LibraryThing systems under stress

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LibraryThing systems under stress

Edited: Sep 4, 2023, 12:47 am

I wanted you to know that since around 2pm Eastern LibraryThing's systems have been under concerted network attack. From around then until just recently, we have been down or very slow.

The attack is known as a DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service. Basically, a lot of computers have been hitting LibraryThing's systems so hard and so rapidly that our infrastructure has been unable to keep up, causing slowness and downtime. Traffic spikes happen, but unlike unintentional or less sophisticated efforts, the attackers control a large number of machines (a "botnet"), so when we block machines (IPs), new machines start doing it. And as we adopt defensive tactics, they change their tactics.

Our systems administrator, another developer and I have spent much of the evening working the problem.

I don't want to spell out what we're doing here, but most (95%?) members should find things in better shape now. Even so, problems remain, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see new and different attacks.

Sep 4, 2023, 3:05 am

Shield and sword, Tim! Thank you for your work!

Sep 4, 2023, 4:01 am

Thanks for your work, and for telling us.

Edited: Sep 4, 2023, 5:55 am

Thanks Tim for the information.
Perhaps in this case a small, very visual banner could be added to the site (like for treasure hunts but more visible with a big wanrning).
Indeed, some do not understand that the site and its collaborators have nothing to do with it** but that there are very malicious people who attack the site. These are the ones who should be expelled forever from the entire internet

Good luck
Wait and see

** of course there are a thousand parades / solutions and tools / soft ... but then it will no longer be free... with all the consequences imaginable

Sep 4, 2023, 6:43 am

It's still very slow, but it seems it's recovering from the attack!

Sep 4, 2023, 7:16 am

>4 JMK2020: Even the biggest sites go down with these attacks.

Sep 4, 2023, 7:59 am

Thanks for the hard work. Fingers crossed it stops soon.

Edited: Sep 4, 2023, 8:26 am

8:20am Eastern: We're ignoring non-member traffic, so we're up for members, down for most others. The site remains slow because of "network contention"—even if we don't waste resources on bad requests, the traffic is still there, clogging things up like a bad traffic jam.

We are working on options.

Sep 4, 2023, 8:29 am

>8 timspalding: thank you.

Sep 4, 2023, 8:33 am

>8 timspalding: I'm glad it's getting better. Sorry you have to deal with this on a holiday. :-(

Sep 4, 2023, 8:39 am

>1 timspalding:, >8 timspalding: I'm sorry LT was hit with this, and thank you for keeping us in the loop. Thanks to you and the staff who are working on this!

Edited: Sep 4, 2023, 8:39 am

duplicate post

Sep 4, 2023, 9:34 am

Argh! How dare they hit one of the nicest places online! Thank you, Tim & co, for all the hard work.

Sep 4, 2023, 9:35 am

Are there activities we should refrain from doing just now? I’m not able to upload author pictures for example.

Sep 4, 2023, 9:47 am

>14 2wonderY:

No. Go ahead. It's all "network contention," happening outside of the systems that do the interesting stuff.

Sep 4, 2023, 9:48 am

Update: 9:30am Eastern: They've stopped for now. They will probably start again.

Sep 4, 2023, 10:02 am

There seems to be an image problem, whether related to this or a repeat of a few weeks ago. See

Sep 4, 2023, 10:11 am

Apart from the broken images, the site is still quite slow for me in general.

Sep 4, 2023, 10:23 am

>16 timspalding: Thanks for all the hard work! Hopefully they won't resume the attack.
Sep 4, 2023, 10:36 am

>1 timspalding: Thanks for letting us know and for everything the team is doing.

Sep 4, 2023, 10:37 am

Update: Attack not resumed, but our defenses are still up and have costs. Notable, many images are slow for complicated reasons involving our content-delivery networking being blocked by us. We hope to fix this in the coming hours.

Sep 4, 2023, 10:52 am

Why would LT be targeted?

Sep 4, 2023, 11:01 am

>22 m.belljackson:

We received what amounts to an extortion note—pay or we'll keep doing this. We aren't going to pay. We're not rich, and we're principled. Paying would just encourage more, and fund attacks against other people. So they're wasting their time. Also, while hitting us on Labor Day weekend is bad, we're not helpless; we have smart systems and developer people. We have things we are doing, and more we can do if it persists. They may have realized all this and stopped, or it might just be a paused before another attack.

