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Thread: Why are my images from Photobucket, ImageShack etc. copied to milsurps.com?

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    Question Why are my images from Photobucket, ImageShack etc. copied to milsurps.com?

    Answer: For your own protection and to help preserve them for future research by all members ...



    The reason we capture and store all externally linked pics on our own servers is to protect our members from viruses that can be embedded in pics that they aren't even aware of, which may have been inherited from their external image host provider. As an example, Imageshack, a well known public host site for pics, was recently attacked by a virus. The virus they got was adding to pics stored on their servers a hidden feature called XSS (cross site scripting) flaw, which executes first some hidden code on the user's computer and then shows the image. Since this technique can be pretty harmful and rapidly propagate itself across the Internet infecting even more computers, images should never be hot-linked from other sites. Unfortunately, often to save money in bandwidth costs or server storage costs, virtually every site on the Internet permits users to do that, which places everyone using those sites in danger of picking up a virus.

    Other web site gun communities such as Cast Boolits are encouraging their members to upload and store images on their own server. By the way, Milsurps.Com members have been able to do that for years using the Members Photo Gallery, in order to create their own photo albums for referencing. Cast Boolits have placed restrictions on the number of images that can be stored, for example, regular free members get to host 15 images on the Cast Boolits server.

    We think this approach solves the problem, but is highly punitive to members, making it difficult to quickly share research pics in posts and would probably cause a lot of members to simply not bother posting their images at all, since they'd have to go through yet another upload process to our server, different than the one they currently have their images stored on.

    So, we've opted for different approach, which although is more expensive for us to operate, is virtually transparent to our members.

    All images whether uploaded directly, or linked to indirectly from other Internet web sites by members, are hosted and stored on the Milsurps.Com internal server. You may have read in your registration agreement with us that you agreed to the following:

    By sharing any contribution (including any text, photographs, graphics, video or audio) with us you agree to grant us, free of charge, an unrestricted license in perpetuity with permission to use the material in any way within this site and with due acknowledgment (including modifying or deleting it). In order that we can use your contribution, you confirm that your contribution is your own original work, is not defamatory and does not infringe any copyright laws and that you have the right to give us permission to use it for the purposes specified above.
    Essential what happens is that when a member posts a link to an image on another site, we have a built-in programming function that reads, processes, validates (checks for viruses) and converts all linked images to JPG format, additionally re-sizing the image files to no larger than 1024x768 pixels. The process then takes the captured images and stores them internally on our own servers for viewing by all other members. For the technically minded out there, the function we use isn't like a browser and thus can't execute any potential embedded virus code (CURL or sockets aren't browsers either), so if a linked image arrives which contains Java, HTML or any other incompatible image format, it discards the processed pics altogether as an "invalid" image, thereby protecting our members by omission.

    Why no larger than 1024x768 pixels in size? Quite simply, even at that level pics can be HUGE, taking up a lot of the available screen footprint and to be honest, with the typical resolution of most computer screens today, the details lost in a pic at 1024x768 pixels (small 300 kilobyte filesize - 300,000 characters) versus a 1024x768 pixels (huge 3 megabyte filesize - 3,000,000 characters) would be negligible to the naked eye. This combined with the obvious time (even with high speed Internet service) it takes for someone to download and view multiple HUGE images of the latter size in any post, makes it an easy choice to automatically re-size images to a smaller filesize without losing any significant value

    Besides this dynamic real time process of handling images, we also run daily a virus/malware scan of our entire server, just to ensure that whatever is stored that our members access, doesn't contain any viruses, or other nasty mal-ware, that can get passed on. Although no amount measures we take can be completely fool proof and guarantee a 100% safe environment, we believe this combination of tools and custom coding permits our members to enjoy one of the safest firearms related sites on the Internet, plus when combined with virus scanning software on their own local computers that everyone should be employing, it permits our members the greatest freedom and flexibility to post content and images without excessive worry.

    One thing that members need to be aware of when using their own local virus scanning software is the existence of false positives which pop-up from time to time. Microsoft IE6 (very dangerous security exposures) and IE7 have some issues which may cause them to read some site Java code erroneously, when combined with Norton utilities can cause these false positives sometimes.

    There you go ….

