You know you made it big when your website has attracted the attention of spiders!

Okay, so maybe not the best metric of success, but from what I understand internet spiders, unlike real spiders, don’t hide in dark, dusty, seldom visited areas of the internet.

After a great week of science and Knowledge Map discussions at the Renewable Energy: Solar Fuels Gordon Research Conference in Italy (see the post here), the SOFI Knowledge Map page came under attack!

Lucky for us, the only thing that the spiders did was make it look like our user base was increasing exponentially. In a world where numbers speak volumes, this spider attack definitely increased our virtual presence, likely NOT the result the spiders were going for.

Over 2600 user profiles were create by the spiders, and they did a great job. From employing traditional names to reasonable email address, it took a second look to realize that these new users were not interested in solar fuels research.

We temporally blocked new user creation and have set up an additional level of security for account creation. If you attempted to create a SOFI Knowledge Map user profile since March 7th, 2016 please create a new profile. You can use the same information as before. We have purged the system of the all user profiles created since March 7th and we are monitoring the user creation portal regularly.

None of the data in the database or legacy user profiles were affected. Unlike the usual cyber attack, your personal information is safe, since SOFI doesn’t collect personal information! While we would like you to provide some general information in your Bio, it isn’t required and it isn’t too personal. The information in your Bio, like where you are currently working and what your background is, will help SOFI to identify genuine users from any spiders in the future.

We hope you will join the virtual spiders in yearning to learn about solar fuels and how the SOFI Knowledge Map can help you in your solar fuels research.

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