Sep 4, 2023, 11:20 am

What are the prospects of law enforcement in this sort of situation?

Sep 4, 2023, 11:27 am

How about Litsy? It's still down.

Sep 4, 2023, 11:31 am

>23 timspalding: Good for you.

Sep 4, 2023, 11:38 am

>23 timspalding: Thanks for the updates! You guys are great.

Sep 4, 2023, 11:45 am

>25 majkia:

It's not down for me. We're looking at it now. You're using the app?

Sep 4, 2023, 12:10 pm

Thanks, Tim and all for your hard work on this problem. My husband (retired law enforcement) says most law enforcement has a department dedicated to cybercrime.

The app is not working for me at all.

Sep 4, 2023, 12:23 pm

How awful! People can be so malicious! Thanks for all you do, Tim! Hang in there! Hopefully, the perpetrators will be caught and prosecuted!

Please don't lose faith! You provide such an awesome service!

Sep 4, 2023, 12:31 pm

Thank you for all your work & your principled stand, >23 timspalding:

Sep 4, 2023, 12:36 pm

Thanks for the updates, Tim. And for your hard work in dealing with the problem.

Sep 4, 2023, 12:43 pm

Thanks for the updates, Tim . And thanks to you and all the staff for what you do .

Sep 4, 2023, 1:04 pm

Thanks for the updates!

Sep 4, 2023, 1:32 pm

We'll hang in there with you. Thanks for letting us know!

Sep 4, 2023, 1:48 pm

Damnit. When I read:
>1 timspalding: ... since around 2pm Eastern LibraryThing's systems have been under concerted network attack

my mind was expecting the next words to be something like:
Since 5:45 a.m. we have been returning the fire, and from now on bombs will be met by bombs.


Sep 4, 2023, 1:48 pm

Thanks for telling us! This is just a standard thing that happens on the internet sometimes, and it sucks. The LT team is great! I hope you get some time off later.

Edited: Sep 4, 2023, 1:59 pm

Update 2pm Eastern. Anyone having problems still? Vote, but reply only if you are. (Don't report anything before 2pm.)

Vote: Anyone still having problems?

Current tally: Yes 15, No 53

Sep 4, 2023, 2:04 pm

>24 paradoxosalpha: What are the prospects of law enforcement in this sort of situation?

Nil, alas.

Sep 4, 2023, 2:13 pm

>38 timspalding: just image related issues, and I can be patient.

Sep 4, 2023, 2:14 pm

>36 bnielsen: That would be awesome. :)

Sep 4, 2023, 3:20 pm

Update 3:19. Yeah, they came back. Mother$!@#.

Sep 4, 2023, 3:24 pm

at 2:44 pm I tried accessing the site...404 errors galore and then ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED. If this post goes through it will be a miracle.

Sep 4, 2023, 3:38 pm

>42 timspalding: I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. I was the sys admin at my library years ago and we were hit with DoS and also hacked by Chinese hackers. Just a little library at the seashore.

Sep 4, 2023, 3:44 pm

Wow - I was wondering why it was down and for so long. This is very upsetting and I am glad you guys are not giving in to the demands.

Sep 4, 2023, 3:52 pm

Thanks for what you're doing, Tim.
They should move onto other targets eventually, even their botnets are not endless anyway.

Sep 4, 2023, 4:05 pm

>38 timspalding: The site is mostly fine for me, but I can't add a book by manual entry: after I select Save, it pauses for a while and then I see a 405 error.

Sep 4, 2023, 4:56 pm

>28 timspalding: I can't get to litsy website at all. the app works every once in awhile.

Sep 4, 2023, 5:20 pm

As frustrating as it might feel for me not to be able to use my key to get in my kitchen door, I will happily accept that because you're correct in your assessment of the character of such beings. Fight 'em for all of us, the recurring issue with CONNECTION REFUSED messages twice in the past hour is minor in comparison.

