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Is The FBI Running The Pirate Bay?

February 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Rebirth of The Pirate Bay that we reported on recently could be a sham site set up by the FBI with the intention of snagging punters.

It could not be, but there are increasing suspicions that this is the case, and there were probably some clues at the time.

We reported on the Pirate Bay relaunch earlier this week, saying that there was some kind of divide between the members of the site.

The new service was considered to be something of a spin-off that had done away with a number of administrators in order to be more hands-off.

However, it has the hallmarks of something that is hands-on, according to Twitter messages from an account used by the Anonymous hacker collective.

Questions were raised about the new site, including the passing of the old admins and the decision to use Cloudflare integration.

In some cases people pointed to FBI-like flags. The use of Cloudflare suggests that user information might be exposed to the warrant-like demands of the surveillance agencies.

— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessages) February 1, 2015

The Pirate Bay people have denied that the site is a puppet for the FBI and  have explained away the use of Cloudflare in a statement sent to TorrentFreak.

“We have seen that there has been some question to why we are using Cloudflare. This is only initially to handle the massive load on the servers. It will be removed shortly,” the statement said.

But, while the Pirate Bay is linked with the US-based Cloudflare it will be associated with the risk of national security investigations and warrants. Cloudflare has not commented.

TorrentFreak added in a later article that the Pirate Bay has moved away from its previous service provider, Trabia, and is now the guest of an unknown, or hidden, provider.

Taken together these things add up to a site that you may choose not to use. Of course, it might not be an FBI plant, and it might be the FBI, or someone else, that has started raising suspicions in order to keep people away from the magnetic phoenix. Take care out there.


Has Pirate Bay Found A Way To Avoid Detection?

September 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Computing

The staff of The Pirate Bay have been telling the world+dog how it uses a mix of servers to avoid detection and police raids. Speaking to Torrent Freak, the site said the site uses a series of virtual machines to fool companies into hosting the torrent site.

The Pirate Bay doesn’t own any physical servers. Rather, the site is spread across different commercial cloud hosting providers. Twenty-one “virtual machines” are scattered around the world and are used to handle different functions of the site.  The Pirate Bay uses the virtual machines to break the site’s functions down onto different hosting platforms. The cloud hosting is split up amongst its virtual machines: eight web, six search, two database, one Linux virtual server as a load balancer, one stats and one handles proxy sites. Another runs torrents and another is the control.

The load balancer distributes the traffic to the virtual machines and masks what they are actually doing. Investigators can’t actually “see” where Pirate Bay’s web site actually is, and Pirate Bay can host its site on commercial cloud hosting servers without worrying about discovery.

The sophisticated hosting set-up means that if anything happens to one of the site’s hosting providers, the virtual machine can be quickly moved to another hosting company.

But cloud hosting means that The Pirate Bay is virtually raid-proof as there are no physical servers to seize. The underlying servers powering the virtual servers don’t know they’re hosting Pirate Bay — so it’s difficult for police to actually take the site down.


The Pirate Bay Goes To Smartphones?

July 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Mobile

The Pirate Bay, the self-styled “world’s most resilient torrent site”, has released a mobile version of its website for the first time.

The Mobile Bay taps into the increasing storage capacity of mobile devices and the growing number of uncapped 4G data plans.

Offering millions of uploaded torrents from blockbuster movies and TV shows, cracked software packages and pornography, the vast majority of its content is considered illegal in almost every country of the world, leading to a global game of cat and mouse as the outfit adapts to stay online.

Up to now, the only version of the website has been the desktop version which simply resizes, however a spokesperson for The Pirate Bay admitted to Torrentfreak that “the normal version of the site renders like crap on a mobile device”.

The mobile website appears not to have been blocked by UK ISPs as yet, as we were able to access it this afternoon. It has all the functionality of the regular website but with a mobile friendly page format.

Unfortunately, that includes the many adverts for casinos, clandestine video websites and other nasties that manifest as pop-unders on the desktop version.

The Pirate Bay already has its own web browser for the desktop, an adapted version of Firefox that uses privacy tool Tor, and a number of unofficial web browsing apps exist for The Pirate Bay in mobile app stores.