    For those of you who have been asking why your images hosted on PhotoBucket, Flickr, Imageshack or other external providers end up stored locally on our servers, that's the main reason why. There is an added benefit in that it ensures the maintenance of images being available in posts for posterity. There are a lot of people who take out free 30 day trials to store their images on public servers, put links to images referencing them in their posts here, then walk away from the free trial. The result is that the host provider deletes the images at the end of the trial and membership here see nothing but blank images. It often turns posts into nonsensical threads without meaning and I don't know why people continue to do this to other members, but at least with our capturing of the external images in real time, there should no more useless threads down the road.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask …

    Regards,
    Doug
    Last edited by Badger; 02-07-2013 at 03:22 PM.

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    So, that means I don't have to worry about losing image links in old posts if I reorganize photos in photobucket? (Boy, that would make life ever so much easier!)

    i've never been able to utilize your gallery function, possibly due to restrictions on this end, as I don't have my own computer, still!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmoore View Post
    So, that means I don't have to worry about losing image links in old posts if I reorganize photos in photobucket? (Boy, that would make life ever so much easier!)

    i've never been able to utilize your gallery function, possibly due to restrictions on this end, as I don't have my own computer, still!
    Yes Sir ...

    As long as you don't move them within approximately 10 minutes from the time you first link to them.

    That's a rough guess based upon the typical cycle of the cron job stream that scavenges the forums to handle this safety process.

    Regards,
    Doug

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    test:



    ---------- Post added at 01:14 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:11 AM ----------

    Above is control image-no changes anticipated.

    Test 2:


    Image to be deleted in photobucket. (ETA: note that the link was broken, but was restored when the image was returned to it's old album. No getting rid of it now! See following posts. Sorry for any confusion.)
    Last edited by jmoore; 06-04-2011 at 09:41 AM. Reason: follow up

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    Failed test 2 after about 2 hours cooking, but at night...do your computers take a nap? Also the site was off line for a couple of hours early this AM, mebbe the test was too blame??? Surely not!

    ---------- Post added at 06:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:04 AM ----------

    Image actually not deleted but moved and edited- again all after, well, an hour and fifteen minutes after posting.

    "Trust but verify"- my cautious nature at work!

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    First, thanks for being proactive on this. I have wondered how long it would be before those free photo hosting site were used to transmit virus. Most folks don't know those sights are not private and your photo stored the can be accessed by anyone. I have over 4000 images stored on my commercial pay site that i have used for over 10 years. and I sure would want some one to infect those. They can only be accessed by me. They have had antivirus protection for years. Off course nothing is perfect and the system can be broached by the determined.

    Has the source of the virus attack be found at Imageshack? One report said it was as the result of the advertisers trying insert ad code in linkages.

    You might want to recheck your facts about Cast Boolits. They are not blocking images from out side sources, but have opened their own hosting site. They still allow outside hosted pictures.

    I usually read use agreements pretty closely and missed the part in your agreement about free use of my work. Will you new soft ware wash my watermark if I use it? I certainly had no intention of surrendering ownership of my work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmoore View Post
    test
    Ahhh .... I didn't bother turning on the anti-virus import software for this forum since it's a transient announcement kind of environment, as opposed to a research forum.

    I never thought anyone would want to use it as a test thread ...

    Anyway, as if this moment, it's now turned ON for these announcement "help" type threads and you should see results of your tests ...

    By the way, since your original PhotoBucket test image doesn't exist and gets a response from them "Page not found", there's nothing for the anti-virus import software to do except show PhotoBucket's default "missing" pic. If it couldn't find that or there was some other anomaly in an external host reponse, then it would use an internal default pic that looks like this:



    Regards,
    Doug
    Last edited by Badger; 03-03-2011 at 10:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDoubleD View Post
    First, thanks for being proactive on this. I have wondered how long it would be before those free photo hosting site were used to transmit virus. Most folks don't know those sights are not private and your photo stored the can be accessed by anyone. I have over 4000 images stored on my commercial pay site that i have used for over 10 years. and I sure would want some one to infect those. They can only be accessed by me. They have had antivirus protection for years. Off course nothing is perfect and the system can be broached by the determined.
    You're welcome ... was a little expensive for a "free" not-for-profit site to hire an external contractor to code this, but I'd prefer to be safe than sorry in handling the content members share so graciously with each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDoubleD View Post
    Has the source of the virus attack be found at Imageshack? One report said it was as the result of the advertisers trying insert ad code in linkages.
    I've heard a lot of different stories, but the developer who works on our behalf said it was a pretty serious breach of their environment and nobody really knows the result of the damage done. I would assume they plugged the hole, but you do have to wonder about the nature of this kind of virus attach, since most people assume large commercial sites are safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDoubleD View Post
    You might want to recheck your facts about Cast Boolits. They are not blocking images from out side sources, but have opened their own hosting site. They still allow outside hosted pictures.
    Will do....

