[MMTK] The MMTK Web site is down

Konrad Hinsen hinsen at cnrs-orleans.fr
Tue Aug 4 17:31:50 UTC 2009

On 13.07.2009, at 21:20, Konrad Hinsen wrote:

> Since July 7, the Web server hosting the MMTK Web site is down, and  
> I don't expect it to be up again soon because it's summer vacation  
> time in France. If you wish to contribute to accelerating the  
> process, you could send a supporting e-mail to my lab director,  
> whose e-mail is given at http://cbm.cnrs-orleans.fr/spip.php?article210 
>  (I don't reproduce it here in order not to expose him to spamming),  
> stating that the Web site is important for you and that you would  
> like to see it up again as soon as possible.

Thanks to all of you for your support, which vastly exceeded my  
expectations! In fact, Mr Beloeil is getting a bit tired of all those  
mails, so please stop sending support messages!

Here is what happened. The server that hosted the MMTK Web site also  
hosted two Wikis, the MMTK Wiki and a very old Wiki set up for a  
collaboration and not used any more. Both Wikis had become victims of  
spamming, as someone pointed out on this list for the MMTK Wiki. At  
the time, I cleaned up the MMTK Wiki and removed the possibility to  
create accounts anonymously in order to prevent future spamming.  
However, I didn't think about the second long-forgotten Wiki, which  
contained spam as well.

In early July, my lab's Internet provider noticed the inappropriate  
Web content and alerted my lab's computer and network managers. Since  
nobody noticed (or cared) that the pages were in a Wiki, they assumed  
that the Web server itself had been hacked. Unfortunately, no one has  
been willing until now to listen to my explanations about Wiki spam,  
and the server is still offline as a potential security threat. To  
make it worse, there doesn't seem to be any protocol for putting it  
back in service.

So for now the problem remains unsolved. The technical part could be  
fixed in five minutes, but that wouldn't be sufficient to be allowed  
to put the server online again. I am looking into other options for  
hosting the MMTK Web site, outside of my lab. Unfortunately, that  
won't happen rapidly.

At the moment, my most immediate concern is a much more annoying  
consequence of the disappearance of my server. It also served as an e- 
mail server with an up-to-date spam filter. Now I am back to the basic  
services provided by my lab, which means a spam filter that recognized  
only half of the 300 spams that I receive per day and doesn't do any  
more than tag them. If I am late in replying to messages, please be  
patient: I have to remove all that spam by hand, which makes mail  
handling a real pain at the moment. Again this is a problem for which  
there doesn't seem to be a simple solution, as I cannot simply give up  
my professional e-mail address.

Konrad Hinsen
Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire, CNRS Orléans
Synchrotron Soleil - Division Expériences
Saint Aubin - BP 48
91192 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France
Tel. +33-1 69 35 97 15
E-Mail: hinsen at cnrs-orleans.fr

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