This Board Has Been Disabled

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Big-Jim
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This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Big-Jim »

A week ago I had to leave town and I just got home late this afternoon. When I left town my forum was working just fine. When I got home and had a minute to access my forum, it had a message saying the board was disabled. I was able to login as the Admin and I discovered that the forum had been disabled thru the Admin Control Panel. But I didn't disable it. The only other person who has Admin privileges and therefore capable of disabling the forum, is on vacation. So it is highly unlikely he would have done it, assuming he knew how to disable it, which he doesn't. But even if he figured out how to do it, he would still have no reason to disable it, and besides that, if he did disable it he would have sent me an email and told me he did it and why he did it.

Is it possible someone could have hacked into the forum somehow and gotten my password? My password is not even a word, it is just several letters put together to "make up" a word so if anyone used some sort of hacking program to try different dictionary words, or even if the hacking program tries different combinations of letters, it would never be able to come up with the exact letters to match my password.

That being said, I seriously doubt anyone could hack my password, but then, how did the forum get disabled? Is it possible someone hacked the server and then downloaded one of the files from the phpBB folder and learned my password that way? Or is there another way someone could have gotten my password? Or, is there another way to disable a phpBB forum without needing a password?

I know that when you upgrade to a newer version of phpBB you upload the installer and when you do that, you get the the same message, "the forum is disabled", but when you rename the installer that message no longer appears. But that wasn't the case, this was disabled in the Admin Control panel.

Any comments, ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by _Vinny_ »

After returning to your forum, your password remains the same?

The phpBB can be disabled by the ACP or the database.

Check the logs of the administration, the time that you was out, what were the changes made in the forum and who made ​​the change.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Pony99CA »

On the Load settings page, what value do you have for Limit system load? If it's not zero, your board will become disabled when the limit is reached. (I found this out during a DDOS on my board.)

To confirm that, what is the exact message that you're seeing? The admin will see "Information: This board is currently disabled." A normal user will see "Sorry but the board is temporarily unavailable, please try again in a few minutes." The standard disable message doesn't say to try again.

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Big-Jim
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Big-Jim »

I went into "Load Settings" and it was set to "0".

When I logged in as Admin I got the message - "Information: This board is currently disabled."

I checked in the Admin Log and there are no entries other than my own.

When I logged in I used my normal password and it worked just fine.

Once I was logged in, I went to the ACP and then into "Board Settings" and where it says "Disable Board" the "Yes" box was checked. So I just checked the "No" box and the forum was up and running again. But the thing is, when I left town a week ago the forum was working just fine because I checked to see if it OK before I left. I went to the site, didn't log in or anything, just made sure it was up and running. So I know for certain there was not a problem when I left. In fact, I know it had to be working for at least part of the time I was gone because when I got back home and was able to check, there were 13 posts waiting for approval, all of which were spam so I disapproved them.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Danielx64 »

I hate to say this, but I think you may have been hacked but I can't be sure on that.
ReadMe Before Posting / Frequently Asked Questions wrote: My board has been hacked, what do I do?
Please do the following before making any modifications to your board (this includes changing passwords, editing files, running the admin toolkit, etc.):
1) Save a copy of the files (simply create a local copy of the files on the server).
2) Save a copy of the database.
3) Save the server access logs for the time of the hack (they may be available in the 'logs' directory on the server, in your host's control panel or only by request directly from your host).
4) File a report in the incident tracker. Attach the items from steps 1-3 when you file the report or upload them to a secure location for the incident investigation team to download. Please do not start a new topic on the board, the proper place for incidents reports is the tracker.
Please note that I will not be porting any of my mods to phpBB 3.1. Sorry for the inconvenience this may cause.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

there is no reason to believe it has been hacked. why in the world would a hacker break in and just disable the board? what would be the point?

check with your host and see if they made any changes while you were gone.

maybe they had to restore from a backup or something, or maybe they upgraded some server software or something.

somebody, somewhere had to do this. this would not change by itself.

so if you didn't do it and your other admin didn't do it ( that is who I would contact first ) and you haven't been hacked ( what would be the point? ) then that only leaves your host making some type of change somewhere.
or, maybe the aliens or a ghost got in .... :twisted: :geek:


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Big-Jim
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Big-Jim »

The other Admin will be home, probably this weekend, Monday at the latest. I have no way of contacting him until he gets home. Doesn't really matter though, since I got home I have a million things to do and getting to the bottom of this mystery is not real high on my list of priorities. It probably should be pretty high on the list, but the forum is working fine and the wife is on my case to get the other things done, so if I don't want to end up on her "you know what" list, I need to get some of the chores done she has laid on for me to do.

