PhishTank Is Here

PhishTank launched today. PhishTank is a site designed to make keeping tabs on phishing sites easier. If you come across a phishing site while browsing the web, you’re encouraged to submit the URL to PhishTank.

PhishTank is a collaborative clearing house for data and information about phishing on the Internet. Also, PhishTank provides an open API for developers and researchers to integrate anti-phishing data into their applications at no charge.

PhishTank is operated by OpenDNS. OpenDNS opened their services to the public earlier this year to much fanfare. David Ulevitch and crew have done an amazing job with OpenDNS, I expect the same from PhishTank.

PhishTank does not provide protection against phishing sites, they simple store phishing related data. OpenDNS does protect against phishing though. OpenDNS and PhishTank go hand in hand. OpenDNS blocks access to phishing sites that are in the PhishTank database. Here’s a little piece from the OpenDNS FAQ about reporting phishing sites:

The fight against phishing isn’t just for the banks and big companies to tackle; you can help. Right now, we encourage submission of possible phishing sites via our contact form. Nothing will be blocked unless it’s verified.

Later this summer, we will introduce PhishTank.com, a free community site, with API, which will serve as a collaborative clearing house for data and information about phishing and malware on the Internet.


PhishTank will no doubt prove to be a valuable resource for the internet security community. Now, users of OpenDNS can basically control what sites are deemed “phishing” sites by making use of PhishTank. This was one of the main gripes people had with OpenDNS initially. There was no method to show what sites were flagged as phishing sites. Let there be transparency!

Dreamhost Has A Slow Network

The issues I spoke about in Poor Site Performance probably aren’t related to any content within this site, as I had previously thought. It’s more likely related to the shabby state of Dreamhosts network.

I am now blaming the Dreamhost network for the poor performance of this site for the following reasons.

1. Intermittence:
This one is simple. Sometimes single posts will load in a snap. Other times they take up to 30 seconds to display. Same with the index page, archives, about, and contact pages. The contact and about pages are relatively void of content. There’s really no reason for slowness or lag when loading those pages, there’s not much info to display there.

2. Other Pages: Other pages at the longren.org domain also load slow at times. Take Mint for example. The Mint dashboard fails to load or loads very slowly when this blog is also responding very slowly. It takes up to a minute to refresh some very basic peppers from within Mint.

3. MySQL Is Usually OK: If I’m not mistaken, Dreamhost has it’s MySQL databases on separate servers. In other words, a machine that serves http requests doesn’t server MySQL data at the same time, another entirely separate box would handle the MySQL responses. My thought here is that Dreamhost might have their MySQL serving machines on a different network entirely, one that might not be having issues the rest of their network is experiencing. I could be way off here though, entirely speculation.

The Dreamhost Status site has been unavailable for most of the day. There’s normally a blog hosted there. Currently, there’s simply a few paragraphs of text explaining the current situation:

Network downtime Monday Night (09/11)
Monday night, we will upgrading our core networking equipment, which will result in some downtime of all services lasting approximately 30-45 minutes.
We’re expecting this to put an end to the network problems that were created by the power outages about a month ago..
– Sep. 8, 2006 3:30 p.m.

Oops! Temporary Status Site
We had a little goof and this will be our status site until the other machine can be resuscitated.
– Sep. 8, 2006 11:40 a.m.

So, as you can see, they’re relating this to the downtime experienced a month or so back when a generator caught fire. Hopefully the work they do on this coming Monday will fix the issues we’ve been having. It’s getting real old, real quick. Couldn’t happen at a worse time too, this site is starting to grow by great leaps and bounds. Hopefully growth won’t be affected by this poor performance.

UPDATE: This site was unreachable for about 12 hours lastnight/this morning. Here’s some new items that have been posted to dreamhoststatus.com:

Wilmington Failed Over
Wilmingtons second network card, which carries internet traffic, decided to give up the ghost. The server is on shiny new hardware now and websites are already starting to serve again. Our apologies for the downtime.
– Sep. 9, 2006 1:24 p.m.

