Feeds

Siphoning MySpace tunes using Safari

MySpace leaves them free for the taking

The essential guide to IT transformation

When it comes to protecting digital content holders from the hordes of naughty file grabbers, you'll be hard pressed to find a more zealous partner than Apple. So we were surprised to learn that Apple's Safari browser makes it easy to download MP3 files hosted on MySpace that are supposed to be limited to streaming only.

MySpace programmers have taken pains to obfuscate the location of the MP3 file music artists embed into their MySpace profiles. Until now, pirates had to use programs like Ethereal or Burp to divine where a tune was stored. But thanks to a Safari feature called the Activity Window, that cumbersome process is no longer necessary.

We read Dave Shanley's writeup of the technique and were able to replicate the process, although with a few minor modifications.

At the moment, we're huge fans of the Dexateens, a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, quintet that plays a gritty, southern-fried psychedelia infused with punk. (So moved are we with their song "Makers Mound" from their most recent album that the sectors of our hard drive where that song is stored have been damn near ground to dust.)

So we were eager to see if we could use the technique to acquire "Lost and Found," a demo that we're pretty sure can't be acquired anywhere else. It took us a little while, but we got it. Here's how:

  • Safari will open that link, but it won't tell you very much without a little prompting. To do this, choose View Source from the view menu. You now have a window that contains lots and lots of links. Finding the link to the demo is as simple as searching for the string "mp3."

There are a few caveats. MySpace appears to behave differently depending on your IP address. For instance, if you're in California and put the last link into a browser, you're likely to get an error message indicating you are not authorized to access the file. We got around this by using the Unblock City web proxy.

We were also stymied by QuickTime, which popped up as soon as we were able to access the page. It presented us with a window pimping QuickTime Pro, which we were told is needed to actually download the file. Now, we know there's a way to change settings so QuickTime isn't invoked each time we click on an MP3 link, but we really, really wanted to download this demo. So we simply uninstalled QuickTime.

(We'd be indebted if someone would add a comment below reminding us how the hell to appoint some other player that doesn't try to punt pesky up-sell pop-ups.)

The lesson here is the same one we've heard over and over. Technology designed to limit what can be done with files distributed over the net to millions of people are at best a mere inconvenience. There's no putting the toothpaste back in the tube. Once you release something online, it's pretty much out there forever.

It's also worth noting that it's MySpace that has left the door open here. Safari is just an enabler that makes the hack easier than using a third-party app.

The insecurity doesn't seem to be lost on the Dexateens. The MP3 file containing their demo is encoded at a paltry 96 kbps. Any fan worth his salt is going to want a better sounding version of this song once it becomes available. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.