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241  Other / Meta / Re: Forum is really slow lately on: December 13, 2017, 11:10:30 PM
I might've figured it out. A bunch of things are currently disabled; I'll work on safely enabling them in the coming days.
242  Other / Meta / Re: Forum is really slow lately on: December 13, 2017, 08:40:20 PM
Lots of traffic, not sure yet whether it's mostly legitimate or a DDoS getting through Cloudflare. In any case, I changed some things which may help.
243  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 230 on: December 09, 2017, 07:58:31 PM
The auction starts at 0.10, while the minimum increment is 0.02.

0.5 is evenly divisible by 0.02. Something is evenly divisible when it divides without remainder. Division is defined as dividend = quotient * divisor + remainder, and in this case quotient must be an integer. 0.5 = 25 * 0.02 + 0. 0.1 = 5 * 0.02 + 0. So 0.5 and 0.1 are both evenly divisible by 0.02. But for example 0.17 would be invalid because 0.17 = 8 * 0.02 + 0.01. It has a non-zero remainder.

But I usually just round down to the nearest lower valid bid when someone posts a bid with an invalid increment.
244  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 230 on: December 07, 2017, 06:59:07 PM
The forum sells ad space in the area beneath the first post of every topic page. This income is used primarily to cover hosting costs and to pay moderators for their work (there are many moderators, so each moderator gets only a small amount -- moderators should be seen as volunteers, not employees). Any leftover amount is typically either saved for future expenses or otherwise reinvested into the forum or the ecosystem.

Ads are allowed to contain any non-annoying HTML/CSS style. No images, JavaScript, or animation. Ads must appear 3 or fewer lines tall in my browser (Firefox, 900px wide). Ad text may not contain lies, misrepresentation, or inappropriate language. Ads may not link directly to any NSFW page. No ICOs, banks, or funds; I may very rarely make exceptions if you convince me that you are ultra legit, but don't count on it. Ads may be rejected for other reasons, and I may remove ads even after they are accepted.

There are 10 total ad slots which are randomly rotated. So one ad slot has a one in ten chance of appearing. Nine of the slots are for sale here. Ads appear only on topic pages with more than one post, and only for people using the default theme.


- Your ads are guaranteed to be up for at least 7 days.
- I usually try to keep ads up for no more than 8 or 9 days.
- Sometimes ads might be up for longer, but hopefully no longer than 12 days. Even if past rounds sometimes lasted for long periods of time, you should not rely on this for your ads.


Exact historical impression counts per slot:

Info about the current ad slots:

Ad blocking

Hero/Legendary members, Donators, VIPs, and moderators have the ability to disable ads. I don't expect many people to use this option. These people don't increase the impression stats for your ads.

I try to bypass Adblock Plus filters as much as possible, though this is not guaranteed. It is difficult or impossible for ABP filters to block the ad space itself without blocking posts. However, filters can match against the URLs in your links, your CSS classes and style attributes, and the HTML structure of your ads.

To prevent matches against URLs: I have some JavaScript which fixes links blocked by ABP. You must tell me if you want this for your ads. When someone with ABP and JavaScript enabled views your ads, your links are changed to a special randomized URL which redirects to your site when visited. People without ABP are unaffected, even if they don't have JavaScript enabled. The downsides are:
- ABP users will see the redirection link when they hover over the link, even if they disable ABP for the forum.
- Getting referral stats might become even more difficult.
- Some users might get a warning when redirecting from https to http.

To prevent matching on CSS classes/styles: Don't use inline CSS. I can give your ad a CSS class that is randomized on each pageload, but you must request this.

To prevent matching against your HTML structure: Use only one <a> and no other tags if possible. If your ads get blocked because of matching done on something inside of your ad, you are responsible for noticing this and giving me new ad HTML.

Designing ads

Make sure that your ads look good when you download and edit this test page:
Also read the comments in that file.

Images are not allowed no matter how they are created (CSS, SVG, or data URI). Occasionally I will make an exception for small logos and such, but you must get pre-approval from me first.

The maximum size of any one ad is 51200 bytes.

I will send you more detailed styling rules if you win slots in this auction (or upon request).

