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Skinner

Profile Information

Name: David Allen
Gender: Male
Hometown: Washington, DC
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 62,795

Journal Archives

Welcome back!

First of all, thank you to everyone for your patience and understanding as we worked this last week to deal with the hack and bring our website back online. The hack could not have come at a worse time for all of us, and the DU Admins feel terrible that we let you down on the most important day of the year. We blew it and we are sorry. As part of our efforts to be responsive and transparent, we have posted a detailed explanation of the hack in another announcement which we encourage everyone to read. A link is provided at the end of this message.

We have made extensive security upgrades to the site over the last week, and as part of those upgrades there are likely to be a few minor glitches that need to be fixed. For example, one issue that we are aware of is that quotation marks are automatically stripped out of post titles. If you encounter any bugs please report them in this thread.

Obviously the election -- from president on down the ticket -- did not go how we all hoped it would. In the wake of our defeat, Democrats across the country are taking part in a much-needed conversation about what went wrong in 2016 and what we need to do in the future. Democratic Underground intends to participate in this discussion, by providing a platform to our members who are capable of participating in a manner that is inclusive, civil, and constructive.

The old “General Discussion: 2016” forum has been re-named “2016 Postmortem” and will serve as the temporary location where this conversation can take place. Discussions about the 2016 elections will not be permitted in the General Discussion forum. Whenever a member tries to start a new thread in either the General Discussion forum or the 2016 Postmortem forum, they will be presented with an interrupt page directing them to post their topic in the appropriate place.

In addition, we are going to temporarily suspend the “Don’t rehash the last presidential primary” rule. While we do not look forward to re-opening that wound, we know that any discussion of the 2016 general election is likely to include discussion of the Democratic primaries. We trust that the vast majority of our members are capable of having this discussion in a civil and constructive manner. If everyone participates with the right attitude there is a good chance that it could be a worthwhile discussion. But if the discussion is just insults and rage then there’s no point in having it.

Those of you who do not wish to see any of the discussions from the 2016 Postmortem forum have the option to trash the forum, which will remove all of its topics from the Latest Page and the Greatest Page. Just visit the forum and click the button near the top of the page that says “Trash this forum.”

The 2016 Postmortem forum and the removal of the “don’t rehash the primaries” rule are temporary changes which we expect to last for a few weeks to a few months. While we believe this is an important discussion to have, we don’t think it is in our best interest to spend the next four years arguing amongst ourselves while Donald Trump is busy destroying the country.

Which brings me to my final point. I said previously that I regret letting Democratic Underground become a haven over the last eight years for people who were contemptuous of President Obama and their fellow DU members. With the election behind us, my opinion has not changed. I spent much of the last eight years deeply disappointed by some of the things that people posted here, and compared to that ugliness I thoroughly enjoyed the period of relative unity and respect that we experienced during this year’s general election season. Going forward, Democratic Underground is going to continue to be a place for friendly, liberal people who support Democrats. If that describes you, welcome home.

For detailed information about the hack, click here.

--The DU Administrators

About the hack

This is an updated version of a message that appeared on our homepage while the site was offline this weekend, which provides a good overview of the hack and our efforts to get the site back online.

The site was first attacked around 4:30PM ET on Tuesday afternoon. This was not a "typical" hack like a DDoS or an attempt to gain control of our web server. Instead, the hacker had found a vulnerability in our forum software.

The hacker exploited that vulnerability in what appeared to be a politically-motivated act of vandalism: A large number of posts were removed and replaced with the words "God Emperor" (a reference to Donald Trump), and a ridiculously over-the-top pro-Trump video was served automatically to all of our visitors. If you're curious you can watch the video on YouTube (WARNING: HATE CONTENT).

The DU Administrators were online at the time when the attack occurred, so we immediately shut down the site in order to block out the hacker and limit their ability to disrupt.

As you know Tuesday was election day, our most important day of the year, so our biggest concern at the time was getting the site back online quickly so our members would have access that evening. We collected some preliminary evidence indicating how the hacker had managed to disrupt the site, and based on that evidence we made what we believed were the necessary changes in order to remove the vandalism, secure the site, and bring it back online. (During that time we put up an admin-only login box to block out the hacker. If you entered your username and password into that box, you did not expose your information to the hacker.)

After a few hours we brought the site back up, but it quickly became apparent that we had not sufficiently scrubbed the site and some malicious code placed by the hacker got executed again. So we took the site offline a second time. Since we had already failed once to secure the site, we agreed it would be irresponsible to bring the site back online again until we were confident that we knew exactly what the hacker had done, and we believed the site was secure. At that point we knew we were not going to be back online for election night, and we suspected it might take days.

It took most of the day Wednesday to figure out exactly how the hacker had managed to disrupt the site, and what user information may have been vulnerable.

It is likely that the hacker had access to certain member information on an account-by-account basis: Usernames, email addresses, and IP addresses. There is no evidence that the hacker had access to our database or the full table of user information.

We believe that the hacker was not able to see your passwords -- not even in encrypted format. But even if the hacker was not able to see your passwords, they may have been able to over-write passwords for some accounts. Put another way: The hacker doesn't know what your password was, but the hacker might have changed it to something that they did know. That is why we are requiring all members to change their passwords now that the site is back online.