Sep 4, 2023, 5:31 pm

>1 timspalding: as a retired software engineer I know the dos problem. You are obviously doing a great job. I am sure everyone appreciates your efforts.

Sep 4, 2023, 5:39 pm

Thanks for continuing to hold out!

Sep 4, 2023, 5:51 pm

Update: Okay, if you're getting the website, the images should now be working.

Sep 4, 2023, 6:17 pm

Still intermittent connection problems in this hour. I’m finding just how little I care for other parts of the internet. I am getting more book reading done though.

Sep 4, 2023, 6:26 pm

Adding new books (manually) times out (well, 405s), sometimes with a book fragment being incompletely added:

Sep 4, 2023, 6:30 pm

Hmm. There seems to be something special about manual adding. I'll look.

Sep 4, 2023, 6:42 pm

Just wanted to convey my thanks along with those above to timspalding and team for all the hard work and dedication. It's a frustrating inconvenience to those of us who want to use the site as intended and enjoyed by so many, but for you all it's a huge amount of effort and strife to keep this as the place we love when the ill-intentioned folks behind attacks such as this aim their attention this way. Thank you for your work and for not giving into their demands.

Sep 4, 2023, 6:50 pm

>54 damnnicks:

Thanks for this. We figure it out. The measures we're using to block external IPs caught some of our internal ones, and they were used in manual adding. This should be fixed.

Sep 4, 2023, 7:04 pm

So sorry to hear this.

Edited: Sep 4, 2023, 7:26 pm

I have this one showing as recently added to my catalogue on my homepage. But it has zero owners and just displays an error when I try to load the work page so I can't delete it.
Sep 4, 2023, 7:30 pm

>59 Jarandel: Same thing's happening to me.

Sep 4, 2023, 7:33 pm

Real dumb question, Tim, and I assume with a "mere" DDoS attack the answer is "NO" -- but.... is there any danger that user cataloging data has been compromised? Again, my assumption is that the DDoS has merely impaired network access and that there's no compromise of user data.

Sep 4, 2023, 8:42 pm

Thank you for the update and the hard work.

Edited: Sep 4, 2023, 8:46 pm

>59 Jarandel: >60

Is it possible you added it manually?

>61 CurrerBell:

If you're referring to the problem in 59 and 60, I think I know what happened. Indeed, I think it would happen for any absolutely new work or edition. Basically, the add-books process for a new book involves LibraryThing hitting LibraryThing as a service. This wasn't something we realized could a problem, but after a few mentions, it dawned on me that it might be. During much of the day, LT hitting LT would have been impossible. It is possible now. I'll be looking into what to do with cases like that, but it's not my priority, as people can just delete and re-add, and there's a lot going on.

More generally, no, not only is there zero evidence of anything like that, there's good evidence of what is going on, and what they're trying to do. They are DDoSing us. It's a standard attack, and simple and easy, if you have a bot net. And it's hard to guard against. They aren't sophisticated. They're not logging in, or even looking around. For example, the DDoS isn't even doing any sort of intelligent scrape—it's just hitting a small number of pages over and over. Because for a DDoS it doesn't matter what you hit—you just hit.

Additional note: Elsewhere someone suggested Cloudfront. We are, of course, looking into that.

Sep 4, 2023, 9:00 pm

Sorry you're(we're) going through this, and thank you for manning the forts on a holiday weekend.
Edited: Sep 4, 2023, 9:09 pm

>63 timspalding: It wasn't a manual add for me. However, it DID show up after I tried to add a book normally and got an error. It shows up under "Recently Added" on my homepage but not in my Library. It acts exactly like Jarandel's.

Here's the link:

Sep 4, 2023, 9:25 pm

dont these people have anything better to do with their lives? thank you for standing on principle and thank you for your hard work in getting us up and running. I did wonder after I heard the orginal post on FB, If we are adding to problems by continuing to see if you are up. Let us know pls. And bless you for all you do for us

Sep 4, 2023, 9:40 pm

Thank you for everything you're doing!

Sep 4, 2023, 9:45 pm

Update: We're totally open right now. They haven't started up again, but I expect they will, so I'm likely to restrict access somewhat overnight while I'm asleep.