Auction rules

You must be at least a Jr Member to bid. If you are not a Jr Member and you really want to bid, you should PM me first. Tell me in the PM what you're going to advertise. You might be required to pay some amount in advance. Everyone else: Please quickly PM newbies who try to bid here to warn them against impersonation scammers.

If you have never purchased forum ad space before, and it is not blatantly obvious what you're going to advertise, say what you're going to advertise in your first bid, or tell me in a PM.

Post your bids in this thread. Prices must be stated in BTC per slot. You must state the maximum number of slots you want. When the auction ends, the highest bidders will have their slots filled until all nine slots are filled.

So if someone bids for 9 slots @ 5 BTC and this is the highest bid, then he'll get all 9 slots. If the two highest bids are 9 slots @ 4 BTC and 1 slot @ 5 BTC, then the first person will get 8 slots and the second person will get 1 slot.

The notation "2 @ 5" means 2 slots for 5 BTC each. Not 2 slots for 5 BTC total.

- When you post a bid, the bids in your previous posts are considered to be automatically canceled. You can put multiple bids in one post, however.
- All bid prices must be evenly divisible by 0.02.
- The bidding starts at 0.1.
- I will end the auction at an arbitrary time. Unless I say otherwise, I typically try to end auctions within a few days of 10 days from the time of this post, but unexpected circumstances may sometimes force me to end the auction anytime between 4 and 22 days from the start. I have a small bias toward ending auctions on Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays.
- If two people bid at the same price, the person who bid first will have his slots filled first.
- Bids are considered invalid and will be ignored if they do not specify both a price and a max quantity, or if they could not possibly win any slots

If these rules are confusing, look at some of the past forum ad auctions to see how it's done.

I reserve the right to reject bids, even days after the bid is made.

You must pay for your slots within 24 hours of receiving the payment address. Otherwise your slots may be sold to someone else, and I might even give you a negative trust rating. I will send you the payment information via forum PM from this account ("theymos", user ID 35) after announcing the auction results in this thread. You might receive false payment information from scammers pretending to be me. They might even have somewhat similar usernames. Be careful.
245  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 229 on: December 07, 2017, 06:55:04 PM
ChipMixer's bid was way too high, so I will reduce it. I might not always do this in the future; please be careful.

Auction ended, final result:
Slots BTC/Slot Person
4 0.22 ChipMixer
1 0.18 FortuneJack
4 0.16 Stunna
246  Other / Meta / Re: Newbies can now pay a small fee to enable images on: December 06, 2017, 08:51:13 PM
I am not sure but isn't the price already adjusted (by theymos)? I checked it in preev and it is ~$29

It doesn't automatically adjust, but I update it every now and then. Same for the evil-IP registration fee.
247  Other / Meta / New PM limits on: December 06, 2017, 07:35:30 PM
ActivityMax recipientsMax recipients if whitelistedMax PMs per hourMax PMs per hour if whitelistedMax PMs per dayMax PMs per day if whitelisted

You are automatically whitelisted if you buy a copper membership. You don't need to wear the copper membership, just own it. You can also be whitelisted for free by any staff member and a few non-staff, but we're going to need some reason to think that you actually deserve it. Do not ask me for free whitelisting.

Whitelisting is a not a license to spam. You will be immediately banned if you're found spamming, even if you bought a copper membership (and you will not be refunded).
248  Other / Meta / Re: [Forum Ads] Administration's Stance on Misleading Information. on: December 05, 2017, 08:52:44 PM
Ads are not allowed to be misleading. I replaced that one with their other one until they respond.
249  Other / Meta / Re: Moving to Cloudflare on: December 01, 2017, 08:08:32 PM
Here's what would need to be done to replace Cloudflare:
250  Other / Meta / How my custom DDoS protection worked, and how it could've been improved on: December 01, 2017, 07:51:51 PM
About a year ago I created my own homebrew DDoS protection. Here's how it worked:

Set up several smallish EC2 instances. Each one acts as a reverse proxy to the origin server:

client2-->gate2->--->origin server

It's just an nginx reverse proxy. Pass the real IP in the X-Real-IP header, etc. Easy.

