Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   April 9 - 14 Service Outage and Looking to the Future (

Lee 14th April 2021 02:51 PM

April 9 - 14 Service Outage and Looking to the Future
Please accept my apology for the recent service outage.

I presently believe that an issue with connectivity between the vBulletin programs server and its supporting SQL server generated a large number of emailed error messages on April 8. This set off the spam alarm at the web hosting company and their investigation disclosed a number of malware files scattered widely throughout the file structure and so they locked the site until it was cleaned up. In retrospect, I suspect the email flood and the malware were actually unrelated. A detailed sweep through the file structure was made and a large number of malware files were detected and deleted. I also replaced the vBulletin files from a backup. Unfortunately, the URL of the SQL database had changed in the interval since I made the backup and so, when the hosting company turned the site back on, another error email was generated each time anyone attempted to do anything on the forum and about a thousand such emails were generated over 40 minutes before the spam alarm sounded and the site was locked down again. A second sweep found no recurrent malware and the incorrect parameters were corrected with the correct ones and the site restarted.

How the malware found during that first sweep got there is unresolved. If this were my fault, then it would most likely have been due to my failure to apply updates to the vBulletin program over a period of more than a decade.

I am currently in discussions with vBulletin about updating our installation and possibly moving the forums only to their cloud service where maintenance and updates are managed by vBulletin. If the migration proves feasible, the forums will become, paving the way for the long term.

Your comments are welcome.

francantolin 14th April 2021 04:56 PM

Hurray !

First thought the forum was over...

Thank you Lee for all your work !!
And all the staff !! :) :)

corrado26 14th April 2021 05:34 PM

I admire people who are able to handle such enormous technical problems. Many thanks for all your effort ;)

fernando 14th April 2021 06:05 PM

Good thing we have a splendid 'back up' ... named Lee :cool: .

David 14th April 2021 06:05 PM

Thanks for your amazing and tireless effort getting us back up and running Lee!

RSWORD 14th April 2021 06:48 PM

I am so happy the site is back up and running. I didn't realize how much I visit the site until it was gone.

Ian 14th April 2021 07:15 PM

Special thanks for Lee's hard work ...
Lee does a lot of behind-the-scenes work on this Forum that largely goes unnoticed. It's only when something major happens, like this recent event, that we realize just how much time and effort he puts into keeping this site running. Thanks entirely to Lee, this site is free for anyone who wants to participate and follow the Forum Rules, as well as for many more who simply come here anonymously to browse information not readily available elsewhere.

As already noted, you don't know how much you come here until you can't. :)

Green 14th April 2021 08:01 PM

I still get "temporarily disabled" when i click to my saved site.
But when I google "keris warung kopi" or ethnographic weapons I can get to this site.

Lee 14th April 2021 09:23 PM


Originally Posted by Green
I still get "temporarily disabled" when I click to my saved site.

This reflects your browser using a cached page from a recent visit rather than getting a fresh copy from the server. If you look for the 'Reload this page' icon (a circular arrow on Google chrome) and hold down shift and left click that icon, that will force the browser to go get a fresh page from the server. (Obviously, there may be variations on this theme on other browsers and Apple systems).

kronckew 15th April 2021 12:17 AM

Hoorah! You're back! Glad you had good backups!

It'd be nice to get a few vBulletin updates! :D

Especially this thread editor, which is much improved in newer versions...

Better security, image handling and other features too.

DaveA 15th April 2021 12:30 AM

Congratulations Lee. There is a lot going on behind the scenes. Sounds like a headache or two. I know I had one when I started seeing error messages! Thank you for your service, and for telling us what happened. Iím so glad you had a usable backup. Which makes me wonder, who is Leeís backup?

Bob A 15th April 2021 12:35 AM


Originally Posted by Lee
This reflects your browser using a cached page from a recent visit rather than getting a fresh copy from the server. If you look for the 'Reload this page' icon (a circular arrow on Google chrome) and hold down shift and left click that icon, that will force the browser to go get a fresh page from the server. (Obviously, there may be variations on this theme on other browsers and Apple systems).

Yes, the shift/reload worked for me, per a suggestion from Alan Maisey.

Many thanks to those who contribute to the site and solve irs problems!

kai 15th April 2021 01:43 AM

Thanks very much for all your efforts and support, Lee!

A move that would allow for continuous updates (as well as https) would be really great to secure the extremely valuable resource the forums have become to the community!

Please let me know if I can be of any help to make this happen?


ariel 15th April 2021 06:21 AM

Thanks a lot!

These 5 days were a nerve wrecking experience.
We are back!!!!!!!

Congratulations to all!