Tomorrow we'll have the whole dev staff, and more systems administration help.

Sep 4, 2023, 10:27 pm

Thanks Tim and team!

Sep 4, 2023, 11:10 pm

Tim, I'm sorry to hear about the DDoS attack (on a holiday, too!) If there's anything useful that outside devs like myself can do to help, let us know.

My only suggestion is an external DDoS mitigation service like Cloudflare, but I'm sure you're already looking into that.

Sep 4, 2023, 11:27 pm

>70 kgodey:

Yeah. It's a long story, but yes, we are.

Sep 5, 2023, 1:48 am

>63 timspalding: Yeah, might have attempted to add a book manually during that time.

Sep 5, 2023, 2:14 am

>57 timspalding: Thanks to you and the LT team for all your work! Manual entry worked correctly for me just now.

Sep 5, 2023, 4:00 am

Tim: Thanks for everything. Don't give in to those bastards — we can wait if we have to.

Sep 5, 2023, 7:51 am

Thanks to you and the team for your hard work over what should have been a nice holiday weekend.

I'm glad you're not giving into them.

Sep 5, 2023, 7:58 am

I want to thank the LT team for all they do. I have not had any problems with the site. It is quite evident how much time and effort go into keeping the ship afloat. It is all appreciated to no end.

Sep 5, 2023, 8:04 am

Update: We are open now and have been for various periods in the last day. The attack isn't happening right now. It may or may not come back. If it does, we'll become partially accessible, partially inaccessible again.

Sep 5, 2023, 8:17 am

Thanks so much LT staff!

Sep 5, 2023, 9:08 am

Thank you thank you to all the staff for their hard work on getting the site back up and running. Sending a curse to the hackers, may their socks slip into their shoes for the rest of their days, and may karmic justice take place sooner rather than later.

Sep 5, 2023, 10:15 am

Thanks for the updates and for all the hard work you all have been doing to get the site back up and to keep it up.

Sep 5, 2023, 9:16 pm

glad to see you are up again.

Sep 5, 2023, 9:17 pm

Keeping the ommmm machine crankin'...

Sep 5, 2023, 9:17 pm

We're still in the soup. But we're going to go half-up while we try to resolve this on a deeper level.

Sep 5, 2023, 9:32 pm

>83 timspalding: blessings on your fight

Sep 5, 2023, 9:34 pm

First time today I have been able to connect. I've missed you LT; feel better soon. Thanks for all the behind the scenes work everyone is doing.

Sep 5, 2023, 9:34 pm

Just now I was able to change a major thing that will help us. I think it won't be implemented until tomorrow. And we may need to shut things off later tonight. But it's light at the end of the tunnel.

Sep 5, 2023, 9:36 pm

Tim, are we able to export our catalogs? Or is that one of the items that you've had to disable for the time being? I do a backup every now and then; but after this, I'm concerned that I'm going to have to do a backup every time I do any cataloging update. It looks like the Export screen is just hanging, both on Excel and on tab-delimited text.

Edited: Sep 5, 2023, 9:53 pm

>38 timspalding: just now was able to get in.
Not a very nice way to celebrate LT's birthday.

Edited: Sep 5, 2023, 10:47 pm

Thanks to all of you for working so hard to get things working, and Tim, thanks for the updates. While I wasn't able to add a book tonight (tried adding an ER book (isbn: 9781636141343) but kept getting a field with only the word "dog" in the upper left hand corner, it was wonderful to connect with people in Talk again.

Sep 5, 2023, 10:12 pm

Maybe LT is a They Might Be Giants fan:

Sep 5, 2023, 10:17 pm

I think we'll be up for the night just fine. And may not go down again.

Sep 5, 2023, 10:26 pm

>91 timspalding: Great News Tim! Fingers crossed.

Edited: Sep 5, 2023, 10:36 pm

Thanks for the updates and for all the hard work involved in getting things safe.

Currently, my only LT problem is that I can't add a book I finished yesterday. When I click on the book to add it, it just says dog in a large white box.

>89 RidgewayGirl: That's exactly what I'm getting.

Sep 5, 2023, 10:38 pm

>93 lindapanzo: Yeah, I'm having the same problem with Add books.

