The Public Forum is Closed...

I have been dreading this post, and procrastinating its delivery. Effective today, the forum has been shut down. This is due to several factors, but the priority reasons are below.

Automated Attacks: Every day, a handful of users conduct automated attacks against the forum and my site. The attempts are malicious in nature, but there is no evidence any information was ever obtained. This varies from scraping usernames and messages, to attempting various injections trying to gain access to other areas of the site. It is only a matter of time before a vulnerability surfaces that causes real trouble. This is a serious liability for me, and a chance I no longer wish to take. Online forums are notorious for being insecure and an avenue to unauthorized access to a website. Legal representation for my company has been pushing me to eliminate the forum for over a year, but i always resisted. I am starting to see the light.

Content Moderation: Twice daily, my moderators must remove posts and sometimes remove members due to those who refuse to honor the rules. Lately, the number of hateful posts had increased substantially. This distracts these employees from their other jobs, and they are tired of the personal attacks from unhappy members when they get banned. This is common for all forums, and I am impressed how long it took to attract the trolls and hateful people. I think that says a lot for this community. We had a great run.

We have tried deleting accounts, but that does no good when a new account can be created. We have considered an invite-only system, which only puts more demand on the moderators' time. The appropriate solution is to simply shut down the forum.

This is not a pity party! This has been a great place for many of us to learn new privacy & OSINT techniques. It served its purpose well, and I am extremely grateful to all contributors. 28,000 posts is incredible, thank you for making this a great experience. The podcast will continue, and members of the online training will continue to have direct access to support and their own private forum.

All good things come to an end, and I am sure new communities will pop up once this is gone. I wish you all the best.


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