Peter Sunde, a co-founder of the Swedish torrent tracker was recently arrested after being on the run for eight years, having been convicted of aiding copyright infringement in 2009.


Is Demonoid Making A Comeback?

January 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Computing

Demonoid bittorrent tracker site is apparently back after being closed down in 2012.

The site was shut down in August 2012 by Ukrainian authorities following a difficult time in which a DDoS attack temporarily pushed it off the internet.

“Investigators have copied all the information from the servers Demonoid and sealed them,” said an anonymous source from hoster Colocall at the time.

“Some equipment was not seized, but now it does not work, and we were forced to terminate the agreement with the site.”

It was news site Torrentfreak that reported the shutdown, and it is on the same site that we read about its phoenix like return.

Torrentfreak says that this URL has gone live and is in the process of collating some 388,321 torrent files from over one million peers.

“This means that Demonoid has instantly settled itself among the five largest BitTorrent trackers on the Internet,” it adds.

There is no official comment, yet, and Torrentfreak has linked this site to the old one because it shares the same domain. It does, however, appear to be hosted in Sweden.

The old Demonoid was hosted in the Ukraine and was not shut down for breaking any local laws, we are given to understand.

Rather it was wiped from local servers in the preparation for the country’s deputy prime minister Valery Khoroshkovsky’s first trip to the United States.

The old Demonoid “We are closed” page, is still live and still asking for Bitcoins. “Coming back soon, please check back later,” it says. “Thanks for your visit!!”

Responses to the relaunch mostly fall in the skeptical camp.


Is The Pirate Bay Making A Browser?

January 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Computing

The Pirate Bay is working on a censorship-avoiding P2P web browsing experience.

The website is reacting to pressures from rights holders. It is very unpopular among media firms and in the UK, at least, most ISPs are blocking access to it and some other websites like it.

The Pirate Bay has made a number of changes already, most recently having to do with its domain name and address, and it has also been working behind the scenes on a system that makes the website and its Bittorrent links available to users.

“The goal is to create a browser-like client to circumvent censorship, including domain blocking, domain confiscation, IP-blocking. This will be accomplished by sharing all of a site’s indexed data as P2P downloadable packages, that are then browsed/rendered locally,” said a Pirate Bay insider to the Torrentfreak website.

“It’s basically a browser-like app that uses webkit to render pages, Bittorrent to download the content while storing everything locally.”

The Pirate Bay already has its own web browser and that has acquired some 2.5 million users. Released on the 10-year anniversary of the filesharing website, it promised a TOR-based browser bundle. Again, as now, that was pitched as a solution for security and content aware web users.

“Piratebrowser is a bundle package of the TOR client (Vidalia), Firefox Portable browser (with foxyproxy addon) and some custom configs that allows you to circumvent censorship that certain countries such as Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland impose onto their citizens,” it explained.

“While it uses TOR network, which is designed for anonymous surfing, this browser is intended just to circumvent censorship – to remove limits on accessing websites your government doesn’t want you to know about.”


Anonymous Goes After MIT

January 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Computing

Anonymous goes after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) website after its president called for an internal investigation into what role it played in the prosecution of web activist Aaron Swartz.

MIT president Rafael Reif revealed the investigation in an email to staff that he sent out after hearing the news about Swartz’s death.

“I want to express very clearly that I and all of us at MIT are extremely saddened by the death of this promising young man who touched the lives of so many. It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy,” he wrote.

“I have asked Professor Hal Abelson to lead a thorough analysis of MIT’s involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present. I have asked that this analysis describe the options MIT had and the decisions MIT made, in order to understand and to learn from the actions MIT took. I will share the report with the MIT community when I receive it.”

Hacktivists from Anonymous defaced two MIT webpages in the wake of the announcement and turned them into memorials for Swartz.

The defacements also had another message, that the government should back away from this kind of prosecution.

“Whether or not the government contributed to his suicide, the government’s prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for,” they wrote.

“We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.”

