Alachua Freenet

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Alachua Freenet

Free web hosting and email for Alachua County residents and non-profits




News and Updates


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Recent Security Issues

The email service is back on the air after some major security issues. A userid was compromised, and an illicit cryptocurrency mining package was installed under that userid. It took quite a while to eradicate the last vestiges of the coin miner malware, and during that effort UF IT Security had us blocked from outside access. The malware is now gone, and several side issues that were found have been fixed.

Reminder: Uncertain Future of AFN's Email service

The administrators would like to reiterate that AFN's email service is living on borrowed time. UF IT Security would like to see the service go away, for the reasons mentioned in our post last summer; the University does not like having a non-University email server within its network. We would encourage AFN users to migrate away from using AFN's email service.

Upcoming System Maintenance

Sometime in the next couple of weeks, we will be upgrading the AFN server to a new operating system. This work shouldn't take more than a day, and is necessary from time to time to keep up with security patches and upgraded versions of server software. We will announce the date when it's scheduled.

Purge of Inactive User Accounts

Having thousands of dormant user accounts just sitting and doing nothing is wasteful of system resources and a potential security exposure. Therefore, we are planning on purging inactive user accounts later this spring. If there has been no shell login and no email login in the past couple of years we will archive the account's home directory and delete the account.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

We're back!

The most recent set of security updates went sidewise and wiped out part of the system's configuration, and several weeks of slim to nonexistent sysadmin free time added up to an extended outage. We've got the system configuration put back together again, and all services are up.

NEWS FLASH: Probable sunset of the AFN email service

It's been a long couple of decades, but the time is most likely approaching that we will have to discontinue the AFN email service. There are several free or low-cost email services out there that didn't exist when AFN was first brought into being. The University's administration and IT Security staff are concerned by the existence of a non-UF email server run by part time volunteer admins residing within UF's IP address space. Occasionally, when one or another email problem or compromise lands AFN on someone's blacklist service listing, the University's entire IP block winds up tainted. Neither AFN nor the University want to see that happen going forward.

We have not set a specific date for the end of AFN email service, but we are encouraging the user community to begin migrating to alternative email providers.

At this time we do not expect any impact on the AFN web server; it will remain for as long as UF will allow us to reside in the data center.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Happy New Year!

Apologies for the delay, but we've FINALLY gotten the email service more or less reconfigured and restarted. BRACE YOURSELVES for a period of extremely high mail activity as the weeks long backlog of undeliverable emails finally gets delivered. We know there'll undoubtedly be a bit of spam involved but we hope that updated spam filter utilities will start learning and rejecting the bad stuff sooner rather than later.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

We're working on getting the email service configured but we're running into some snags. Hopefully things will be resolved before too long and we'll get everything back up, but we can't give a firm time for restoration of the email service.




Thursday, November 30, 2017

System Migration in Progress - Please Be Patient!

The AFN server has decided it is no longer going to boot. So, rather than putting any more time and effort into keeping that very old, rather underpowered platform limping along, the decision has been taken to move ahead with migrating to the new, much faster, much higher capacity server platform.

The migration will involve moving the old server's external RAID array to the new server, copying all user data over to the new server's internal RAID array, and configuring the web and email services on the new server. The entire process is liable to take several days. Please watch this page for updates as we make progress on the migration.


Update 1

The webserver is now configured correctly. We're starting the rather large task of copying all the user data from the old external RAID array to the new server's internal RAID array. As each users's data is copied to the new array, any web pages should become accessible.

Update 2

User data has been moved to the new RAID array and all user websites should now be back up. We're now working on getting the email server configured and the mailboxes copied over.