Sep 5, 2023, 10:41 pm

Edited: Sep 5, 2023, 10:46 pm

Fixed. Thanks. Sorry about that.

Sep 5, 2023, 10:55 pm

>96 timspalding: Thanks, Tim!!

Sep 5, 2023, 11:02 pm

I was not able to get in using Firefox, but I did get in using Edge

Sep 6, 2023, 12:23 am

Total support

Edited: Sep 6, 2023, 12:34 am

I can’t get onto the site using my desktop computer with Firefox just now , but I can get using my IPhone 14 safari browser. Using my desktop computer I get an host error message and I can see you are now using cloud flare .

Sep 6, 2023, 12:39 am

Okay, just got in using my desk top and google chrome. All Good.

Sep 6, 2023, 2:01 am

I too am getting 522 errors when I try and log in using my desktop machine, but logging in fine on the iPad. Both use Chrome.

Edited: Sep 6, 2023, 4:30 am

Sep 6, 2023, 2:50 am

What a drag; thank you for dealing with it

Sep 6, 2023, 4:33 am

Thanks for keeping us updated, Tim & co.

Today it's working for me again. I sometimes need to refresh but I can work with that for now.

Sep 6, 2023, 5:32 am

This is why i print out all LT pages every morning, so i have a hardcopy backup.

Sep 6, 2023, 7:05 am

Another vote of thanks for all your hard work.

Sep 6, 2023, 7:12 am

Thank you all for your hard work. I cannot live on without LT.

Sep 6, 2023, 7:16 am

Be strong and don't give up! We're all with you on this!

Sep 6, 2023, 7:57 am

Edited: Sep 6, 2023, 8:02 am

>110 thefringthing: I thought the dog bug had fled? You still seeing it?

Sep 6, 2023, 8:09 am

Thanks for all the hard work.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:10 am

>112 Kristelh: I think they're joking.

Also, dog.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:13 am

Thanks for all your hard work on the site!

Sep 6, 2023, 8:16 am

Thanks for doing battle.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:18 am

Many thanks to Tim and team for the hard work done keeping us all secure

Sep 6, 2023, 8:25 am

Some thumbnails on my home page of recently added books are broken with the following errors:

7616fe8726e0867597641323541414141473441_v5.jpg:1 Failed to load resource: net::ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH

But I believe they will resolve within 24 hours or less, depending on when you activated. I also got stuck in the "checking site connection" infinite loop on Chrome & Brave and had to tweak some of my browser settings to get through. There will be some bumps in the road as some clients have to adapt to the site on Cloudflare but I think in the end it will be a huge net positive. Hope you didn't have to break your piggy bank to afford it. :D

Sep 6, 2023, 8:27 am

Thanks to everyone for the hard work. It is greatly appreciated. :)

Sep 6, 2023, 8:30 am

>117 Taliesien:

Thanks. We're working on that one. There are several problems along these lines.

General update: LibraryThing is up because we put the service "behind" Cloudflare, a much-used service built for just these situations. Basically, when we're under attack Cloudflare screens our traffic and throws out the bad stuff. For various reasons this took longer to implement than we wanted, but it's up now. We'll write about it more soon.

Note that the "interstitial" with the Cloudflare logo is a temporary measure, for when we're under attack. It won't be used often.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:34 am

I just got thrown off site while in the middle of composing a long post.🤨

Sep 6, 2023, 8:34 am

Just want to add "thanks for good work" to you. I knew such events are hard.
Also thx for updates you did/will do :)

Sep 6, 2023, 8:35 am

Edited: Sep 6, 2023, 8:37 am

This user has been removed as spam.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:41 am

>106 MrAndrew: All pages? I just print the ones translated into Nepalese. If LT goes away, I finally have a reason to learn Nepalese.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:42 am

I was very worried over the weekend when I couldn't add my new books, I didn't know what was going on and was afraid the site was lost forever, totally in a panic, so I am so happy you came through the fire and so much disbelief that they would attack a site like this, why on earth do they think this is going to get them money? (rhetorical, I know because some people do pay but just gaahh)

Thankyou tim and the team for the hard work to protect this and us.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:44 am

>119 timspalding:

Yeah I saw Cloudflare asking if I was human. However I was still getting a 'Too many redirects' error but that seems to have been cured now.