Swartz was accused of downloading research documents from academic service JSTOR and using MIT’s networks to do so. If he had been found guilty, he could have been sentenced to up to 35 years in prison.

JSTOR has said that it regrets having been drawn into the case.


Symantec Tracks Down Zero-Day Exploiters

January 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Computing

Symantec thinks that it has tracked down the people behind the recently discovered Internet Explorer zero-day vulnerability.

The firm says that the zero-day exploit appears to have been discovered by the Elderwood group and is a continuation of its Elderwood project, a name given to attacks and exploits based on the same infrastructure components.

The exploit is used in what is called a Watering hole attack, a system whereby people with a specific interest are targeted after visiting a particular website.

It has a less snappy, but more precise name thanks to Microsoft and this is the Microsoft Internet Explorer ‘CDwnBindInfo’ Use-After-Free Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2012-4792).

Symantec informs us that this is a zero-day vulnerability that affects Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 6, adding that the Elderwood project has what appears to be “a high level of technical capability,” in a PDF about the group.

The security firm is confident in saying that the group is behind this discovered exploit because of a number of commonalities that it has discovered in the SWF files used. It warned that the group might continue to devise sophisticated exploits over the course of the year.

“All the samples we identified include a function named HeapSpary. HeapSpary is a clear mistyping of Heap Spray, a common attack step used in vulnerability exploitation. In addition to this commonality, there are many other symbols in common between the files,” Symantec said.

“It has become clear that the group behind the Elderwood Project continues to produce new zero-day vulnerabilities for use in watering hole attacks and we expect them to continue to do so in the New Year.”



Islamic Hackers Go After Lottery Site

October 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Computing

Hackers have attacked the French Euromillions lottery website, posting a passage from the Koran. The hackers posted a warning people to stop gambling and drinking alcohol in both Arabic and French, with “wine” and “games of chance” described as the “work of the devil”.

The group calls itself the “Morrocanghosts” and the attack said that drinking and gambling would “sow hatred between yourselves and turn you away from God and prayer”. Given a choice between wine and god, the French would probably tell the almighty to bugger off, so this particular hack is not going to go down well.

Euromillions lottery operator La Francaise des jeux (FDJ) reassured customers that no personal data had been affected in the attack, which they said had not touched any of their other games. The attempt to put Islamic values on France is so bizarre that there are suspicions that Morrocanghosts is actually an attempt by the French Right to stir up a hate campaign against Muslims in the country.

The French Right is convinced that allowing too many Muslims into the country is forcing culture changes in a nation which is not renown for its adaptability in such matters. A hack attack which pretends to come from Muslims, who want to stop French drinking and gambling, falls too closely to the Right Wing agenda to be a coincidence.


Japan Goes After Online Piracy

October 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Computing

Japan will enforce anti-‘piracy’ laws that criminalize illegally downloading media files.

The penalties see downloaders running the risk of a two year stay in prison and a fine of up to about $25K, according to a BBC report.

The BBC reports that the enforcement proposal follows a lobbying campaign by the Japanese music industry, adding that the penalties could apply even if someone has downloaded only a single file. The laws were passed two years ago, but so far have not been implemented.

Local rightsholders will be hoping that from now on the criminal penalties will be enforced, and in spades. They are the kind of sanctions that rightsholders dream of and are much stricter than the three-strikes policy in the US.

Anyone caught uploading is also treated more sternly, and could be jailed for as long as ten years.

Japan has a large market for media material, and its government apparently is bowing to protect the interests of rightsholders.

This past Summer the Japanese government ratified the draconian Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), despite it being rejected elsewhere.



Anonymous Member Arrested

September 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Computing

One of the leaders of the computer hacker group Anonymous has been arrested and handed over to the FBI in Dallas. It is not clear why Barrett Brown, 31, was arrested as the FBI is not saying anything.

California law firm Leiderman Devine said it would be defending Brown at a hearing in Dallas federal court and that he had been arrested on charges of “threatening a federal agent.” Brown was unusual amongst the Anonymous crowd because he was not er anonymous. He used his real name and tended to be quoted as representative of the group.

