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Absence, Milestones, Updates & removal of users.

People may have noticed I've been away the past week or so. Here's a small update to those reasons and some general progress updates.

To start, I've been sick the past few weeks and stuck on some shit kicking meds. I was told to get some rest by the doctor who decided not to put me down. ?

The first part of this update has alot of speculation as we still don't know the full story. What we do know is this all happened around the same time and appears to be connected, and for these reasons I won't be naming those involved for protection and if you wish to read it'll be included in a spoiler. This part doesn't affect the site directly but has lead to me having to take time away.

Yep it's one of those ?

Late last year I was contacted by a group of users wishing me to middle man a transaction, this is nothing new as I've helped a few users with this. The only difference to this one was I was being sent the original hardware to research, attempt recovery and then ship onto it's final home.

The hardware in question was a developer PC's hard drive containing almost 15 years of history to the video game series Call of Duty. The hard drive had legally been sold by Activision when they cleared out old systems. They were informed it wasn't blank and responded with a "We don't care, do what you like with it, it's your's" response, the owner deemed it important to have it archived and agreed to selling it to this group of users seeing as Activision didn't care and all legal requirements being met. i.e, the system was legally sold and not stolen. The data clearly still belongs to Activision and the group only owned the drive/hardware.

It was here that things went weird, A certain group of people kept coming to me asking about it and knowing only a small group knew of the deal I was puzzled. It was at this time I started getting notices of people trying to access my accounts. I was getting Phishing emails, Phishing messages sent to my phone and so on. Thankfully I'm not retarded enough to fall for these but it's odd the first attempt was December 15th 2019. I shrugged this off and carried on as normal. All my important accounts have 2FA/Two-Step by app enabled so I wasn't too worried there. Around three weeks ago we found out one of those involved in the deal had been passing information along which resulted in a user losing his shit and claiming they'll hack the users who bought the data if they didn't give it. The user went all out being a douche bag, making threats, harassing and being abusive. They then started talking about personal chats I'd had with the buyers, giving details only known if you were in the chat. This is weird? How could someone access private Discord groups? Could a user have leaked the info? quite possibly.

Me taking no chances, I scanned my system which was clean, none the less I wiped it and reinstalled everything and did another scan. Out of paranoia I ordered a new drive and setup a new laptop. I went to login to my router only to find it had been compromised! Somehow it had been corrupted and was working but you couldn't access it in anyway minus it showing garbled text where the login should be. Very weird.. so I bought a new router too.

This was when one of those buyers came to me stating their router / computer had been compromised and that their ISP Spectrum had sent a letter. Oh dear? this is weird right? The letter is included below. So now my router and one of the buyers routers have been compromised!

photo_2020-01-13_01-15-23.jpg

Reading the letter one key date stands out December 16th! one day after attempts to access my accounts started. Coincidence? possible. Then one of the other buyers stated they also got the letter. I'm now worried, the letter looked almost like an indian tech support scam so I asked the user to go straight to their ISP's office, they told the user the letter was real, that they'd got the FBI involved but couldn't state the outcome. The user was given a new router and modem free of charge.

So now me (who was a middle man to the deal) and two buyers state their routers are compromised. It was then Morphic told me his router was compromised too WTF? Morphic had nothing to do with this and yet now 4 OG users have had their routers compromised within a month of this group stating they'd steal the CoD builds.

I've been pulling my hair out trying to find a link here and this involves three different routers from different companies/ISP's the only major link is two buyers had Spectrum as an ISP. My router appears to be safe, So does Morphics but the Spectrum one's both had 0-Day exploits. none the less me and Morphic have both changed routers to be safe. and the buyers of the deal are getting new routers. All the systems have scanned clean too.

The "assumed" attacker in this has been tied to hackers and such in the past. So all the above ties in nicely. We're not taking risks here and as of now this user is banned from ObscureGamers for life. We'll be removing all ties to their site and censoring it fully from OG's database as a precaution.

As for the HDD, this has now gone to an Activision approved preservation group. All data/drive clones have been deleted/zeroed from all our systems and sadly that means nobody will ever access it again. Part of the agreement means that all data will be under lock and key for life and all user side backups/clones destroyed in full, this means the data is lost to the public due to one idiot who likes to think they deserve it all. I'm just glad it's still safe even if nobody will see the contents.

Nothing here affects OG as a whole, as our goal is to work with developers to save history. Not to cause harm or steal. We just like to be open with all issues here unlike other sites.

OG will never allow people to blackmail us and privacy and respect will be a key feature to the site.

Now that the crap above has been sorted, let's talk about 2020! Happy new year all ? you may have noticed Morphic slipped in an updated version of the OG theme to move away from the look and feel of ASSEMbler. It's still based on the same theme and looks pretty good minus a few minor CSS edits to be made. What do you think of it so far?

Unsure if anybody else noticed, but in my absense we hit 2K members! (Don't worry I'm not cracking any Take-Two jokes today. ?) Traffic is rising daily too both here and on the A-G archive. We're hitting around 70,000 Unique visitors a month between them now.

Back in 2019 I mentioned OG was looking to become a non-profit preservation group, I spent the best part of 2019 trying to find the best means. the one that's most suited to us needs two UK based staff and three UK based volunteers which isn't suitable for us yet. Retro from ASSEMbler mentioned a CIC something I totally forgot existed.

Wikipedia said:
A community interest company (CIC) is a type of company introduced by the United Kingdom government in 2005 under the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.[1] CICs are intended to be easy to set up, with all the flexibility and certainty of the company form, but with some special features to ensure they are working for the benefit of the community. They have proved popular and some 10,000 registered in the status's first 10 years.[2]

I feel this for now is our best option to fund the site and to enable us to fund raise safely. It has some downers, i.e we'd have to pay full taxes and be open with what we do, who we are and our cause. (Clearly Video Game Preservation.) We'd also have to be more strict from a copyright front but it doesn't mean we can't share stuff still. This also offers us protection too, any assets owned by us would be locked meaning if we ever closed by law all assets would be transferred to the next best option, be it a museum or another preservation group that's registered. I hope this doesn't happen but it's nice to know we wouldn't have worries about anything saved being lost/destroyed. It would also enable us to have a business paypal account for donations and a bank account something @wheelaa has requested, we didn't ignore you don't worry! ;)

The cost to form the CIC will be about £400, a lot more than the original plan but we've no choice if we wish to preserve and fund raise legally. we can upgrade it to a full on charity in the future too if things grow which I assume they will as there's so much history to save.

How would users feel about this? We'd also have two names as part of this but OG would still be OG.

I'm also thinking about possible meetups for the future to discuss saving history, and to relax and meetup with fellow members from around the world. We could also chuck in some of the planned OG merch. We could possibly show case some hardware etc but seeing as we're planning to be a non-profit that does give a few issues but I'm sure we can overcome that.

Does anybody have any suggestions to site features? We've already got a few planned etc along with storage plans and so on.

Once again, Happy New Year all! I know it's 13 days late but being away hasn't helped ?

Thank you again

~ OG Staff
 
I think this is a nice balance of acknowledgement without being ostentatious.

Again, this is only my own opinion, anybody is welcome to chime in.

I agree here, I kinda felt the green was out of place. Blue is my fave color anyway ?

I'm happy for the community to give us input, we'll always find a balance that everybody finds suitable.
 
I agree here, I kinda felt the green was out of place. Blue is my fave color anyway ?

I'm happy for the community to give us input, we'll always find a balance that everybody finds suitable.
I guess.. I mean green is my favorite color so I'm biased
 
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