UK Police Shut Down MP3 Search Engine MP3Juices

mp3juicesOver the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content. The police started by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign targeted at domain registrars, asking them to suspend the domain names of several “illegal” sites. Most registrars have denied these suspension requests because they lack any legal basis, but some are cooperating. Yesterday another site fell victim to the police’s campaign after MP3Juices.com had its domain name suspended. The MP3 search engine was relatively popular with well over a million visitors per month. For now, these visitors will have to find an alternative as the site currently displays a prominent police banner. “You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK: Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement,” the banner reads.
pipcu
The domain was suspended by domain name registrar Internet.bs, who previously suspended the domains of several other sites including Cricfree.tv. Interestingly, the latter was allowed to transfer its domain to another registrar after it threatened to take legal steps. TorrentFreak asked PIPCU for a comment on the latest domain suspension but we have yet to hear back. Increasingly, owners of alleged pirate sites are looking for safe registrars that won’t give in to complaints from authorities overseas. The Canadian registrar EasyDNS appears to be a safer choice, as the company protests PIPCU’s efforts fiercely. PIPCU is not happy with these non-cooperative registrars and a few weeks ago the police sent EasyDNS a threatening letter, suggesting that the company itself could be held liable for aiding and abetting a criminal operation. TorrentFreak spoke with a source who has been following the response of site owners to the recent domain perils, and he suggested that bypassing registrars altogether may become a new trend. “Cutting out the registrar and going directly to the TLD’s registry is the best way. Through Iceland for example. ISNIC would only respond to a court order in Iceland, not threats from police,” we were told. Iceland’s ISNIC would indeed be a safe option. The organization previously told us that it will not take any action without a court order, and later condemned PIPCU’s domain suspension requests. Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Police Freeze Mega Shares in Money Laundering Investigation

megaWhile facing an extradition to America for his role in the so-called “Megaupload Conspiracy”, Kim Dotcom launched a new cloud storage venture, Mega. Now, this new service is being indirectly linked to a crime ring by local authorities. Today Mega announced that one of its major shareholders William Yan, also known as Bill Liu, is suspected of having connections to a large crime ring. Pending further investigation the police has put the 18.8% share held through Yan’s companies under restraining order. Yan has not been formally charged and through his lawyer denied any wrong-doing. Mega itself is not believed to be connected to the alleged crimes. “The Police have commented that their action does not affect any innocent third parties (such as Mega) who have had business dealings with Mr Yan,” Mega CEO Graham Gaylard says commenting on the news. “Mega has been extremely diligent to ensure that all its operations are fully compliant with all legal and regulatory requirements. Mega does not undertake any illegal activities and does not wish to be associated with any such activity,” Gaylard adds. Kim Dotcom says that William Yan was properly screened before he became a shareholder. The New Zealand entrepreneur, who himself is accused of money laundering by the United States, said that no alarm bells went off at the time. “He is an investor who put money into Mega because he believed in it. I had no idea he had any problems or issues,” Dotcom told the Herald. The news comes at an unfortunate time for Mega, which intends to go public on the New Zealand stock exchange through a backdoor listing. As a result of the restraining order the trading in shares of the backdoor listing vehicle TRS has been temporarily halted. Despite the problems of its shareholder, Mega’s CEO doesn’t believe the company will be affected. Gaylard stresses that all funds received by Mega were paid by Yan’s lawyers through banks that operate under stringent anti money laundering policies. “Mega has never had any reason to suspect that such funds resulted from any illegal activity, and the Restraining Order will not affect the operations of Mega,” Gaylard says. “For us it is business as usual.” Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 08/25/14

maleThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Maleficent is the most downloaded movie for the second week in a row.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (1) Maleficent 7.4 / trailer
2 (9) Godzilla (Webrip) 7.1 / trailer
3 (2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier 8.1 / trailer
4 (3) Divergent 7.2 / trailer
5 (…) The Fault in Our Stars 8.3 / trailer
6 (4) X-Men: Days of Future Past (HDrip/TS) 8.4 / trailer
7 (5) 22 Jump Street (TS) 7.8 / trailer
8 (6) The Prince 4.6 / trailer
9 (…) Draft Day 6.8 / trailer
10 (6) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 7.4 / trailer

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Attackers Can ‘Steal’ Bandwidth From BitTorrent Seeders, Research Finds

swarmBitTorrent is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to share large files over the Internet. The popular file-sharing protocol is used by dozens of millions of people every day and accounts for a substantial amount of total Internet traffic.

This popularity makes BitTorrent an interesting target for attacks, which various anti-piracy companies have shown in the past. One of these possible attacks was recently unveiled by Florian Adamsky, researcher at the City University London.

In an article published in “Computers & Security” Adamsky and his colleagues reveal an exploit which allows attackers to get a higher download rate from seeders than other people.

In technical terms, the exploit misuses BitTorrent’s choking mechanism of clients that use the “Allowed Fast” extension. Attackers can use this to keep a permanent connection with seeders, requesting the same pieces over and over.

The vulnerability was extensively tested in swarms of various sizes and the researchers found that three malicious peers can already slow download times up to 414.99%. When the number of attackers is greater compared to the number of seeders, the worse the effect becomes.

The impact of the attack further depends on the download clients being used by the seeders in the swarm. The mainline BitTorrent clients and uTorrent are not vulnerable for example, while Vuze, Transmission and Libtorrent-based clients are.

TorrentFreak spoke with Adamsky who predicts that similar results are possible in real swarms. Even very large swarms of more than 1,000 seeders could be affected through a botnet, although it’s hard to predict the precise impact.

“If an attacker uses a botnet to attack the swarm, I think it would be possible to increase the average download time of all peers [of swarms with 1,000 seeders] up to three times,” Adamsky tells us.

“If most of the clients would have a vulnerable client like Vuze or Transmission it would be possible to increase the average download time up ten times,” he adds.

In their paper the researchers suggest a relatively easy fix to the problem, through an update of the “Allowed Fast” extension. In addition, they also propose a new seeding algorithm that is less prone to these and other bandwidth attacks.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

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