I will leave a message for the other Admin to contact me as soon as he gets home. I doubt he did anything, but if by some chance he did do something, it should have been noted in the Admin Log. Once I hear from him, and I am absolutely certain he didn't do anything, I will contact the company that runs the server to see if they anything that may have caused the problem. I am not real sure what they could have possibly done which would cause the forum to become disabled, but who knows? Maybe it really is possible for them to cause it. The funny part is, I could understand it if the forum were totally screwed up. Maybe they did an upgrade and it did not go well and it screwed up all sorts of stuff. That would be understandable. But for them to do something and cause the forum to become disabled is something that is way beyond me. I cannot imagine anything they could possibly do that would cause that to happen.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by KevC »

Have you looked in the admin logs?

Admin panel
maintenance tab

If the board is disabled or enabled through the admin panel it will show the user that did it, the time and the function will show as 'Altered board settings'.
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Big-Jim
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Big-Jim »

Kevin Clark wrote:Have you looked in the admin logs?

Admin panel
maintenance tab

If the board is disabled or enabled through the admin panel it will show the user that did it, the time and the function will show as 'Altered board settings'.
I looked at the Admin Logs and there are no entries during the time I was gone. That is one of the reasons why I do not think the other Admin did it. The other reason is because I really don't think he knows how to disable the board. See, I take care of the forum on a routine basis. He is an Admin but he doesn't really do anything with the forum as long as I am around to handle it. If I am gone out of town, he will approve posts for new members, remove any post that is spam, stuff like that. But he doesn't get very involved with anything else on the forum.

This particular time, it just happened that we were both gone at the same time, at least part of the same time. I left July 29th and came home August 4th, he left August 1st and will be home this weekend, or possibly not until Monday. But he took a laptop with him, so it is conceivably possible he did something to the forum, but I would think if he did, it should show up in the Admin Logs. Since there is nothing in the Admin Logs I have to assume he did not do anything to the forum.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Danielx64 »

Is there anything there to show that the admin log have been cleared?
Please note that I will not be porting any of my mods to phpBB 3.1. Sorry for the inconvenience this may cause.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Big-Jim »

*Daniel wrote:Is there anything there to show that the admin log have been cleared?
Not really. There is a list of things that were done, and the list dates back to before I left town, but according to the log nothing was done while I was gone. Is it possible that something was done and then only that particular action was deleted from the Admin Log? The Admin Log does not show anything was done while I was away, but if someone was able to do something and then edit the Admin Log file, that would explain it. Is something like that even possible?
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Pony99CA »

Big-Jim wrote:The Admin Log does not show anything was done while I was away, but if someone was able to do something and then edit the Admin Log file, that would explain it. Is something like that even possible?
Of course it's possible. However, the phpBB log isn't kept in a log file; it's kept in the log table in the phpBB database. If your other admin has access to your server, he could use phpMyAdmin to delete records from that table.

If he doesn't have access to the server, there's no way to do that, though. Clearing the Admin log (or any log, I believe) leaves a message in the Admin log saying who did the clearing. Trying to clear that message leaves another clearing message.

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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Big-Jim »

The other Admin finally made it home. He says he did not do ANYTHING to the forum. In fact, he didn't even access it while he was away. So that rules out his having done something to disable it. Tomorrow I will contact the server people and ask them if they have done anything which may have caused the problem. I highly doubt they could do anything that would just disable the forum. I am sure they could do something that would completely screw it up, but just to disable it, I just don't see that as happening. But then again, I don't really know for sure so I will contact them and find out.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Big-Jim »

According to the people who run the server, they have not done anything other than routine server maintenance during the time I was gone. I guess I may never know what caused the problem. Maybe it was just a freak glitch somewhere. Everything is working perfectly fine now so I am not too worried about it. Still, it would be nice to know for sure just what caused the problem, but I really don't think that is going to happen.
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Re: This Board Has Been Disabled

Post by Pony99CA »

Just in case it was a stupid hacker, you might want to change your admin password (and have the other admin change his). You might also want to upload fresh copies of the phpBB files.

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