Although I do write web apps I haven't had to deal with a DDOS attack quite like this (I guess my stuff not really being public sites help). I feel your pain but I guess it won't go on much longer. I guess Cloudflare have a lot more knowledge about what is a bot and automatically rewriting rules to knock them on the head for good (so they shouldn't hit the LT servers at all) than either you or I.

I hope you (and the rest of the staff) will soon be able to relax with a glass of (insert favourite beverage here) and a good book.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:53 am

Finally got in . . . after several times over the past few hours of cloudflare showing "too many redirects" error and stopping.
This time it showed that error but then went to the log in page.
Just reporting. Not complaining. Keep up the excellent work.
(But I hope you all are finding ways of sleeping in shifts or something to keep from dropping from exhaustion.)
Sending love and prayers to the LT staff . . . and curses to the piss ant scum of the universe who do things like attack websites.

Sep 6, 2023, 8:56 am

>119 timspalding: I couldn't get in most of yesterday; on my desktop Cloudflare got to step three and timed out, which was interesting but frustrating. Glad to see things are back to normal (if only in the Dr Who sense)! Thanks for all your hard work, all of you!!!

Sep 6, 2023, 8:58 am

Could not get in at all last night. Cloudflare kept timing out.

So it's nice to be back!

Please stick around. ;-))

Sep 6, 2023, 8:59 am

I also got cloudflare, and after I clicked the box I got a message saying the session had expired. A couple of hours later it worked fine.

Sep 6, 2023, 9:07 am

I'm back in now after the Cloudflare 522 errors I was getting yesterday evening and this morning.

Thanks for all your hard work! Hopefully we've seen the last of the miscreants.

It really puzzles me why some people are willing to put 40 hours work in for a potential $20,000 return vs 20 hours work for a guaranteed $40,000 return (somebody on another forum describing a relative who does just that).

Sep 6, 2023, 9:18 am

My thanks also to Tim and all the team.

Sep 6, 2023, 9:40 am

Happy to be back. Thank you.

Sep 6, 2023, 10:05 am

tom, thanks so much for the work your team has done to stop these slimeball from ruining our fun here. Dont know anything about cloudflare, but happy to see it up and running

Sep 6, 2023, 10:17 am

One thing is for certain. We will not forget this LT Birthday any time soon. But that's a good thing. Because, we all pulled together, helped one another, and encouraged everyone. That's the beauty between good versus bad. I don't know about everyone else, but I quickly realized that LT represents much more than books. We are a library family and I think above everything else, that's what we'll remember from all of this. We'll never forget how the LT team put us back together and triumphed over evil.
Happy 2023 Birthday LibraryThing!

Sep 6, 2023, 10:29 am

"The libraries of America are and must ever remain the home of free and inquiring minds. To them, our citizens - of all ages and races, of all creeds and persuasions - must be able to turn with clear confidence that there they can freely seek the whole truth, unvarnished by fashion and uncompromised by expediency." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

"I have an unshaken conviction that democracy can never be undermined if we maintain our library resources and a national intelligence capable of utilizing them." - Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a letter to publisher Herbert Putnam

“Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” ― Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

If your library is not “unsafe,” it probably isn’t doing its job.” ― John Berry

“You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! Best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!”
― The Doctor David Tennant

“When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian.” ― Joan Bauer

Dear Tim and LibraryThing Team,

Make no mistake you are all on the front line of a war. This is perhaps the most important of all wars ever fought. Here and now is a battle for to access the most precious and the most dangerous of all elements, knowledge. There are elements in our world that fear it and your servers stand in their way to destroy it, to control or to distort it. Fact and truth to disinformation and outright lies.

The fact that these antidemocratic minority elements of tyranny have chosen to battle LibraryThing is evident of your role as a vanguard to free thought. and are viewed as a great threat to these thought despots.

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin,
more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary,
destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established
institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless,
indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages.

Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid ... Thought is great
and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” ―
Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight

Fight on! Tim and team.