We can say for certain that donor data, such as credit card numbers or addresses, were not compromised because that information is handled by PayPal and never passes through to our servers.

As most of you know, we have three employees at Democratic Underground, and only one of us (Elad) is a real programmer who could do the complicated back-end coding to deal with the hack. If our goal was to simply plug the specific vulnerability exposed in the hack, the site would likely have been back online in a couple days. But because we know that there is a sufficiently motivated and skilled individual somewhere out there who has already vandalized our website, we did a much more comprehensive security review to identify similar vulnerabilities to the one exposed in the hack.

We would be remiss if we did not recognize the invaluable assistance which DU member Lithos has provided during this security review. We are very grateful for his help. Thank you, Lithos.

We have updated the site on two levels: Elad has been fixing some of the code in our forum software (with help from Lithos), and we have been working with our web host to implement a higher level of security on their end. Now that the site is back up, we are temporarily limiting access to the site to Star Members only. We are taking this precaution because we want to make sure that we are receiving only legitimate traffic during the next couple days while our new security software “learns” what is legitimate traffic to the site. This limited opening period should only last two or three days.

We know that this has been a long and frustrating process, and the timing could not have possibly been worse. Thank you again for your patience and understanding. And thank you for the tremendous outpouring of encouragement we have received from so many of you.

--The DU Administrators

Did you vote? Get a cool new "I VOTED" avatar image!

Just click the "My Profile" link at the top of any page, then look for "Avatar image." Click "Edit" then "Slogans"...



Lookin' good!

Don't get blocked out of DU on election night (or after)

You may remember that we upgraded the Democratic Underground web servers back in December 2015. The purpose of that upgrade was so the site would be able to handle heavy traffic we expected for the 2016 presidential election season. Now that the election is almost over, we can see that the upgrade has been a success. Through a hard-fought primary season and a crazy general election season marked by huge spikes in traffic, the server has held strong and we have not experienced any downtime -- or any slowdown at all.

But election night is something else entirely. In the past we have experienced traffic spikes on election night that are well beyond anything we experience on any other days. Which is to say: We have done everything within reason to prepare, but we just don't have any way of knowing for sure whether it will be enough to handle the traffic. Because we have never before experienced election night on our new servers.


Don't get blocked out of DU on election night

If it turns out that we are unable to adequately handle the traffic on election night, we will do what we have in the past: We will systematically remove site functions in order to limit the strain on the servers. In the worst-case scenario we might have to completely restrict site access to registered members who are currently Star Members -- people who are not Star Members would not even be able to view the site.

If you want to ensure that you are able to access DU on election night, you can purchase a Star Membership. DU Star Memberships are "Pay-what-you-want" -- there is no minimum or maximum. Plus you will be able to access our website ad-free for a full year. Just click here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/star

If you are currently a Star Member, you can check the status of your membership by clicking the "My Account" link at the top of any page. Then click the tab that says "Star Membership."


Ensure your continued access to DU after the election is over

In case it hasn't been completely obvious to everyone here, I would like to make clear that since the extremely divisive Democratic Primary ended in June, the DU Administrators have been committed to making sure that Democratic Underground is a friendly community where politically liberal people can support Democrats. That commitment will continue after the election season is over. My greatest regret is that over the last eight years I allowed Democratic Underground to become a haven for people who treated Barack Obama and their fellow DU members with contempt. I don't intend to make that mistake again.

The price of admission to DU after this election is your vote for Hillary Clinton (or your support for her if you are not eligible to vote in the United States). If you are able to vote, but you can't bring yourself to vote for Hillary, then I'm not particularly interested in listening to your bullshit for the next four-to-eight years. I don't care if you live in the bluest of blue states or the reddest of red states, if you are looking for excuses to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or god forbid Donald Fucking Trump, then this isn't the place for you. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of other places on the Internet where you can get your Hillary-hate on, and some of them are even filled with former DU members.


So get out there and vote!

I'm looking forward to celebrating with all of you on Tuesday night! Go Hillary and Go Democrats!

Skinner
DU Admin

Unsatisfying

Woman says Trump reached under her skirt and groped her in early 1990s

Source: Washington Post

Kristin Anderson was deep in conversation with acquaintances at a crowded Manhattan nightspot and did not notice the figure to her right on a red velvet couch — until, she recalls, his fingers slid under her miniskirt, moved up her inner thigh, and touched her vagina through her underwear.

Anderson shoved the hand away, fled the couch and turned to take her first good look at the man who had touched her, she said.

She recognized him as Donald Trump: “He was so distinctive looking — with the hair and the eyebrows. I mean, nobody else has those eyebrows.”

At the time of the incident, which Anderson said took place in the early 1990s, she was in her early twenties, trying to make it as a model. She was paying the bills by working as a makeup artist and restaurant hostess. Trump was a big celebrity whose face was all over the tabloids and a regular presence on the New York club scene.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/woman-says-trump-reached-under-her-skirt-and-groped-her-in-early-1990s/2016/10/14/67e8ff5e-917d-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html
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