Sunday, January 11, 2009

Save SoapBlox

(For the full story and the donation link, go to Open Left)

This is important, particularly for FLA Politics, which is run on SoapBlox, as well as many other important blogs across the country. Help out if you can.

You know how some politicians are fond of saying "you can't solve a problem by just throwing money at it." Well, here is a problem you can solve by throwing money at it. Send in a contribution to save Soapblox now!.

Why is Soapblox Important?

Soapblox is an inexpensive, community-building content management platform developed by Paul Preston and currently used by over 100 progressive blogs. For only $15 / month, Soapblox has offered most of the features available on sites like Daily Kos and MyDD: user diaries, recommended diaries, promoted diaries, interactive comments, comment ratings, tip jars, and even things like quick hits. It is a lot of functionality for not much price, making it ideal for independent, progressive, grassroots media. As such, it has been adopted by about 90% of the fifty-state blog network, and also by several national sites including Pam's House Blend, My Left Wing, Swing State Project, and my own Open Left. Collectively, the blogs on Soapblox received over 50,000,000 page views in 2008, and provided a huge percentage of the state-level, local politics coverage in the progressive blogosphere.

Why Is Soapblox in Danger?

On Wednesday morning, Soapblox was hacked to within an inch of its life. A quarter of all Soapblox sites went completely offline, and their databases were gone. Most others were threatened, as My Left Wing and Open Left temporarily lost all of their diaries. The hackers were in so deep, that Paul temporarily threw in the towel and declared defeat. Dozens of bloggers that I knew were all frantically emailing each other. Desperate attempts were made to try and copy all of our data before The End. At one point I was, literally, running up and down the stairs in my apartment building freaking out, as there are few things I fear more than my website's content being wiped out. It was an impending blog apocalypse, where the entire archive and operation of over 100 blogs were almost wiped off the Internet with no hope of return.

As the day went on, through a lot of effort Soapblox was able to fend off the attack, save all data, and restore full service. However, the threat remains.

How To Solve The Problem

Here is what Soapblox needs in the immediate short-term to become safe and secure once again:

--Recharge ten servers
--Perform a full security audit of the SoapBlox server/unix infrastructure to prevent hackers from gaining access
--Ensure all backup process are working and functional to guarantee that if hacking happens, data is preserved
--Perform a security audit on the SoapBlox code itself so that hackers cannot exploit the SoapBlox code itself.
--Migrate to new, secure servers

The good news is that, in addition to restoring full service for Soapblox, Paul has already found a system administrator who lives in his area and is able to help. All of the work listed above is currently underway. Here is what it will cost:

--Recharging ten servers at $100 apiece: $1,000
--Purchasing new, secure severs, and migrating the data: $8,000
--One month of full-time work at $50 / hour in order to complete all of the tasks listed above: $8,400

So, for a total of $17,400, we can secure Soapblox, and ensure that yesterday's dangerous attack can never be replicated. Let's make this happen. Save Soapblox and secure online progressive media. Contribute today.

Read more and contribute now!

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