Saturday, September 13, 2014

All good things come to an end

HASA will be retired and taken offline at the end of the year. This is not being done lightly, and there is a lot of sorrow surrounding the decision.

If you've been watching the news, you know how cybercrime has increased. Just this week, another major security breach was announced, this one affecting US-based Home Depot. Old servers running old software with old generation programming can't keep up with the increasingly sophisticated attacks. Unfortunately, HASA is on that list. Over the last two years, HASA has been attacked several times in various ways. So far, with support from the ISP and a good deal of luck, we've been able to fend off most of this. HASA doesn't store personal or financial data, so our own information isn't worth much to criminals. What hackers want from HASA is to hijack the system, make a zombie of the server, and use to power their attacks on more lucrative targets. At some point the server will get compromised, and then we'll lose the site without warning. Hackers could seize it, or law enforcement if they trace criminal activity to the machine.

Moving the site to new hardware, rewriting the site code and completely securing the application takes time and resources that are not available. Money can be raised, but programming and server security expertise require time and dedication that is beyond current resources. So, this is the end for HASA as a general purpose story archive. Nothing from the site will be sold or distributed to third parties. Stories belong to their authors and member contact information is not for sale.

Programming and site administration effort is now focused on salvaging the Research Library to keep it going in another form. A small group of volunteers is working with an open source content management system (CMS) to see if it will support basic operations. It won't have all of the features we've grown accustomed to with HASA, but the base entries will be saved.

What does this mean for you as a reader or an author?

  • HASA will be available through December 31, and will be decommissioned over January.
  • You need to start saving what you have here in another format. There will be posts through the rest of the year with advice on how to do this.
  • We're sorry, but we cannot take requests to save material for you.
  • If you are an author, you need to transfer your stories to alternative archives and platforms.
  • Please do not post any new stories unless you already have them posted in another location.

EDIT: please go here for further details and discussion: HASA Shutdown discussion.


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