Question Are Forum Mailboxes Safe?

michael diemer

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Feb 2, 2013
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I'm on a bunch of forums, and occasionally someone PM's me. I'm just wondering if there could be a security risk in answering a private message on a forum? Could it somehow be a back door to your computer?

I ask this because once I was on a forum, and while there my computer got hacked. It was on a BSD system, and someone actually had opened up a terminal and was attempting to chroot right into my system, typing stuff right before my eyes. Of course I shut the computer down immediately and over-write the drive with a different system. It is now not in my computer, and I am hesitant to put it back in.

I don't know how the person gained access to my system. The forum in question uses the flash player to play music files. I was signed in. I have no idea what created the vulnerability. But I won't use that operating systems again, and I have uninstalled flash on all my systems. Now, when I get a PM from someone I don't know, unless it's from admin, I get nervous and hesitate to answer it. Should I be?
 
PMs are much like emails and could, theoretically, carry the same risks. Links and linked content (if allowed) could certainly pose a threat.

Also, if your IP address is exposed (some sites do this), a knucklehead could use that info to attempt to gain access to your system.

What specific forum were you on when the incident you described occur?
 

michael diemer

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Feb 2, 2013
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Sorry, I lost track of this thread, thanks for your answer, COLGeek. It was Composers Forum, on ning.com. Not exactly a hotbed of hackers, I wouldn't think. But you never know. It's always possible to make enemies and not even realize it. And of course there are crazies everywhere, even on classical music forums.
 

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