Tim Frankel Re-Joined (second time) on Sep 7, 2012.


"Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, ..." Universal Declaration of Human Rights = Preamble

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 19


Malicious attack on Wikipedia—What we know, and what we’re doing

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Posted on March 25, 2023 by Chris Freeland

Volunteers Rally to Archive Ukrainian Web Sites
Posted on March 22, 2022 by Caralee Adams

Russia won’t go Wayback, blocks the Internet Archive By Gabe Carey, Digital Trends Media Group June 26, 2015

Lukas Kawerau, Nils B. Weidmann & Alberto Dainotti (2023) Attack or Block? Repertoires of Digital Censorship in Autocracies, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 20:1, 60-73, DOI: 10.1080/19331681.2022.2037118

CCS '20: Proceedings of the 2020 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security October 2020Pages 49–66

Censored Planet: An Internet-wide, Longitudinal Censorship Observatory | Proceedings of the 2020 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Copy of CCS2020_fpc387_Ram Sundara Raman - Andrew

Edited: Sep 6, 2023, 10:37 am

I'd like to offer a little note of relief that the perps in this case seem to be garden-variety Russian cybercriminals rather than US-American anti-library ideological actors. (Although it's not impossible to imagine the latter acting by means of the former.)

Sep 6, 2023, 10:40 am

>137 paradoxosalpha: I was thinking the same. The library in the neighboring town in suburban Chicago has received bomb and other threats and has had to close 3 times in the past 2 or 3 weeks. I know how horrified we all are about that. There’s been a rash of such threats all around the area.

Sep 6, 2023, 10:46 am

>125 Musereader: "I am so happy you came through the fire and so much disbelief that they would attack a site like this, why on earth do they think this is going to get them money?"

Maybe they want books rather than money? If so, I'd be glad to throw the book at them.

Sep 6, 2023, 10:49 am

>136 Frankel_Library: bravo! well said

and on that note Yesterday I was at our used book store where they were having a banned 'save this book' sale. Banned books are wrapped, with the reasons for the ban written on the front. The one that caught my eye? "Promoting disobedience, violence,cannibalism (?!), satanism, suicide and supernatural themes. Describes death" The book was one I frequently read to my students the light in the attic which means Im probably going to hell. I am now going through it to find the poem about cannabilsm. No this is not funny but sometimes you gotta just laugh while we fight

Sep 6, 2023, 10:51 am

>140 cindydavid4: I was expecting you to say Lord of the Flies myself.

Sep 6, 2023, 10:54 am

Just to say many thanks for all your efforts on this.

Here in the UK, I had been unable to access the site since the attack started until today, but all I was seeing was it timing out, and as my ISP is being a bit flaky at the moment anyway, I blamed them. It was only when I saw your Facebook announcement that I realised what was happening. Moral: always have a secondary line of communication!

Sep 6, 2023, 11:03 am

>122 timspalding: No problem. I was adding data to site performance.

For me, it was enlightening that this is the one of two sites where I spend my time. The other is Instagram, and I was grateful that LT posted there a few times notifying of the issues.
Y’all might want to follow them there:

Edited: Sep 6, 2023, 11:10 am

>141 gilroy: Found it "ladies first"

pamela purse screamed Ladies First
when we went off on our jungle trip
pamala purse said her thirst was worse
and guzzled our water every sip
and when we got grabbed by that wild savage band
who tied us together and made us all stand
in a long line in front of the king of the land
a cannibal known as Fry Em Up Dan
who sat on his throne ina bib so grand
with a lick on his lips and a fork in his hand
as he tried to decide whod be first in the pan
from the back of the line, in that shrill voice of hers
pamela purse yelled "ladies first!"

Sep 6, 2023, 11:14 am

See, now that's Art.

Sep 6, 2023, 11:41 am

>143 2wonderY: Thanks! I didn't know they had Instagram (should have figured it) :)

Sep 6, 2023, 11:59 am

Thank for all of your hard work and lost sleep, and also for keeping us updated on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and Twitter X. (Some of us were obsessively checking for news.)

Sep 6, 2023, 12:07 pm

Thank you for this wonderful site which connects us not only with literature, but with other people! I realized during the time it was not available to us how unique a space this is, and how so many of benefit from this unique nexus of interests.

