yes, the cats will chase the furry little critters . ..and catch them. Unfortunately, my cats are quite proud of their catch and will bring their success to my attention in the most unwelcome ways. The last one was gently laid on my bed while I slept. The unfortunate critter (tiny exhausted white/albino field mouse) wasn’t quite dead yet, and my cat woke me at 3 a.m. to encourage ‘me’ to finish the job.

  2. I was a professional cryptographer among other, and have published a book in the topic, my PhD thesis.

    Denial of Service attack is the most stupid of them all. Basically they choke your page with traffic so that the legitimate users can’t come and visit you. It is very costly to them and they can do it only for so long. Nuisance yes, serious trouble no.

    That they have come to DoS only shows me how desperate these guys really are.

  3. A few details from the machine room:

    This is a database overload situation, and while we suspected some kind of DoS attack, there is no hard evidence to support it. It is certainly not a brute force attack trying to suck insane amounts of bandwidth, but potentially it could be a more sophosticated attack making the server consume vast amounts of CPU time, to the detriment of all.

    A lot of tuning and improvements have taken place in wake of the problem, and everyone should have a much faster GoV by now – which also happens to be good for the Google ranking. RSS feeds have been tuned, database garbage deleted, giving a leaner and more agile operation all around.

    Yet GoV remains a CPU intensive site, possibly due to 14,000 articles and 130,000 comments in the database by now. This is no small achievement, and the result of 9 years of extremely dedicated, consistent and talented work.

    Yes, we would like someone to sponsor a server upgrade, in case anyone wonders…

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