Back Online

by michal-frackowiak on 24 May 2022 21:12

It's nice to be back online…

Long story short - on 19th May we fell victim of a hacking attack originating from the Russian Federation territory. The attackers gained control over some key elements of our infrastructure and tried to escalate their privileges. Hopefully we managed to stop them, but…

Cleaning after the hack was another story — it took us a while to make certain that attackers did not leave any surprises and that the environment is clean. Hopefully it seemed like a "generic" attack and the attack pattern was very clear — get root access to the servers. The motives are still unclear, but we thing it's probably ransom. Thankfully we stopped them in time so that not only no data were lost, but the hackers did not seem to gain access to any private data — yep, your private sites are still private, and your personal information is still safe with us.

But what matters is that we're back online, and it's something we are really happy about!

New hardware, new software, stricter security

The hard decision to make was: are we going to just re-launch Wikidot ASAP or spend some extra time upgrading software, hardware and revising our security policies. We chose to play it safe, which turned into 3 days of insane work which included re-writing large portions of code we've build over the last 16 years :-) The good think Wikidot now runs on new hardware and software.

Unexpected bugs

Originally we were planning to launch on Monday, but just hours before the re-launch we realized our database was not really well. Somehow it was not finding some of the data — in particular, some of the sites seemed to be missing. We nailed the problem to a very specific (and yet unpublished?) issue with the database software. Yep, we tried 4 different backup restore strategies from 3 different sources.

So, that's the story. This is the very first time we've been hacked to this extent. And I strongly believe we did what we could to stop such things from happening in the future.

Things still to do

Now, there are two things that are still missing: one is site search and the other is email notifications. We'll keep working on bringing them back too.

Wikidot will not be available in Russia nor Belarus

There is another aspect to this story — the origin of the attack.

We cannot stay quiet about the fact that over the last years we've seen numerous abuse and hacking attempts of Wikidot services originating in Russia territory. Now, since the start of war in Ukraine, these incidents increased in numbers and started posing a real threat. We cannot accept the fact that such attacks on foreign companies and institutions are silently approved or even encouraged by the Russian state.

As a result we've decided we cannot provide services in countries that do not respect common human values and at the same time pose a threat to Wikidot itself.

Although we believe there are many open-minded and rightful people in both Russia and Belarus, our decision to block Wikidot is a direct result of recent abuse and hacking events and state-level policy of these countries.

And some closing thoughts…

The whole thing has been tough for us, but all the time we had in mind that Wikidot is a service used by YOU. Thank you for your patience, understanding, your Twitter reactions, kind words and entertaining GIFs :-) It made our days much brighter!

Thanks for staying with us!

Michal and the Team

Comments: 73

Add a New Comment