Your hard work is deeply appreciated.

Sep 6, 2023, 12:17 pm

Thanks for your responsiveness, ongoing communication, and for everyone's hard work - on Labor Day weekend no less! Your efforts are appreciated.

Sep 6, 2023, 12:37 pm

Thanks for all your work coping with these cybercriminals. I'm very glad you didn't try to pay them off; as well as encouraging them to go after others, that might well cause them to re-attack LibraryThing again and again, with ever escalating demands. ("If you once pay Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.")

I now almost regret that I'm not on either FaceBook or Instagram, so had no independent way of learning what was happening. Fortunately I was able to get through once or twice and see the message on the LibraryThing home page.

I don't suppose you'd consider a presence on Dreamwidth, which is the only social media site I use other than LibraryThing itself? No, I'm not serious - there are limits to how many sites you can reasonably be expected to update.

But if your status were available somewhere that offers an RSS feed - and isn't likely to be DDOSd at the same time as LibraryThing - Dreamwidth users and many others would have another way to learn about issues like this.

Sep 6, 2023, 12:42 pm

>150 ArlieS:

I now almost regret that I'm not on either FaceBook or Instagram,

I discovered that LT's Facebook page is public, so even if you don't have an account there, you can see the posts.

Sep 6, 2023, 12:49 pm

Thanks for all the hard work, everyone! I shall order some LT merch to celebrate the birthday and honor your valor. :)

Sep 6, 2023, 12:49 pm

Tim and co. are our champions. You went above and beyond and on a holiday no less.
As MarthaJeanne said on another thread, I was having withdrawal symptoms. Glad you're back!

Sep 6, 2023, 1:14 pm

Thank you.

Edited: Sep 6, 2023, 1:36 pm

>151 lilithcat:

Thanks. Like >150 ArlieS: I'm not on any of those social media thingies, so it's good to know that there is an avenue for checking. Mind you, when I couldn't get on to LT after several tries over a few hours I just googled "Is Librarything down?" and got two or three links to sites which told me that it was.

Sep 6, 2023, 1:36 pm

>23 timspalding: Sorry that all of this happened and that you had to spend your Labor Day weekend working on this. Congratulations on your principled stance. And thanks for all of your hard work. I have found LibraryThing is working well today -- a bit slow but not intolerable.

Sep 6, 2023, 1:38 pm

Tim and all, Thank you so much for caring enough to fight this fight for us. I missed my LT friends so much and realized how much I rely on this site. I was obsessively checking it to see when I could get back on. As in >150 ArlieS:, I am not on social media either, so I kept checking my phone app and LT online. Glad you are back, and thanks for the many explanations. (I was ready to send a check in the mail if necessary!)

Sep 6, 2023, 1:41 pm

Thank you so much for all you do!! Your app is phenomenal!!

Sep 6, 2023, 1:47 pm

Thank you Tim and team for all your hard work to restore the site and confirming that I am, in fact, an LT addict :) I was suffering from withdrawal yesterday!!

Sep 6, 2023, 2:01 pm

So many thanks to Tim and all employees for working so hard on this!

Sep 6, 2023, 2:02 pm

Okay! Here's our full autopsy of the problem, the steps we tool, and the eventual resolution. This thread is getting long.

Sep 7, 2023, 10:28 am

Hi Thanks for you efforts. Through out today September 7 2023 I have not been able to successfully upload any covers. bye Robert

Sep 7, 2023, 10:31 am

Sep 10, 2023, 2:29 pm

Uploading some covers is an issue and the app and online site don't appear to be linked anymore (I can't see all the books I've entered on the app).

Thanks for your efforts and keeping us up-to-date with the situation

Sep 10, 2023, 4:48 pm

>164 NeilKM: The cover upload issue is a known bug:

Sep 11, 2023, 9:17 am

>1 timspalding: I would be so grateful to be able to access our Library Systems account at covpreschurch. Thank you very much.

Sep 11, 2023, 9:28 am

>166 Erna.G.Fenchel: I see that account at If you are having problems with it, you will need to be more specific.