For the last 18 hours, freenode experienced a large-scale nuisancebot infestation. We temporarily removed the irc.freenode.net rotation and replaced it with chat.freenode.net, in order to try to stem the tide of spambots hitting the network. In the process of doing so, we discovered a new methodology for analyzing the spambot net and produced a patched server version to mitigate the effects of the infestation. As of a few minutes ago, all freenode servers have been upgraded to this new code.
We’re not certain how long the patch will work. Botnets are modified over time by their creators and this one will likely be no exception. We hope we can utilize the new methodology to handle subsequent generations of botnets, but there’s no guarantee our efforts will be successful. We believe that it will be helpful to make a gradual, permanent cutover of the main rotation hostname from irc.* to chat.* to make it somewhat less likely we’ll experience future problems.
If you’re a client developer or you run an IRC network list site, please do not list chat.freenode.net, in your client or site without first emailing staff at freenode dot net to make sure it’s okay to do so.
Finally, we want to thank you all for your patience and understanding. You’ve helped us stay on track and resolve the current difficulties, and we appreciate it. Apologies for the inconvenience, and thank you for using freenode!