    Perhaps I miss-understood the email they sent us ...

    Edit post: Just re-read the email and I think you're right. In fact, they may not even be blocking Imageshack, just continuing to let people link to them, except they are now offering their own in-house storage, similar to our own Members Photo Gallery, which I mentioned in the announcement. I'm not sure how this fixes the exposure, because unless EVERYONE uploads there pics, then just one person who posts a link to any external web site image source is exposing the entire membership to a possible virus. So, now I am officially confused.

    Regardless, this new system here is transparent with little disruption to the way our members operate, but significantly reduces the risk of exposure to any visures transmitted by image viewing.

    Thanks again for the heads up ...

    Thanks for being a part of the Online Gun Community, especially Cast Boolits. We here at Cast Boolits just wanted to inform you of some new software we implemented today. Imageshack which is a popular image hosting website was struck with a virus a few weeks back which made many of their images send out some harmful code to everyone who viewed their images. We had to implement some quick actions to help control that outbreak and Imageshack got it taken care of as well. Based on this outbreak we thought it necessary to implement a new Image Hosting solution that would be controlled by Cast Boolits, we call it simply “Image Hosting”. It’s similar to how Imageshack hosts their images in that, your images can be uploaded to OUR server, and the software gives you all the code you need to post these images on our website as well as on other websites and forums. Based on Bandwidth requirements we have to implement a system to help control how many images we host as well. We already have a subscription system in place on Cast Boolits which can be found here: Cast Boolits . So our break down is this:
    Regular Members get to host 15 images,
    Contributor Members get to host 40 images,
    Patron Members get to host 70 images,
    And Sponsors get to host 100 images on our website. You can sign up for one of those memberships at the above link. The donations received will go towards bandwidth and server costs as well as for future upgrades.
    More information on this system can be found here:
    *Image Hosting* Tutorial and FAQ - Cast Boolits
    You can also donate to help keep the board running by going here:
    Cast Boolits Home - Donations
    Thank you for your time and if you have any questions please direct them towards the helpful link above or you can contact me directly by replying to this e-mail.
    Thank you,
    Willy Snyder CEO/CFO GunLoads.com

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDoubleD View Post
    I usually read use agreements pretty closely and missed the part in your agreement about free use of my work. Will you new soft ware wash my watermark if I use it? I certainly had no intention of surrendering ownership of my work.
    Absolutely not ... your work is your work and is ALWAYS owned by you. Nothing is added or removed in the content, such as watermarks. It's only scanned for potential hidden viruses, converted to a JPG (if necessary) and re-sized to 1024x768 or less as explained in the original announcement.

    All the member is doing is granting us a license to continue to use (display) the image for the benefit of all members, that the same member originally either uploaded or linked to in the first place. Does that help explain it better?

    Thanks for your feedback .. much appreciated ..

    Regards,
    Doug
    Last edited by Badger; 03-03-2011 at 11:03 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    Ahhh .... I didn't bother turning on the anti-virus import software for this forum since it's a transient announcement kind of environment, as opposed to a research forum. I never thought anyone would want to use it as a test thread ...


    Ach, folk do the strangest things, don't they?



    Testing seems a success

    Giant thank you for the photo conversions! Eliminates one worry and several concerns.


    ETA:

    I have just better organized about 150-200 photos that were getting hard to find, so I hope your new software had run through a couple of years worth of posts!
    Last edited by jmoore; 06-04-2011 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Cleaned up excess chatter

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    Doug,

    In addition to the security, I think it's terrific you're providing the server space to store linked images and I haven't seen this done before. I'm sure we've all searched for something, or just came across an interesting thread on a site and the photos that were posted are long gone. It's always sad when I read what would otherwise be a very informative and interesting thread turned into useless dialogue because the person who originally posted the photo didn't maintain it. As jmoore said, it will be nice to know that I don't have to worry about keeping the original photo in the same place indefinitely.

    Thank you!
    ~ Harlan

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