Web Control Panel Issue Resolved
The network issues causing slowness for the web control panel for the web control panel have now been resolved. The network overall is more responsive and we will continue to make minor changes to keep everything working as well as possible. The major maintenance on Monday night will be essentially a complete replacement and upgrade of one of our core routers. In the meantime, we have been re-routing as much of our network traffic as possible through our other core router to improve overall performance.
– Sep. 9, 2006 2:48 a.m.

Web Control Panel Slowness
The network issues are also causing problems with the Web Control Panel for several users. We are looking into this and hope to have everything restored shortly.
– Sep. 8, 2006 8:56 p.m.

Network Problems Today
We have been experiencing Network Problems today. These problems are the same problems that have actually been happening since we first reported problems with our network. Unfortunately these problems have gotten worse today and are causing a majority of the downtime and slowness issues you are reporting today. These problems, and our attempts at fixing them, have been an ongoing effort. The maintenance Monday Night will be a big step towards resolving these problems completely. We are currently working on the network and all servers having problems and hope to improve the situation soon. Sorry about the downtime, we hope to have this all resolved soon.
– Sep. 8, 2006 5:45 p.m.

OpenDNS System Status

It looks like OpenDNS is about to launch a “System Status” section of their website. Check out http://system.opendns.com/. I don’t know if this page is supposed to be live to the public yet, but what the hell.

Once you navigate to that page, you’ll see a status summary of the OpenDNS network. It looks like there’s gonna be a “mini blog” type of thing there too, probably mostly for making updates about outages or other problems. The “Testing” link you see in the image below is what leads me to believe there’s gonna be a separate “status” blog on that page.
OpenDNS_SystemStatus
There’s also a newer post at the OpenDNS blog about how they learn about phishing sites. I think they made that post in part due to one of my earlier posts on OpenDNS. 🙂

And boy how I wish I lived in San Francisco (well, not really). OpenDNS is currently looking for a Debian system administrator. Personally though, I’ve touched Debian once or twice. I can’t imagine leaving my beloved Slackware.

Oh, and I found the system.opendns.com site via my WordPress dashboard. system.opendns.com was listed as an incoming link from Technorati.

Flickr: Unexpected Downtime

The main Flickr site is down, but it looks like all of the relatively new photos are still showing without problems. They had a “temporary storage failure”, which affected about 20 terabytes of older photos. That’s a freakin amazing amount of photos. And to add to that, they’re transferring that 20 terabytes from one of their datacenters to another, a few thousand miles away. That’s some serious data transfer right there, but probably not a whole lot more than Flickr sees on a normal day.

It sounds like they’re gonna be bringing the site back online shortly, just so they’re “up”. They say some photos will be “unavailable”. Those photos will show up once they’ve all made it to the other datacenter. Here’s an update from the Flickr blog:

UPDATE [4:59pm, pacific time (GMT-8)]: Weather report – everything is still cool. We’re going to try to bring the site back online shortly (there will still be photos which appear as unavailable, and they will gradually fill in – no need to do anything on your part, dear user).

In the meantime, Flickr is running a contest. All you need to do is print the circles seen temporarily on the flickr homepage, color them in some neat way, and upload back to flickr once it’s back up. If your “coloring” gets picked you’ll get a free Flickr Pro account:

Because this sucks*, we thought you might like to enter an impromptu competition to win a FREE PRO ACCOUNT!

Just print out this page and colour in the dots. When the site’s back up, take a photo of your creation and post it to Flickr, tagged with “flickrcolourcontest”.

Team Flickr will pick a winner in the next couple of days, and that lucky duck will get a free year of Pro.

I won’t be participating as I purchased my pro account quite some time ago. I miss you Flickr! Please come back soon, I got some new photos for ya!

UPDATE: Looks like they’re having some issues with bringing the site back online, but the photos are still nice and safe:

UPDATE 2 [5:52pm, pacific time (GMT-8)]: We’ve had some issues bringing the site back online without this storage system but everything is still quite safe and we are working hard to get back as soon as humanly possible. One thousand apologies!

UPDATE 2: Looks like Flickr is back.