PHPBB Nuked…


PHPBB nuked…

#phpbbDig #lost #reDuex

PHPBB T.K.O (TOTAL KNOCK OUT) – Oh boy, PHPBB instance goes down in flames, spam/spam bots, and Viagra ads. So with the new year, comes a new PHPBB issue; a large issue. Looks like with a PHPBB autoconfig…

(( POOOF )) ((( LOST ))) PHPBB pulled a Dracula, poof back to to it’s former self. All is lost – the design, skin changes, GA, users, hackers/spammers, everything. Not a good thing, base code, base skin, base php code and plugins. Fact, aliens have NOT taken over this implementation, “spammers” came home to roost.

We’ve been battling spam and hackery for 8 months, pictures will follow. This implementation is the second to fall, USpam2 was all sorts of hacked and blocked. This will make sense in due time, once we get the sites up and running again. Backups help, anyway, this site was nixed, vanished, gone…

I’m sure we will post more on the subject, plenty to cover in future posts… plugins OH MY, Backup/Restore, New Styles added to the Styles area… Anyhow, sign up, sign in and leave a comment, or start a group.

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PHPBB Updates


#phpbb #phpbbUpdateFail #phpbbSkin #PHPBBREDUX #PHPbbRewind


Short and sweet… So, we lost our updates/phpbb mods… (( POOOF )) PHPBB was miraculously turned back to it’s former self (Base/Prosilver theme). Lost the design, lost the skin mods, GA/GA plugin id; everything but the base code, base skins, base php code and add-in plugins. We can go over the plug in fiasco another day, anonymous aliens throw me for a loop enough for one day. In fact, I thought ‘aliens’ truly invaded the admin panel over… “Anonymous” came home to roost. Pictures above, this will make sense in due time. Anyway, 5/3, site vanished… We will continue to provide feedback and comments over on the board, find us here. Don’t forget to become a member!

We pick up the story in the PHPBB Admin Maintenance Area => Admin Logs; systems log shows “Anonymous” – username, [blank] User IP, Mon May 03, 2021 4:54am – Updated Database from version 3.3.3 to version 3.3.4. I guess this is where I thought aliens really do exist? No ip address for 5 entries… ((WHAM)) Not really aliens, just that it dawned on me updates rewrite skins and mods directly in the root directory. LAME. By the way, we still need to find away to add our changes to the Styles section, makes no sense. Maybe time to hack a skin mod of our own. Short term goal, reduce ‘anonymous’ alien interactions and auto-code deployments. Again, I want to reiterate this… the code (( POOF )) gone. Ironically enough, we didn’t have the pleasure of a rewrite as we were hacked, phished and spammed into oblivion only a few months back. Another day, perhaps.

Moving along, spent sometime online/interwebs, ‘relearn process initiated’. Found a few articles, on stylesheet manipulation and cracked open Firefox with Dev Tools… and off we went. Side by side, the hack job began. Inspect, mod and push… inspect, mod and push. 25 or so mods later, 2 style sheets specifically colours.css and common.css. We can start with the logo, place/push your logo to the root directory/styles/***placeholder**/theme/images; replace ***placeholder** with the appropriate theme folder/name you phpbb site has been ‘skinned’ in. Side note, we touch on this more below, direct the browser to the logo on the colours.css file, should be the class=”site_logo” as shown below: EXAMPLE REPLACE LOGO IN COLOURS.CSS* replace placeholderImgFile.png with your logo /** Updated **********/ .site_logo { background-image: url(“./images/placeholderImgFile.png”); } /** Updated **********/

Make sense? I’ll stop there, FTP/SFTP access (file access provided by your hosting service provider) is required. Note, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and Text Pad/Editor:

  • FTP – Putty, Cyberduck, Filezilla
  • Text Editor – Sublime Text, GNU, ATOM, Native Text Pad/Editor

Regardless of choice or combinations, both are required to pull down, modify and push changes. Unless you choose to use the built in editors within CPanel. We don’t recommend this, but you got to do what you got to do. We use Cyberduck, CPanel File/Folder Viewer (hosting view) and Sublime Text with projects plugin. Again, caveat here, If you don’t have either one of these, you need to hop on the ole’ horn or Youtube for directions and figure out who has the information and request access. Tangent there, now back to the show…

2 Stylesheets colours.css and common.css; we start with the comments, future forward comments. We like to place comments in and around the styles we edit on the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) files, especially when modifying the files. Also, while we are hacking away at core files, you may want to quickly snag a back up of those two files and store the files in a safe area… We DON’T as you can tell, but probably should. That’s our lesson learned for the day. I’m not going to go in great detail here, however, comments in CSS are /* */ forward slashes and asterisks; both are required to open and close the comment. The browser will ignore all within the comment unless both elements are included. Multi-line comments are similar, you will see we add multi-lined asterisk stars for visual effect… same for the additional asterisks between a description of the ‘modification’ and open and close comment tags. Example – /** Updated **********/ Furthermore, we will start working down the CSS/Stylesheet on each id/class requiring change. One screen, Firefox Dev Tools => Inspect, other modifying css file. If you don’t know CSS by now, good luck… we all start somewhere! Today is the day you learn… we counted some ~20 changes with a few, minor inner class changes via colours.css, plus the 4 or so on the common.css file. Of course, we took the minimal change approach… we lost a lot of work on 5/3/21, more than what we put back into this re-skining effort.Finally, we will continue to add/modify said files as we get back up to speed. Also, we have this article for future help and support.

