Why forums and comments are still offline
You may have noticed that the forums and comments have been switched off for the past few days. On Friday 19th July one of our trusted moderators reported suspicious activity within the forums. They had discovered what appeared to be a script hidden in a forum announcement post. The script had been designed to steal users' details (including password and date of birth) when clicked.
As a precaution our IT security team took immediate steps to close the forum to block the attack and fully investigate the extent of the intrusion. At this point we became aware that a small group of admins and moderators had their accounts compromised, the first of which had been used to post the malicious script.
It's important to note that at this point our IT security team's investigation has revealed that no other user data has been compromised, but it's taken a few days to precisely pinpoint the problem so we can start plugging it and get everything back up and running. Apologies for the down-time; we're being super-careful to ensure that the issue's totally squashed before bringing things back online. All other site functionality that required user login will also remain inaccessible for the time being including new sign-ups to Gamer Rank.
There's good news for fans of heated debate and occasional cat jokes, though. An interim solution will go live shortly that'll bring back comments on article posts, so discussion can return to PCGamer.com. Praise the sun. It's been spookily quiet around here.
The forum will take a little longer to return - especially as we will be reviewing our choice of forum software - but rest assured, we have our finest site surgeons on the case. We'll let you know as soon as everything's clear. Thanks again for your patience. We hope to get everything ship-shape as soon as possible so that normal service can resume.
For the official corporate line read below:
On Friday July 19th we were alerted to suspicious activity on PC Gamer forums by one of our moderators. This involved the posting of a malicious script into a forum post which, if clicked, could have stolen a user's username, password and date of birth.
We took immediate action by closing down the PC Gamer forums and disabling user login. As a preventive measure we also closed all other forums within the Future network which use the same forum software, vBulletin.
Subsequent investigations into the extent of the intrusion on PCGamer have revealed the following:
- A small number of admin and moderator level passwords have been compromised. These were immediately dealt with on Friday July 19th.
- There is no indication in our logs which suggest any other user's data has been compromised.
In light of this we are now investigating whether any of our other forums have been compromised using a similar exploit although we must stress at this point there is nothing to suggest any of other forums beyond PCGamer were targeted.
We will also be using this investigation period to review our choice of forum software to ensure chances of future attacks are as low as is possible.
Please visit the host site of your forum for any further information on the resuming of forum service.
We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience this outage is causing.