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Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:47 am
by hewmac06
Anyone caught out with Photobucket's hijacking of their board's images? They want $399.99 per year. and they'll make your images re-appear - this all out of the blue yesterday.
See: http://photobucket.com/p500/


a message from theImage

There are some useful scripts linked in this post

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:08 pm
by david63
Seems clear to me in their T&Cs as to what you can and cannot do.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:15 pm
by hewmac06
Updated on the day!

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:23 pm
by david63
It's their site so I suppose they can change the rules as when they want.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:24 pm
by January616
hewmac06 wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:47 am
Anyone caught out with Photobucket's hijacking of their board's images? They want $399.99 per year. and they'll make your images re-appear - this all out of the blue yesterday.
See: http://photobucket.com/p500/
Yes, I was caught and all our events, features of our fun fan site was ruined. Photobucket has always promoted themselves as a free, hotlink allowed site, to share your photos on your website/business and blog for free. They offered a limited amount of space and for a small fee, which I was paying, allowed more bandwidth.

With no notice, they left almost 20,000 images with giant boxes saying you must upgrade to have your pictures shown. It's disgraceful.

We actually had a photobucket representative come to our site 3 years ago (unsolicited) to offer tutorials on how to use photobucket on our site. He posted a few times and answered some of our members quesitons.

So to have this happen is disgusting. Mine's not a business, just a fun, popular site but still.

They have millions of customers, I'm sure this is not the end of it.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:12 am
by AbaddonOrmuz
They have done it before, that's why I stopped using the service a long time ago.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:46 pm
by v12mike
I have written a script (it is still a bit rough around the edges) to scan the phpBB database, find all the inline image links that point to photobucket and then put these links into new database tables.

I have written another script that reads the new database tables and fetches each image from photobucket for local backup.

I will next modify the camoimageproxy extension so that when a page is loaded with inline images, any that point to photobucket will be redirected to the local copy of the files.

Contact me if you want a copy of the scripts. I don't intend to provide much support, so you probably need to have some level of phpBB programming experience to use them.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:14 am
by AmigoJack
hewmac06 wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:15 pm
Updated on the day!
Then have a look at older versions, i.e. from 2017-06-24 - comparing that version with today I also see someone messed with the formatting.

There are countless alternatives for hosting pictures and most of them don't manipulate the files (and a couple of them even keep the filename). Oh, and don't go to http://tinypic.com/ since they're PhotoBucket as well.

v12mike wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:46 pm
a script ... into new database tables ... another script ... fetches each image from photobucket
To make it more versatile I suggest the first script being able to just hand out a list (speak: text file) of all URIs (one per line), so it can be used with any download software.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:41 am
by Stoppen
Well it's not only donwloading the files. It's also the process of storing them somewhere else and more importantly, changes the links in the posts.

I'm serious, I would pay money for a tool or scripts that can automate this process. Think of the millions of topics that became useless by Photobucket and their ransom crime.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:02 am
by AmigoJack
Since I'm one administrator at a picture board I already came across situations like these before:
  • picture hosters delete uploads without a given pattern
  • picture hosters cease to exist
  • board members get banned and as a revenge action they deleted their picture hoster galleries/accounts, so linked pictures in our board vanish as well
...and because of this I do backups from time to time by downloading all linked pictures (currently 6 TiB). Restoring them was also done successfully once, which includes:
  • finding the pictures in question in the backup (you need to associate them to the board post, and each picture URI to its filename on disk)
  • uploading the pictures to a different hoster (automated, of course)
  • patching each post by replacing each old picture's URI with the new one (without destroying any optional text in the post)
In your case I'm not sure how to download your pictures at all when they aren't displayed in the first place - maybe even access to your account is needed for that.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:18 am
by v12mike
I have uploaded my scripts to extract and download photobucket-hosted in-line images at: https://github.com/v12mike/fetch-external-images

Try these at your own risk.

I have run these scripts on 2 forums, downloading about 20,000 and 15,000 image files.

The scripts create local image files which are named as the md5 of the original url, this allows easy redirection of links without needing extra database accesses at run-time.

On my 2 forums, the local images are now being served with a modified version of the camoimageproxy extension. I intend to upload that after it is tidied up.

The database tables created by these scripts would however allow several other schemes for serving or redirecting the forum image links.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:24 pm
by v12mike
I have updated the scripts on github, the extraction script now catalogues and downloads all external image files, not just photobucket. The download script now does not follow redirects, and does not save very small files (which are usually failure notices). There are also a couple of bug fixes.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:41 am
by mainevette
Thanks for uploading the script, it worked like a charm. I was able to successfully download about 1,700 image files - mostly from photobucket.

I'm an amateur at this stuff so it took me a few minutes to figure out the files are downloaded without an extension but I definitely couldn't have done this without your help.

Now it's just a matter of getting these local image files served on my board in place of the old links to photobucket. Looking forward to hearing more about what you came up with for a solution on that.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:55 am
by Stoppen
Agree, that would be very interesting. Downoading the files to local storage is obviously the first step, but now we have to update the links on our board.

Re: Images Hijacked by Photobucket?

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:01 pm
by Holger
This is why I absolutely encourage my users to upload the images to our servers.
Either the terms and conditions changes or those sites go tits up.

We even have a script (a button that shows up at every post if there are external images) for moderators and admins to click on. That script/button transfers external images to our Servers, updates the post with the new Image location and adds a tiny line below the image showing the original location.