Posts by TJM

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1) Message boards : News : Planned maintenance on April 18th (Message 4178)
Posted 137 days ago by Profile TJM
And you've just quoted a spammer, which is deleted already. Now I have to edit your post to remove his stupid link :D
2) Message boards : Bug reports : Unable to change or fix profile (Message 4112)
Posted 185 days ago by Profile TJM
Fixed, the button was gone because I upgraded recaptcha lib to the latest code and it was incompatible with the recaptcha calls in create_profile.php

For now I removed recaptcha from profile creation page, as it requires non-zero RAC which is better protection anyway.
3) Message boards : Bug reports : SSL Certificate (Message 4111)
Posted 185 days ago by Profile TJM
It will take some time to implement SSL here. I'll probably use let's encrypt certificate, but I need to do a few tricks to maintain compatibility with older clients. This is a project with one of the lowest hardware requirements (the app itself requires less resources than BOINC core client) and there are many very old clients attached (even from the 5.x era), which probably won't handle ssl at all or won't support let's encrypt certificate.

My plan is:
- redirect web browsers to https for all webpages
- redirect 7.x clients to ssl url of scheduler/file_upload_handler while leaving original scheduler url not changed
- leave the original scheduler url untouched, for older clients.
- download directory will probably still use plain http

It will however take some time to get a working config, as it requires lots of testing.
4) Message boards : Bug reports : SSL Certificate (Message 4098)
Posted 207 days ago by Profile TJM
I have no idea if https setup is possible with my current config. Since the early days the BOINC server is hidden behind another server, which acts like a proxy and load balancer. It handles some stuff (static files) on it's own and the rest is forwarded to the BOINC server via two VPNs.
Now the question is, where would I have to install the certificate. I think it would work installed just on the frontend server but I've never tested a setup like this so I'm not sure.

Also, are there any cheap and reliable ssl certificates ? My budget is limited.
5) Message boards : News : Work generator paused (Message 4093)
Posted 210 days ago by Profile TJM
It looks like your Windows host is set to request no new work from the project.
6) Message boards : News : Recent changes in account creation (Message 4076)
Posted 216 days ago by Profile TJM
Good idea. (Even though it does lead me to wonder why someone would be on that list if they're active enough to have credit....)

Some of the emails used by spammers are probably stolen or just randomly used by spammers (BOINC projects do not verify emails by defaut*), so there is a slight chance that legitimate email will somehow end up on blacklists.

As an aside: "I don't know if this is related, but...": I've notice that, while logged in, the forum now doesn't necessarily mark a thread as read after I click on it.

Does that change if you hit F5 ?

I think the board does not mark a thread as read if there were any posts removed from the thread, newer than the current last post (spam). It should be relatively easy to fix.

* - I'm considering another patch to the server, to add email validation / account activation for all new accounts by default. It won't stop spammers from registering, as they actually do check their garbage emails for links to click (checked that already). But it'll stop them from using stolen or random emails.
7) Message boards : News : Work generator paused (Message 4075)
Posted 216 days ago by Profile TJM
Most probably it's a 'resend' result, because the work generator is still paused. It's been running only for a couple of minutes during tests.

There is a flaw in workunit distribution which I have to figure out. The workunit queue was modified long time ago so the server could automagically boost priority for any single WU that meets certain criteria (for example, any result returned with high score will be sent again with higher priority); when there are too many high priority WUs the queue slowly gets flooded with them and after a while the server can't pick any more data to send. I've been resetting the priorities every now and then, but recently the problem got worse.
8) Message boards : News : Recent changes in account creation (Message 4068)
Posted 218 days ago by Profile TJM
As everyone may have already noticed, the project has been heavily hit by spammers. For the last weeks I've been fighting with up to 10k registrations per day, mostly just empty accounts which were created for unknown reasons (very few of them actually posted anything on forums or created profile/spam team).
I've been looking into possible ways to filter out the spammers right where they start (registration) and after looking at a few of possible solutions, I made a patch for the BOINC server to use StopForumSpam databases. For now, the server does not allow access to registration script from any IP listed in SFS db and it also refuses to create account with email address which is blacklisted there. This immediately filtered out more than 99,9% of new accounts, the rest is reviewed manually and eventually spammers that slipped through registration are reported back to the SFS.

