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FreeNode's Lilo Passed Away After Accident

A global notice on the FreeNode network announced the death of FreeNode admin Lilo. “On the 12th September Rob Levin, known to many as Freenode’s lilo, was hit by a car while riding his bike. He suffered head injuries and passed away in hospital on the 16th”

Lilo was being treated at the Neuro Trauma Intensive Care Unit in Houston, where he died the 16th.

Those who would like to pass on their condolences can do so at condolences@freenode.net.

Sirvulcan passed this tragic news to IRC-Junkie.

Cracker Creates Havoc at Freenode

Last Saturday a user who was using the nick ratbert has been creating havoc after he gained the password of Freenode’s admin Robert Levin, aka lilo.

Once gained access he kill’ed and klined staff of the network, delinked servers and send out a global notice and attempted to abuse a mIRC DCC exploit.

-ratbert- I am a fat asshole, who loves abuse, die

-ratbert- DCC SEND YOUAREALLJUDENLOL

Eventually, also network owner lilo was killed by ratbert; * lilo has quit (Killed by ratbert (die ))

Once reconnected, lilo sent out the following global notice: -lilo- Hi all. As you may be aware, freenode has experienced a crack attack and we’re working on tracking down the details. At this point, we cannot guarantee that more problems will not occur.

Since then several security related questions have raised that remain to be answered. How was a user able to gain lilo’s password, and how come his access is not additionally protected by a specific hostmask?

At first users were afraid the attacker got hold of a substantial amount of private data from users, such as passwords. This turned out to be quite minimal however, confined to a series of new registrations at NickServ during the attack. Freenode admin HedgeMage explains: “We believe that <25 nickserv passwords were compromised during a limited window, but all concerned individuals are encouraged to change their nickserv passwords just in case.”

Although Freenode has a list of people they suspect being responsible for the attack, they do not want to release too much information on that as it might influence near future investigations. “We are not releasing our suspect list, but we have some reasons to expect that bantown or GNAA may have been involved”, according to Freenode admin HedgeMage.

Users from GNAA (the “world-famous trolling organization” quoted from their website) have been interrupting a session held by Freenode to answer some questions from its users.

IRC-Junkie has been trying to contact Freenode with additional questions but received no reply so far.

Thanks to upinsmoke for the tip.

IRC Channel Relays Information From New Orleans

Not all of New Orleans is in chaos it seems. Somewhere on the 9th floor of a office building web-hosting company directNIC.com remains operational. With the help of generators on the same floor who kept dry they are able to relay news to the outside world in a blog.

The blog, available here, has been named the “Survival of New Orleans blog”. “In less perilous times it was simply a blog for me to talk smack and chat with friends,” the website starts. “Now this journal exists to share firsthand experience of the disaster and its aftermath with anyone interested.”

The blog explains about the chaos in the city. For example the 10:12am update on Thursday, September 1st: “Can confirm: The National Guard, FEMA, the NOPD, and City authorities DO NOT have the city under control. There are live radio feeds for the National Guard comms and NOPD comms which have been circulating the web, and you can listen to the chaos and disarray for yourselves. I am not going to post the links, but I’m sure others have and will. I doubt the government’s ability to reestablish order without a full active duty military presence to crush the mob mentality. This of course will mean no civil rights and everyone being treated equally — as a criminal.”

To aid in the spreading of related news an IRC channel has been formed. The channel operator pinkish initiated the channel. “The channel was first on irc.deadjournal.com but it couldn’t keep up with our growth (that server could only hold about 200 users)”, channel operator DR explained to IRC-Junkie. The channel then got moved to #interdictor on irc.freenode.net.

At the time of IRC-Junkie’s visit, #interdictor was holding almost 1000 people and had to be set moderated to keep the channel usable. Side-channels such as #interdictor-chat are initiated where users can still interact.

The main channel is being used to relay information from a wealth of online resources, mainly non-mainstream. Also, several people who are being in various locations in the affected disaster area relay information about their specific locations. User Teriander is for example relaying information from Baton Rouge. “With bridges such as LiveJournal (the blog’s home) and wiki and blogs, IRC becomes more directed, focused … intense … More facilitation / less journalism”, channel operator hfx_ben said to IRC-Junkie.

The network staff of Freenode is helping out the channel where it can. “It’s on topic as far as we’re concerned being a public service network”, Freenode staff member ZOP said to IRC-Junkie. “Staff here are aware of the channel, and we’re accommodating the channel as much as we can. [...] We’re providing clone watches and stuff like that, same as we do any other popular channel.”

The team members of the blog itself occasionally come into the channel as well, to relay information, and have a small chat. However, as they get thousands of request for information, their time is limited.

The channel operators have launched a Wiki with more information about news resources and the channel here.

Freenode Policy Changes Forces Channels to Move/Rename

New policies concerning channel ownership is causing some stir amongst channel managers on this network which is primary in use as a base of realtime communication for open source projects. In short, the name in use of the channel must be “contingent on your group’s ownership of that name, legally or informally” as the policy explains. If you have no rights over the channel name, you must begin the channel name with an extra #, for example ##foo instead of #foo.

The channel manager of #photography explains on his blog: “Yesterday, it was made known to me that channels had to be re-registered. I went to fill out the form (of which the URI was pasted to me in a /msg), and put all the pertinent info into the necessary fields (which seemed like most every field; there was no red star or bolding or anything else which would show priority).”

Within a half hour Lilo (admin on Freenode) messaged #photography’s manager that #photography had to be moved to #foo (where foo is a domain under the TLD .com, .net or .org which the manager owns) or has to be moved to ##photography.

Lilo explains on the blog: “The problems occur when an external project comes to the network for the first time, and discovers that it has no control over the channels bearing its name. We want projects to be able to own their channels. We also want it to be easy to distinguish between official channels of some project or group, or unofficial channels which are run by somebody else.”

The policies which were introduced a few months ago are now slowly being put into effect. Like the official channels #gentoo and #fedora, and ##slackware which is not an official channel. The channel #photography has since then been moved to #photogeeks.

Lilo ends, “I’m sorry for the irritation factor involved; we did try to post the link to the policy document in a prominent place on the website, but sometimes it just doesn’t occur to people that freenode is anything but the usual sort of IRC network. Apologies for the difficulties.”