May, 2011

All back to “normal”

Posted on May 30, 2011 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News | Comments: 15 Comments

In the fall-out of the LibriVox forum hack, we’ve battened down security. Part of that process broke our catalog and a few other things.

All should be working now.

Thanks especially to:
* Dan for dealing with the forum issues
* Chris for dealing with the catalog issues
* Kara and Elli for dealing with the flood of worried emails
* all of you for being so understanding and supportive.

Now back to public domain audiobooks.

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LibriVox Forum Hacked

Posted on May 27, 2011 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News | Comments: 47 Comments

Hello everyone,

Last night the LibriVox forum got hacked. Below I’ll share the latest.

What happened?

Someone managed to get access to a “superadmin” account belonging to one of the MC/admins, meaning they could access the backend of our Forum software. The hack doesn’t appear to be a technical security hole, but rather the bad guys were able to find, guess or steal the admin’s password, and then login to the forum admin.

What did they do?

They did two bad things, one worse than the other:
- they vandalized parts of the forum, and injected some html in our template pages (this is annoying but relatively easy to fix)
- they downloaded the entire database, which includes: email address of users, personal messages, and *encrypted* passwords. The fact that the passwords are encrypted is good, however, hackers are good at breaking encryption, so it’s not as good as all that.

In short, they have a list of our emails, and a list of (encrypted by probably easy to crack) passwords. If you use the same password in different services, they *might* be able to access those other services too.

Why are other things like the catalog broken?

One of the thing we did was reset a bunch of internal passwords – so various bits of LibriVox, including the catalog, aren’t working. We’re slowly getting those back into working order.

Why did they do it?

All kinds of websites get hacked all the time (recent high-profile cases include Sony and Gawker). Usually hackers want emails & passwords, with which they can do other bad things.

What about LibriVox recordings, catalog and the rest?

All the data is safe, but there may be some glitches in the next day or so as we implement new passwords, and fix other things in our processes.

What has LibriVox done to protect us?

* We identified the security breach – and where it came from (someone had accessed an admin account – by guessing/stealing their password)
* We disabled the breached account – so the hacker can no longer access the forum
* We cleaned up all vandalism and other things that the hackers had done to the forum itself
* UPDATE: We rejigged our admin settings so only one person, our sysadmin dan, can access the database directly.
* Critically, we have RESET EVERYONE’S FORUM PASSWORD (including yours) … so that the hackers cannot get in again.

So, What do I do now?

* The next time you login to the LibriVox forum, you will be asked to reset your password (see below for more instructions)
* If you use the same password in other places, it would also be a good idea to change the password on your email & other internet services.

How do I login again and change my password?

To change your password, please follow these steps:

1. Go to the LibriVox forum as usual: http://forum.librivox.org/
2. At the top, click the ‘Login’ button
3. Below the password field, click the link ‘I forgot my password’
4. You’ll be asked to supply your username and email
5. Check your email. You should receive a system email from ‘noreply@librivox.org’ titled “New password activation”.
6. Follow the instructions in that email, i.e. a) click the activation link, b) login as in step 2. above, but this time enter your username and the new password from the email.
7. Once you have done this, it is a good idea to change your password, here’s how:
- in the top menu bar of the forum you will see “User Control Panel” … click that link
- in the left menu click on “Profile”
- in the left menu click on “Edit account settings”
- add the new password where prompted, as well as your “current password” which will be the one you received in the email above.

UPDATE -May 27, 11:46: NOTE: it’s probably a good idea to change the password on the email address that is associated with your LibriVox account, no matter what, as a precaution.

Any problems, please email us at info@librivox.org, or if here is a forum thread with questions and answers:

http://forum.librivox.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=33564&start=15

Very sorry for all the headaches.

And thank you to Dan for the hard work last night of cleaning this up.

All the best,

Hugh McGuire
Slightly tired Founder.

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Three years of LibriVox

Posted on May 18, 2011 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News | Comments: 5 Comments

Yesterday LibriVox reached another milestone: now we have 3 years of recorded material in our catalog. To be exact: with the cataloging of ‘The Black Star’ we have 3 years, 0 days, 0 hours, 45 minutes and 26 seconds of audio books on our servers.
The honour of reaching the big three went to ‘The Black Star’ by Johnston McCulley, a story about a master criminal who took great care to never be identifiable, always wore a mask so nobody knew what he looked like, rarely spoke to keep his voice from being recognized, and the only mark left at the scenes of the crimes which he and his gang committed were small black stars which were tacked as a sign of their presence.
This book was recorded by Roger Mellin, Dedicated Proof Listener was Betty M and Meta-Coordinator was David Lawrence.
All other audio books can be found here.

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Interview with Steve Hargadon about LibriVox

Posted on May 15, 2011 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News, on the web | Comments: 3 Comments

Here’s an hour-long discussion, with interaction from the audience, about LibriVox, with me & Steve Hargadon, for his Future of Education series.

Audio: http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/hughmcguire.mp3

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