There is also a daemon scriptwhich runs in background, randomly picking account and checking it against the blacklists, all accounts registered with blacklisted email address will be gone sooner or later together with any team and/or profile they have created (the script works very slowly, checking one account every few minutes, as I dont want to stress the SFS API which is a great free service).
The script won't touch anyone who has any credits or even hosts attached, so legitimate accounts should be safe even if someone has their email blacklisted.
9) Message boards : News : Work generator paused (Message 4067)
Posted 218 days ago by Profile TJM
Recently the work generator has been paused because the server needs extended database maintenance (there is a significant amount of workunits stuck in unknown state, which affect performance).
I'm also running data analysis on all the results returned so far, the process eats a lot of resources so probably the work generator will remain stopped until the data analysis is done.
10) Message boards : Bug reports : Spammers (Message 3475)
Posted 651 days ago by Profile TJM
Sorry guys, since I started working at the local hospital I barely had the time to keep the server running. Recently thing were even worse because I'm struggling with personal problems. I hope I'll be able to return to active development in a few weeks.
11) Message boards : Number crunching : Rasp Pi? (Message 3350)
Posted 761 days ago by Profile TJM
There is an app for Raspberry, but it's slow. Running 24/7 it can go through up to 3-4 workunits/day with average credits/day 90-120 (depends on CPU clock).
12) Message boards : Number crunching : My top scores (Message 3338)
Posted 777 days ago by Profile TJM
I put it on my to-do list.
13) Message boards : Number crunching : Latest decrypt stats? (Message 3328)
Posted 787 days ago by Profile TJM
Yep, the assimilator is posting directly to the database without using forum scripts.
Until today it was not updating thread's timestamp field.
14) Message boards : Number crunching : Latest decrypt stats? (Message 3325)
Posted 788 days ago by Profile TJM
If you'd like to look at top results list, the server posts them here, it works almost in realtime:

Only unique results are listed there.

I can also make a sql dump of top <n>% of the highest scoring unique results if you like.

15) Message boards : Bug reports : Spammers (Message 3173)
Posted 1014 days ago by Profile TJM
It still doesn't seem fixed.

Yep, I noticed. I'll review the code again, it should block users with no host attached from posting URL tags.

Maybe you could block it for accounts under 30 days old

It won't work, they're smart enough to register accounts first and then use them at later time.

16) Message boards : Number crunching : Unable to reset the account password (Message 3172)
Posted 1014 days ago by Profile TJM
Yahoo blacklisted my mail server for reason unknown to me.

Failed to deliver to [EMAIL HIDDEN]
SMTP module(domain reports:
return-path address <> rejected by
421 4.7.1 [TS03] All messages from will be permanently deferred; Retrying will NOT succeed. See

I'll reset your password manually.
17) Message boards : Bug reports : Spammers (Message 3160)
Posted 1020 days ago by Profile TJM
I'm going to block [url] tag for accounts with no hosts attached.

It seems that this is not working:

Yep, I found a bug, hopefully it's fixed now.
18) Message boards : Bug reports : Spammers (Message 3113)
Posted 1042 days ago by Profile TJM

Whats on with the work generator and the transitioner? After Pentathlon all broken?

The work generator is listed as stopped/paused because I changed the way it works, so it's now partially incompatible with server_status (and it has been like that for quite some time).

The transitioner stops due to an unknown bug, it crashes on certain WUs which have app_version_id assigned to an app for which the host that returned the WU has no record in the host_app_version table. I have no idea how it is possible, I suspect that it might be a bug in the server code version I use here. And yes, it usually happens during or after races or other events.

19) Message boards : Bug reports : Spammers (Message 3112)
Posted 1042 days ago by Profile TJM
It seems that a good solution to protect the forums from spam would be for the project admin to enable or configure some of the built-in protections mechanisms: I particularly like the Akismet system which allows users to post even if they have no credit, which could be helpful to someone having trouble getting started.

It just does not work. Akismet didn't work at all so I switched it off (we have the same problem at Radioactive@Home, akismet is still enabled there yet every few days we have spam wave coming in).
Recaptcha limits the number of spam accounts, but some of them are still able to register. I highly suspect they're not bots, but actually humans hired to post this crap.

I'm going to block [url] tag for accounts with no hosts attached.
20) Message boards : News : New M4 batch - U-534 P1030680 (Message 3055)
Posted 1047 days ago by Profile TJM
There is no way to know if the solution will be found before exhausting the assigned workspace. Each walk through the keyspace has some chances to break the message.
Until the message is broken, no one knows how many walks (on average) are needed to break the message. It might as well be unbreakable using hillclimb alone.

Also, number of workunits validated per hour (from server_status) cannot be used to estimate batch runtime, as the WUs do not have the same lenght. The longest WU type is more than 4 times longer than the shortest one. This graphs shows more accurate data:

(live data)

During the recent Pentathlon event the average project speed peaked at nearly 21k WUs per hour, which is roughly 10 full keyspace walks per day:

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