Feeds

BitTorrent-busters busted by BitTorrent

Email leak exposes stealth P2P honeypot

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

MediaDefender vows to protect the big-name movie studios and record labels from attack by P2P file sharers. But it seems to have trouble protecting itself.

Over the weekend, what looks like nine months of internal MediaDefender email messages turned up on BitTorrent sites across the net, in an apparent exposé of the company's internal operations. The messages would seem to prove that the company uses particularly nasty tactics in its ongoing efforts to bring down file-sharers everywhere - which is news to no one.

In July, P2P-centric blog TorrentFreak reported that MediaDefender had set up a fake video-download site called MiiVi to entrap unsuspecting file-sharers, and according to the purported email leak, the report was right on the money.

Apparently, when TorrentFreak first broke the MiiVi story, MediaDefender chief Randy Saaf sent his business buddies an email that read "This is really fucked. Let’s pull miivi offline."

MediaDefender claims it introduced the world to "Internet Piracy Prevention," or "IPP," and as far as The Reg is concerned, it's more than welcome to do so. Since opening its doors in 2000, the company has been "contracted by every major record label and every major movie studio" to crackdown on the unauthorized sharing of copyright content online. Evidently, MediaDefender defends media from BitTorrent users.

Well, a new group is defending BitTorrent users from MediaDefender. This weekend's email leak comes courtesy of a rebel alliance calling itself MediaDefender-Defenders. "By releasing these emails we hope to secure the privacy and personal integrity of all peer-to-peer users," the group said, via the BitTorrent services it hopes to protect.

The group also had a few choice words for one MediaDefender staff member in particular. "A special thanks to Jay Maris, for circumventing [MediaDefender's] entire email-security by forwarding all your emails to your gmail account, and using the really highly secure password: blahbob."

We think that "really highly secure" bit is sarcasm. MediaDefender wouldn't return our phone calls, but an unnamed employee told The Wall Street Journal that "the company is investigating how the emails were leaked".

In a previous interview with Ars Technica, CEO Randy Saaf denied that MiiVi was used to entrap file sharers, claiming it was an internal project accidentally released to the web, but the emails released by MediaDefender-Defender indicate otherwise.

In one message, MediaDefender's Ben Grodsky tells colleagues they shouldn't say all that much about MiiVi when interviewing for new jobs, worried that candidates might be reporters in disguise. "If anyone asks anything about MiiVi, just reiterate what Randy has said online (it was an internal video project that we probably should have password protected...NO part of the project was a honeypot designed to trap downloaders)."

The emails go on to reveal all sorts of additional efforts to combat internet file sharing, including the spewing of fake torrent files, but it would seem that many of the company's tactics were less than effective. In one in-bound message, an exec with the Sony BMG record label points out that MediaDefender spent several months failing to prevent unauthorized downloads of Beyonce's "Beautiful Liar" on a site called Soulseek. "Can you please investigate the problem and ACTUALLY solve it?"

But our favorite bit involves another message from Saaf. In forwarding a note from the Universal Music Group, which asks if music industry lawsuits had succeeded in throttling P2P traffic on college campuses, the MediaDefender chief tells his employees: "Take a moment to laugh to yourselves." ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.