While he had been watched for some time, it seems that what got him banged up was a rambling video he posted on YouTube Wednesday called “Why I’m Going to Destroy FBI Agent Robert Smith.”

He said that he was fairly certain he am going to do prison time and while swearing like a Fudzilla reporter, Brown said he planned to “ruin” Smith’s life, adding that the FBI has threatened his mother with arrest and posted pictures of his home on line.




Anonymous Takes Credit For GoDaddy.Com Outage

September 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Popular domain name registrar and Web and email hosting service company GoDaddy is experiencing a severe outage, one that appears to have taken out not only its hosted services, but even those websites that have registered their domain names through GoDaddy.

In a YouTube video, secretive hacking group Anonymous has taken credit for the outage, claiming the move is a reaction to the company’s support of the U.S. government’s efforts “to censor and control the Internet,” through its support of the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA).

GoDaddy has issued a short statement on Twitter, but has not yet given a reason for the outage.

“Status Alert: Hey, all. We’re aware of the trouble people are having with our site. We’re working on it,” the alert stated.

Users started noticing the troubles in the late morning Eastern Time. Customers with GoDaddy-hosted email accounts and websites noticed the outage, as did at least some users who had registered their domain names with GoDaddy, even though their sites are actually hosted elsewhere. When pinged, websites registered with GoDaddy receive only a “ping request could not find host,” message. The site itself went offline.

The reaction across the Internet has been immediate and caustic. “Hi @godaddy. Like everybody else hosted by you, our website is down. Please fix now thanksabunch bye,” a Twitter message from read.

GoDaddy claims to be the world’s largest domain name registrar. The company reportedly manages more than 48 million domain names and serves more than 9.3 million customers.

IDL Goes Live

May 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Internet has a cluster of superheroes ready to defend it, the Internet Defence League (IDL).

The IDL was set up by protest group Fight for the Future following the recent outbreak of web site blackouts that were launched to protest against legislation like SOPA and PIPA. It offers web sites a way to show that they are always ready to defend the internet against attack.

“The Internet Defense League takes the tactic that killed SOPA and PIPA and turns it into a permanent force for defending the internet, and making it better,” it says on its homepage. “Think of it like the internet’s Emergency Broadcast System, or its bat signal!”

Like those earlier protests, the idea is to get the more informed people, people that are actually operating internet properties, into the debate.

“Internet freedom and individual power are changing the course of history. But entrenched institutions and monopolies want this to stop,” explains the group. “Elected leaders often don’t understand the internet, so they’re easily confused or corrupted.”

Anyone that runs a web site is invited to join, and the idea is to get millions of people involved. Once they have joined the IDL they will be given software code to add to their web sites to show that they are members.

When more action is needed, more code will be sent and hopefully millions of web sites will show the same message of opposition. “The next time there’s an emergency, we’ll tell you and send new code,” it adds. “Then it’s your decision to pull the trigger.”

The group’s first targets include ACTA, the draconian Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.




Anonymous Threatens Youtube

March 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It appears that Anonymous has threatened Google’s video sharing web site Youtube with an attack if it does not restore access to a closed-down account.

Youtube has pulled down Anonymous videos before, but it has never raised this much ire. At issue is the web site’s blocking of an account belonging to users called Theanonmessage over a video related to the Kony viral video that spread earlier this month.

Anonymous Messenger @TheAnonMessage

URGENT: #Anonymous vs #YouTube | @YourAnonNews@BreakingNews

“Your block to TheAnonMessage’s account has directly violated first amendment rights of the constitution of the United States. This violation stands against everything our collective believes in. By speaking out against the viral Kony twenty twelve video, Youtube has decided to block a voice of truth,” says a video statement posted ironically to Youtube.

The threat is leveled at Youtube workers as opposed to the web site itself, and this is in line with Anonymous thinking. Through a variety of accounts the hacktivists have always opposed attacks on methods of communication, including Facebook.

“At this time, the collective is thinking of teaching Youtube a lesson. We must stress that the Youtube website will not be affected. It is a medium of communication and knowledge that has fallen in the wrong hands. However, we will take a course of action that will have Youtube executives awake at night and afraid for their sanity.”

