14 October 2020
A few weeks ago, the PPM site was hacked.
If you were signed up on either of the PPM forums with the same username/email/password combination you have used on other sites, you should change your password on those other sites immediately. You should also get into the habit of using different login details for each online service, and never using your main account (e.g. Google) login on other sites. I am sorry for any inconvenience.
The hack came via a vulnerable WordPress plugin used by one of my clients on shared hosting space. The source is irrelevant at this point, however, as it is likely that PPM data has already been stolen. My useless host, EuroVPS, failed to prevent the spread of the attack despite my giving them a heads-up. I have therefore spent the last two weeks moving all my clients off that host, which has left me out of pocket and rather stressed out at times.
Q. Is PPM content lost forever?
A. No. I have local backups. However, I have written so much nonsense over the years that part of me is relieved it is no longer available online. I am considering making some sort of compendium of posts available to buy (using third-party services so that being hacked is no longer a problem), but don't hold your breath.
Q. Will the PPM website be taken down permanently?
A. I have no plans currently to relaunch PPM. Knowing that the site can be taken down in seconds by some evil little bastard who deserves to die means it is too much bother to think about at the moment.
If PPM does relaunch, it will be in a different form. There would be no forum, as I don't want the responsibility of handling user data. I would probably use the site to sell content via PDFs, possibly with a stripped-down blog section.
In many ways, the hack has been a blessing in disguise. It has been a relief to no longer have to play the "Illuminatus" character. Having to carry a public persona is highly stressful and I can see why celebrities go insane. There was also a whole host of other bullshit going on behind the scenes: trolls, spam bots, stalkers, and dine-and-dash users who took what they wanted then left without so much as a thank you. Not having to deal with all that crap has been like a holiday for me.
Q. Will donations help?
A. Not really – but thanks to those who've offered. If I really wanted PPM to continue, I'd find a different host and continue to pay the bills. PPM has never been about money; it has always been a creative outlet for me. Now that it has turned into an extra layer of stress, I'll have to find another way to be creative.
Q. Can I contact you?
A. You can follow the PPM account on Twitter, but don't expect immediate replies – I don't use social media as it is quite clearly cancerous. If there were to be any announcements, however, I would post them there. I may also use the PPM email list to make announcements at some point. Again, I am seeing this period as an extended holiday, so don't expect anything from me soon.
I just wanted to add a final thank you to everyone who has supported the site over the years and contributed to what was, for the most part, an enjoyable and strange little community.