Each gate will have iptables and nginx rules to detect easy attacks (eg. rate limiting). Importantly, they all must have SYNPROXY rules, a feature of modern Linux kernels. Having SYNPROXY iptables rules over several gateways like this completely defeats all SYN flood attacks.

The gateways need to be in an AWS VPC set to block all UDP traffic in the VPC's stateless traffic settings. This completely blocks all UDP flood attacks. If you instead block UDP traffic in the gates' security groups, then very large UDP floods can still affect you. It has to be at the VPC level.

I found that the best way to set up the DNS to distribute traffic was like this. Assume that you have 4 gates, g1 through g4. Then using Route 53's weighted record feature, you would have the DNS return at random one of the following 5 pairs of IPs, each with a TTL of 5 minutes:

This seems to work better than just putting all of the gate IPs into one A record. I think that the randomization that should happen in that case actually gets cached at some points, and so whichever record is returned first at <wherever it's cached> gets hit harder.

Additionally, I had a system of classifying and blocking malicious-looking IPs, but it failed to work well enough in the end, so I'm not going to describe it in detail.

So that's my homebrew DDoS protection that we were using for the last year or so. It worked impressively well against many attacks which you might think would require something like Cloudflare, but failed in the end against attackers with thousands of IPs, making full TCP connections, who can blend into the legit traffic too well. A more complete solution which could replace Cloudflare etc. in many ways would look more like this:


The first major flaw with my setup is that it wasn't easy to change. My setup would grab a few configuration details (eg. the origin server IP) from VPC-local DNS records that I would set, but if I wanted to make deeper changes, I'd have to modify one of the instances, convert that into a new AMI, terminate all of the other instances, and then start new instances again. If I wanted to change the number of gates, I'd have to start/stop them manually and change the DNS records myself. A good solution would never require this much manual work, and would use things like auto scaling groups and CloudFormation to simplify it. It should only take a couple of minutes to add a new iptables rule, for example.

The second major flaw with my setup is that it lacked a good, systematic way of classifying IPs as good/bad/neutral. All of the gates should collect long-term stats on every IP which connects to them and contribute it to a central database. Using some sort of model over the data in the central IP database, it should then be able to determine whether an IP address is probably good (because it's been acting like a normal person browsing the site for a long time), probably bad (because it eg. just started requesting tons of pages), or unknown/neutral. Then based on that classification plus an idea of how busy the site currently is, it can block an IP, allow an IP, or insert a Cloudflare-style captcha challenge for an IP. If you pass the challenge, the system sets a cookie on you which whitelists you for several days.

For the forum to go back to a homebrew solution from Cloudflare, the above two pieces would need to be very-well-satisfied.

Another point is that you could design the system such that it does not require looking into HTTPS traffic. It can just work at the TCP layer and pass the encrypted HTTPS traffic verbatim. I'm not sure how exactly you would tunnel the real data to the real server (I previously thought that GRE tunnels would work, but somebody told me that this might not be the appropriate tool), but it should definitely be possible. The upside to this is that you can use a very powerful service like AWS without trusting them too much. The downside is that you cannot use layer 7 data for IP classification, and you cannot insert a challenge; it's either block or allow. The ideal anti-DDoS solution would give you the option of whether you want to give the gates access to your HTTPS or not.
251  Other / Meta / Re: Why is search disabled again? on: December 01, 2017, 02:43:59 AM
252  Other / Meta / Re: 500 Internal Server Error? on: November 30, 2017, 11:44:33 PM
It was a bug related to the Cloudflare transition. I fixed it. Nobody should be getting the 500 error after this point. (Other errors are still possible for the usual reasons.)
253  Other / Meta / Re: Why is search disabled again? on: November 30, 2017, 06:49:29 AM
It helped against the DDoS somewhat. I'll bring it back up in 12-24 hours once the transition to Cloudflare is complete.
254  Other / Meta / Re: Moving to Cloudflare on: November 29, 2017, 11:35:34 PM
The thought of willingly passing passwords in clear text is quit disturbing for a security concerned member (me).  I can counter the PM issue as I do elsewhere by using GPG'd PMs, which are encrypted and decrypted ONLY locally on this end as needed.  At some sites I only respond to PM's where both sides have good OPSec using GPG on messages.  Is there any chance that bitcointalk could counter assault this huge password weakness by allowing U2F keys for members?  Even cloudfare can't do shit about getting around an encrypted key from a member's U2F and the site server?  I am not asking you to require U2F just allow it for those that are security concerned.  With the price of BTC and users that have been in the game for awhile the risks of doing stuff in "plain text" during logins is not Plan A by any means.

