Monday 19 February 2018

Niall Byrne: Pirates making mischief

Niall Byrne

Those pesky 4Chan kids are at it again. A targeted campaign from a fragmented group of like-minded individuals who often call themselves 'Anonymous' has taken on the entertainment industry.

It all started when Indian anti-piracy company AiPlex admitted, foolishly, that they aggressively launched "denial of service" attacks on uncooperative BitTorrent sites.

The result of a Distributed Denial of Service attack or DDoS is that a website gets completely hammered with requests until the server that hosts the site cannot take any more and crashes.

AiPlex were hired by a movie studio to stop the pirating of new movie releases, but this confession annoyed the 4Chan community enough to counter-attack.

They launched a massive response to the news -- they issued a large operation to take down AiPlex's server and then moved onto the internet home of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) which took just eight minutes to bring down.

Usually a DDoS attack comes from no more than a few sources, so it can be easy to block. But if a co-ordinated and global attack such as 4Chan's response occurs, the number of IP addresses used becomes almost impossible to stop.

The campaign, nicknamed Operation Payback, removed those two sites from the web temporarily until the companies could figure out how to fix it. At time of writing, 'Anonymous' are saying the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the next target.

It's a reminder of just how powerful and mischievous piracy advocates can be. In August, popular BitTorrent site TorrentReactor claims it bought a Russian village. No joke. The total cost? $150,000 (approximately €115,000).

It sounds like a publicity stunt, but the site has reportedly bought the rights to rename the remote town of Gar which is located near the Seversk nuclear reactor in the Tomsk region of Russia. TorrentReactor claims the population of the town accepted the deal as the money went directly to improving the quality of life of the town's 214 inhabitants.

Gar has no working business, only three PCs and the majority of the town sell their homegrown vegetables to a nearby town for income, it is claimed.

One of Gar's most respected citizens is quoted as saying: "Of course, we lose some of our history by renaming the village. But we will be able to create perspectives for our youth and the village in general, so we think it's a fair deal."

Irish Independent

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