A. G. Maisey 15th April 2021 09:08 AM

Thank you Lee.

The phrase "National Treasure" keeps running through my mind.

kai 15th April 2021 10:49 AM

Global Treasure in my book! ;)

drac2k 15th April 2021 03:32 PM

Lee, we are lucky to have you!! I just hope that you are training a "back up person," to do all the things that you do for this site.

Rafngard 15th April 2021 04:11 PM


Many thanks to Lee and everyone else who puts in time on this site.

I hadn't realized how much I made use of this forum until I couldn't.


Mel H 15th April 2021 05:45 PM

I was still getting "temporarily disabled" till I pressed Ctrl together with F5
Seems to be OK now.

Jim McDougall 15th April 2021 06:01 PM

I want to join in thanking Lee, not only for his tenacious work at resolving this tech nightmare, but for all these years from his creating this forum, hosting and supporting it, tirelessly and faithfully.
I also thank Fernando for his behind the scenes effort at keeping us informed as to status, which is how I became aware of the grateful return today!!!

Thank you both so much!
I can now cancel my appointment with psychiatric help :)

rickystl 15th April 2021 06:25 PM



fernando 15th April 2021 06:50 PM

Make no mistake, Gentlemen.
The whole exhaustive work to bring the forum back in action, we owe it to Lee alone.


Lee 15th April 2021 07:21 PM

Looking Forward
Thank you all for your support and kind words. These forums started over two decades ago as a self-help feature, mostly because I would get a lot of questions I could not answer. Over that time the community here, including too many that have since passed on, has shared a great deal of information and insights on many topics of mutual interest and have jointly created a significant resource.

This episode was also a bit of a wake-up call as, in reality, my backups have been and are appallingly poor. So, this brings up the 'silver lining' coming out of this episode.

Originally Posted by DaveA
Which makes me wonder, who is Leeís backup?

There isn't any, although I actually have left instructions in my will to my potential executor to attempt to contact the moderators and offer some money to help encourage them to continue the project.

The reason for the absent to poor backups and failure to upgrade the software is that remote operations have been more than a bit unwieldy for me. Five years ago I was very tempted by the arrival of a specialized hosting service operated by vBulletin with automatically applied updates and daily backups (and of course their intimate knowledge of the system.) At that time, though, migration of a board of such an old version had not become routine.

You will likely notice, within the next two weeks, another but shorter interruption in service with a sudden change to the appearance of the board. This will occur when we are updated to version 3.8.11.

After that, if all goes as intended, the board will be ready for migration to the latest and current series 5 version of vBulletin. This will involve yet another interruption of service and will not be without some pain, however, as it will mess up bookmarks and links to favorite threads (though in a systematic way.) When the migration is performed, these forums will occupy rather than being

At some point, if there is interest, I would like to see evolve to be a part of a larger non-profit society of collectors and students of ethnographic arms and armor that might also hold 'wandering' live meetings (such a happened for a while with the Timonium seminars) but also with streaming feeds for those remote.

Even if that is an unrealistic pipe-dream, keeping these forums in a current version should insure somewhat against their sudden undesired disappearance.

Marbel 15th April 2021 08:43 PM

Thank you
Thank you Lee and team!

This is a valuable and important site. Well done.

JoeCanada42 16th April 2021 04:27 PM

Thank you Lee, I am new, but very happy to see the website back online.

Ren Ren 16th April 2021 06:04 PM

Thank you Lee and team!

Two days after the site crashed, I felt discomfort and anxiety. Before this incident, I had not thought that my addiction was so strong :shrug:

Norman McCormick 16th April 2021 07:20 PM

All is well with our world once again ;) :)

RobT 16th April 2021 07:55 PM

Thank You For All Your Selfless Dedication

Please allow me to join the chorus of thanks for all your work. I have been a member of the forum for many years and consider it a vital and enjoyable adjunct to my collecting hobby. For me, it is truly a treasure. Thank you again for keeping it going. We are all in your debt.


Rich 16th April 2021 10:06 PM


As I mentioned in my email, your hard work is so very much appreciated. I might suggest while re-doing stuff you might want to set it up as a secure site(s) - https not just http. Might reduce the chances of malware intrusion. Just a thought.

Lee 17th April 2021 02:15 PM

Bitter pill of change
Again, thank you for your kind words.

The advantages of https have been raised previously and were investigated in the context of the existing installation with the conclusion that a slowing of performance and breaking of links and bookmarks would ensue.

I understand that, having accepted these bitter pill of change's side effects, we will have https, the highly the desired inline attachments feature and a number of other refinements at the completion of the upgrades.

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