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Failures | Millkern Report to ISD
[Jan. 4] As of January 3, 2006, only minimal service is available for the CPCUG.ORG domain. Millkern services to CPCUG failed mid-day, December 18, 2005, and the main website, member’s web pages, listserv services and most archival material remains inoperative since. Email services going forward seem largely operational now, though it can take over a week to get your email password reset.
The Internet Services Committee (the President, Treasurer & Internet Services Director) will be urging a quick shift to a reliable host when the CPCUG Board meets on January 4th. More on that will be posted here, soon after the Board meets. Suffice it to say, many of us are angry and view the organization itself to be at risk.
This is the kind of failure that I have been addressing in the Monitor for many months. I am sorry that we did not change ISPs before, as it would have permitted a more orderly transition, better transfer of archives, and less loss than may be suffered now. To message me, use newcpcug @newsguy.com, until cpcug.org is re-established and Member-To-ISD is reset. Meanwhile, thanks especially to those members who stepped forward to establish alternative lines of communication when the world was on holiday.
Those of us who volunteer at CPCUG are sorry this spoiled your Holidays, but we have no control over these services. We had been repeatedly assured by Millkern that this type of disaster was incredible, given Millkern’s quality equipment, routine and comprehensive backups and maintenance, its conservative security practices, and on-site technical support. Apparently not true.
Since Millkern did not tell its customers or the Support Team enough to judge the scope of their shortcomings for many days, we were (and remain) helpless to fix their problems. Millkern is even unwilling to ask our advice or help, apart from telling each customer to get their password manually reset. Thankfully, dialup access is provided from a third party and has not failed.
Millkern is still is not talking nor doing enough to see services restored. The System Status Message at 301-738-9753 has proven uninformative – judging from member complaints – and has been misleading: "all systems up and running" is not correct if the website is down including WebMail, the personal webpages inaccessible, shell account files missing, and listserv archives gone. By late January 3rd, customers were still being told to get new passwords if their email was still not working, by calling 301-738-0097. It can take some time to get a response.
CPCUG leadership still lacks timely or meaningful information, as Millkern has refused to tell us what is actually going on, as well as communicating poorly with its paying customers. Millkern’s first and only report to CPCUG’s Internet Services Director was on January 3rd, despite requests since December 18, saying
On December 18th, someone logged into the Investment sig account, first initiated a password scan on the server, and then was able to gain access to the kernel and hack it. The result was a server crash.
Because someone hacked the password file, and did administrative functions on the box, no files could be trusted on the drive, the OS needed to be built from the ground up, and all user files have to be scanned to make sure no trojan’s [sic] are put back on the server.
Dial up and DSL connectivity was NOT affected at all. It remained in continual service.
What we've completed with respect to the CPCUG.ORG server.
1. All user password files have been reset, and 95% of all users have had core email service restored.
2. We're in the process of having a 3rd party do an analysis of the complete drive, to make sure we don't have any trojans on the drive, they'll take off the unaffected files, put them on alternate media, and we'll restore from that media.
The expected steps are as follows:
1. First restoral [sic] of old email. I expect that in the next day or two.
2. CPCUG Web site, hopefully by weeks end, absent any problems.
3. Listserv -- We've started this while waiting for the files to be scanned, and may have it done before #2.
4. User home directories.
More information as we get it.
CPCUG has no way to confirm these facts, but it seems complete at best. Server crashes happen all the time, and a restore from a backup should be quick and complete, even if RAID is not used. The situation as it has developed is more consistent with a major casualty compounded by inadequate or absent backups.
Capital PC User Group, Inc.