Feeds

Old Morpheus still works for unhacked users

P2P networks hack given a fresh twist

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Updated Older versions of the Morpheus file sharing utility still work, Register readers have discovered to their surprise.

Earlier this month Music City Morpheus ditched support for the P2P stack supplied by developer FastTrack and embraced the open source Gnutella protocol, with the launch of Morpheus Preview Edition.

The move was accompanied by accusations from Morpheus that its servers had been subject to a denial of service attack, and that messages which changed its users' registry setting had made the service unavailable.

Music City pointed the finger of blame towards KaZaA.com (recently acquired by Sharman Network Services), which like MusicCity's Morpheus and Grokster has licensed the FastTrack P2P stack. MusicCity described FastTrack-KaZaA software as a security risk (or a vector for spyware).

Not so, says FastTrack-KaZaA.

KaZaA founder Niklas Zennstrom told CNet that StreamCast Networks, the firm behind Music City Morpheus, had failed to pay its bills, so the license for its P2P stack was terminated.

Sharman Network Services and KaZaA deny any involvement in the hacking attacks, and Sharman has issued a statement saying KaZaA.com was also subjected to malicious DoS attacks.

On February 28, the KaZaA.com Web site was "bombarded by hundreds of thousands of http requests", which prevented users from accessing the site or downloading KaZaA Media Desktop 1.5 for five hours, it said.

Whoever did it is hard to say, but we've recently received evidence that someone with in-depth knowledge of KaZaA has been playing silly buggers.

Shenanigans

Register reader Haavard Pettersen's recent experiences suggest someone had indeed tampered with people's computers to prevent them from using Morpheus.

When Pettersen tried to use an older version of Morpheus (on a Windows 98 partition), that hasn't been used since before Morpheus went down, he discovered to his surprise that it still worked.

In XP, he couldn't get either old Morpheus or Preview Edition to work, incidentally.

Russ Spooner, a security consultants at Interrorem and former Morpheus user, confirms Pettersen's experience.

"Clearly the FastTrack client part of the software (used in KaZaA, Grokster and Morpheus) has a backdoor in it that allows the knowledgeable few to fire special packets at clients logged into the FastTrack network which will enable them to modify registry settings," Spooner told us.

"It would appear that for a period of time they had effectively a login script sitting on the authentication servers that basically said 'if (client==morpheus ){ modify registry}'," he added.

The offending login script has now been removed, he notes, so now the original clients work fine, "just so long as they were not exposed to the evil pathogen".

Sharman Network Services (which contrary to what we earlier reported only licenses the FastTrack stack) referred our queries on this to KaZaA founder Niklas Zennstrom. We'll fill you on what he says when he gets back to us.

Both Morpheus and KaZaA are embroiled in copyright violation lawsuits brought against them by the music industry. Yesterday StreamCast Networks announced plans to use digital rights management technology called CintoA to protect the copyright of independent artists, while allowing its users to continue sharing free files.

Whether this will appease its critics, such as the Recording Industry Ass. of America and the Motion Picture Ass. of America, seems doubtful. ®

Related stories

Morpheus fesses up to user lockout security breach
Morpheus goes to sleep - users locked out
Morpheus application is 'safe'
KaZaA.com 'evaluates' Dutch court ban
Ala-KaZaA-m!
KaZaA ordered to cease infringing copyright
Napster to ask court to reaffirm Appeal Court ruling
Get your filthy hands off my CDs
RIAA targets post-Napster MP3 sharers
Popular file-share utilities contain Trojans

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?