PA would like to apologise for any inconvenience our readers may have experienced while seeking to access the site while abroad this summer - extra security measures have been in place due to sustained cyber-attacks.
Since July, robot programmes from a number of different overseas IP addresses have been assailing the Professional Adviser site. Simply put, the bots carry out their attacks by entering a single article thousands of times a second in a bid to crash the page and the website.
Given the attacks focused on a story about a disgraced financial adviser with links to the Middle East, perhaps we should take the attacks as a compliment - though we should quickly add our reassurance to readers that they and their information are in no way compromised by accessing Professional Adviser while these bots do their worst.
Also, to be clear, there is no evidence directly linking the attacks to that disgraced adviser or anyone else in the story - it could just be a coincidence.
At one point, we were forced briefly to suspend the search function on the website and we are still blocking entire countries from accessing the publication - some of them not obvious holiday destinations for UK financial advisers - as we identify the individual IP address ranges at the source of the problem.
For a short period in mid-July, users who may have been holidaying in Columbia, France, Mexico, Mongolia and Romania would have been unable to access the PA website at all while our IT experts worked tirelessly to turn the tide.
And, while blocking IP addresses from entire countries helps stop the cyber-attackers in their tracks, they can still sneakily move on to another IP address, turning the maintenance of a smooth-running website into a game of cat-and-mouse.
Blocking all IP addresses from France - a common holiday destination among our British readers (and indeed our editor) - was not the most convenient measure we were forced to undertake, and we understand, and again apologise for, any frustration caused.
Dear @Profadviser, once again I failed to read a PA article as if failed the robot test. I don't have to do this to read the FT. What bonehead had this moronic idea? It's a free mag FFS!— clive waller (@clivewaller) 7 September 2018
While the PA team is by no means immune to episodes of boneheadedness, we can assure all our sun-searching readers holidaying across the Channel that, in this instance, we only frustrate out of necessity in our battle against overseas-based antagonists.
Thankfully, Professional Adviser has a fantastic IT team who have worked miracles to combat and thwart the new-age cyber bullies to keep our publication's website running as smoothly as it has.
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