What I meant is that Cloudflare can see your unencrypted password when you log in. It's still encrypted from the real server to Cloudflare and from Cloudflare to you. So it's not blatantly insecure except in that Cloudflare is very probably an NSA honeypot, and it's not like the NSA is going to steal your password in order to scam people on or anything. If you use PGP for important communications and use a unique password, then IMO this addresses the plausible attacks well enough.

The U2F thing is a good idea in principle, but I've long been uneasy about fiddling with the authentication. I don't want to make a mistake which breaks security.
255  Other / Meta / Re: New HTTPS keys on: November 29, 2017, 08:07:50 PM
Hash: SHA256

The forum will soon be using a Cloudflare auto-generated key.

(Although I have the option, I see no value in generating my own key
and then giving it to Cloudflare, or using their "keyless" HTTPS.)

256  Other / Meta / Moving to Cloudflare on: November 29, 2017, 08:07:39 PM
With regret, I am (for now) admitting defeat on the DDoS front, and we will soon be using using Cloudflare to protect against DDoS attacks. This change is in progress, and will take ~24 hours for everyone to see.

I really don't believe in willingly putting a man-in-the-middle in your HTTPS like this, but my homebrew DDoS mitigation has been one of my biggest time sinks for the last 6 months or so, and the necessary servers are still pretty expensive. If I had more manpower, then I would prioritize maintaining our own DDoS protection, but with me as the only sysadmin and current-software developer, it's become unsustainable.

I especially dislike Cloudflare, which I'm almost certain is basically owned by US intelligence agencies. I considered several alternatives to Cloudflare, but the smaller ones (eg. Stackpath and OVH) didn't strike me as reputable/competent enough, and the enterprise-targeted ones like Incapsula and Akamai are around $3500/month. Even though $3500/month seems absolutely ridiculous to me, I was seriously considering Incapsula due to its pretty good reputation, but then they were having all sorts of technical issues while I was trying to set it up. So I gave up for now and went with Cloudflare.

The Internet is seriously flawed if everyone needs to huddle behind these huge centralized anti-DDoS companies in order to survive...

The security implications are that Cloudflare can read everything you send to or receive from the server, including your cleartext password and any PMs you send or look at. They can't access the database arbitrarily, though: they can only see data that passes over the Internet.

Tor users and benevolent-bot operators: please wait a couple of days for the current DDoS to subside, and then post your complaints here. I am able and willing to tune Cloudflare to be minimally annoying. Not every Cloudflare site has to do that "Using Tor? Here's an impossible captcha" thing.
257  Other / Meta / Re: Bitcointalk is extremely slow / not working. on: November 29, 2017, 07:40:03 PM
It's a DDoS, I'm working on it.
258  Bitcoin / Project Development / Re: We should build a seastead on: November 29, 2017, 06:42:44 AM
Theymos, glad you brought this up because this is exactly what is being worked on and has been in the works for the past year.

Excellent news! I had heard about the French Polynesia thing, but I didn't know that construction was so close. That may be the first ICO I actually buy.
259  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: I am pretty confident we are the new wealthy elite, gentlemen. on: November 29, 2017, 06:30:06 AM
Now that we are officially the new wealthy elite, let's make sure that we do better than the old ones. Smiley
260  Other / Meta / Re: Newbies can now pay a small fee to enable images on: November 27, 2017, 11:24:20 PM
Found an issue with copper status. I can not delete my posts  Cheesy

Fixed, thanks.

Haha. You only have two coins under your name now instead of the five for legendary. I think those coins should stick to being associated with ranks really to avoid confusion and they certainly shouldn't downgrade your coin rankings (though maybe theymos overlooked anyone other than newbies purchasing this).

Yeah, I didn't really expect any non-newbies to buy it. I changed it to use the coin images for your post group.
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