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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
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    Last edited by Badger; 02-07-2013 at 02:22 PM.

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