Individuals at organisations have been targeted by the hackers before, but usually only if they poke their heads up and comment on or criticise the group and its methods.




Anonymous Goes After The Corrupt

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Anonymous has promised that it will attack government, corporate and law enforcement web sites every Friday.

The hacker group already has a tradition of attacking web sites on a Friday, which it does under its ‘F*ck FBI Friday’, ‘F*ck CIA Friday’ and ‘Leakday’ banners. From now on this will become more encompassing, according to a short message posted to an Anonymous Twitter account.

AnonOps @anonops

#Anonymous Promises Regularly Scheduled Friday Attacks >>

20 Feb 12

“Each and every Friday Anonymous will be launching attacks… with the specific purpose of wiping as many corrupt corporate and government systems off our internet,” it says.

Last Friday the hacktivists ran through US government web sites on a defacement spree. In some cases they were able to delete the web site contents from their servers, in others they took over web pages with anti-ACTA messages.

Other Fridays have seen Anonymous expose the details and messages of law enforcement agencies.




Pirate Bay Takes A Jab At The Music Industry

February 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Pirate Bay has responded to criticisms from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), painting the organisation as quite mad.

The RIAA fired the first salvo in the war of words, as other battles are being waged online and in government, when it accused The Pirate Bay of being a dreadful copyright thief.

The RIAA was commenting on the Pirate Bay’s decision to upsticks and move to a Swedish .se web domain and accused it of being brazen, and “one of the worst of the worst”.

“A blatantly illegal file-sharing site, proud that it’s an online bazaar of every conceivable U.S. copyrighted work, found criminally responsible by its own country’s legal system and who has been ordered by courts in at least seven European countries to be blocked by ISPs, has publicly acknowledged changing its domain name to escape U.S. laws,” wrote the RIAA in a blog post.

“It is motivated by its brazen philosophy of thumbing its nose at the basic rights of America’s creators. It is, in a phrase, one of the worst of the worst.”

A spokesman for The Pirate Bay has responded in a guest post at Torrentfreak. There a spokesman named “Winston” – with credit to George Orwell – said that this statement shows how detached and delusional the music industry has become.

“The piece gives us ample information on just how delusional the recording industry really is, and shows why they must be stopped,” said Winston in response to the post from Mitch Glazier, an impressively over-titled senior executive vice president at the RIAA.

“In the very first sentence Glazier uses the phrase ‘copyright theft’. It’s an interesting concept – if anyone in history ever stole copyright, it must be the record industry… A small lesson to Mr Glazier: If someone steals something, you don’t have it anymore. If you copy it, both have it. This means: If someone steals your copyright (aka ‘copyright theft’) you don’t have the copyright anymore. I’m having a hard time to see that happening though, since copyright isn’t really physical.”

Winston pokes fun at the RIAA, saying that it is out of date and relying on archaic arguments to shore up its cause.

“Maybe (jobs lost to ‘piracy’) just aren’t needed anymore! That’s what technology does! Sorry, it’s 2012 not 1912 – do you want to forbid robots as well, since they steal jobs?” he asks.

Referring back to Glaziers comment about the web site being banned in a number of countries, and relating it to the recent European Court of Justice Sabam decision that outlawed monitoring and filtering content, he suggested that the RIAA might be supporting illegal activity.

“And Mr. Glazier, talking about the countries in the EU that you have forced ISPs to block TPB (and other sites) is interesting, as the European Court has just decided that these types of censorship are just that – censorship, and should be treated as illegal,” he added. “Could we see your view on the matter, as the RIAA is clearly supporting illegal censorship?”

There is no love lost between the parties, of course, and while the RIAA suggests that it wants to work with the technology industry, The Pirate Bay will have nothing to do with it.

“F*ck that. You’re not in charge. If you want the help of the tech industry, ask for it. You’ll probably get it since most tech people are nice. You’re not in charge anymore and that’s probably why you’re pissed off,” he said.

“The recording industry is like a kid screaming for candy. The problem is that the kid has diabetes.”



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