We will end with ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’, un-minify here =>

<-------------------- COLOURS.CSS -----------------------
16 changes
———————- COLOURS.CSS ———————- >
1. Updating the background,body,with a smoke grey/black with a graphing paper textile html{background-color:transparent;background:#131321;background-image:linear-gradient(rgba(0, 255, 255, .1) .1em, transparent .01em), linear-gradient( 90deg , rgba(0, 255, 255, .1) .1em, transparent .01em);background-size:0.75em 0.75em}2.(a/b) Changing colors of the link and hover action on the link a{color:#ff6d31}a:hover{opacity:0.8}3. Next we have the wrap and div/class box elements Style Removed .wrap{}.forumbg,4. Style Removed .headerbar{}5. Color change .forabg{background-color:#247980}6. Color change .navbar{background-color:#247980}7. Color change .panel{background-color:#247980;color:#28313F}8. (A/B) Color and Opacity change .bg1{background-color:#2479;opacity:0.8}.bg2{background-color:#247980;opacity:0.8}9. Update Site Logo/Image .site_logo{background-image:url(“./images/fileName.png”)}10. Changed background color ul.forums{background-color:#1111}11. Commented out color,I want to keep this for future usage ul.topiclist li{}12. Change color and opacity li.row:hover{background-color:#Ffff;opacity:0.8}13. Color Change .content{color:#fff}14. Color and border updates .signature{border-top-color:#CCCCCC;color:#fff}15. Color Change .pagination{color:#fff}16. (A/B) Color and border changes,improve visibility .postprofile{color:#ff6d31;border-color:#FFFFFF}.postprofile strong{color:#fff}
<---------------------- COLOURS.CSS ---------------------- >

<-------------------- COMMON.CSS --------------------------
4 changes
———————- COMMON.CSS ————————- >
2. Color and margin change p{line-height:1.3em;font-size:1.1em;margin-bottom:1.5em;color:#ff6d31}2. Reduced logo spacing .logo{float:left;width:auto;padding:12px 3px 0 10px}3. Changed size,or space around where the new logo will live .site_logo{background-repeat:no-repeat;display:inline-block;width:33px;height:33px}4. Reduced width and padding to tighten up logo,h1 and site description,so it feels like one element .site-description{float:left;width:65%;padding:1em}
<---------------------- COMMON.CSS ---------------------->

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PHPBB Hacked

PHPBB Hacked (now what?)

#deleteSpammers #deleteSpammerPosts_BS_ETC ETC #phpbbHelp #phpBBForumsPermissions #resetphpMyAdmin #ResetCounter

Anyone using PHPBB? Anyone been hacked lately? Well we did, and here is the process for getting back to pre-spammer days.

Yes, yes I know… you’ve been hacked, now what do you do? First, what was hacked, is it the same ip address? Username? Regardless of the current state, it’s time to trim forum permissions in PHPBB. Login, cut all permissions, you can do so by going to ‘group forum permissions’ select each usergroup type (not including Admins)all and submit. Next screen you will be prompted to select a forum, we recommend selecting ‘all forums’ since we need to cut proverbial spammers loose. You can do that here. Once All forums have been selected, work your way through each forum, while selecting ‘all NO’. This will seemingly remove all permissions by user on each forum. Check and see if access has been revoke for all usergroup types. All errors aside, you should be to perform this change by usergroup by forum for all users. Check your progress, simply crack open another browser and try the login process. I do have different usergroup types saved for testing purposes only, if you don’t…. create a few test accounts. Fast-forward, assuming you’ve done this correctly, the BB’s will be closed down to all users(again, accept Admins). Time to purge posts, users, spammers, fake ‘pr0n’ links, Viagra and casino ads/links from the system. Another article in the future, but you will have to take sometime and dig into the posts, when posts were submitted and ‘all purge’. Here’s a handy link from the folks over at phpbbservices for my explicit detail. I’ve used the link a few times for reference. Ultimately, posting it here for future references and spam attacks.

Cathartic. Anyway, once you feel all users, posts and b.s. has been removed. The old ‘post counter’ still reads some astronomical number associated with the spam posted to your bb’s and making the post count that less relevant or meaningless in our case. Ok, time to crack open phpMyAdmin. Second of all, back up your databases before you continue. (First of All or Second?) Please don’t make that mistake, learn from our PAIN!

So, lets move onto ‘post counts’… myPhpAdmin is your friend here, certainly the most directly way to clean up posts tied to your phpbb install. Head on over to your hosting services, specifically phpMyAdmin… find the db(database) attached to your phpbb install. We are looking for ‘posts’ or ‘bb_posts’ within the database mentioned a second ago. Once there, it’s a quick purge to clean up post counts: update bb_posts set post_postcount=1

That’s it… a little refresh on the page count will do the trick. Don’t forget to run through the system auto purge tools as well. Those seem to help as well. See screenshots above.

As usual leave a comment below, let us know what you’re thinking?

Code PHPBB Purge PhpMyAdmin DB's PhpMyAdminDB Purged Posts