Posts tagged ‘canada’

TorrentFreak: Cloudflare Reveals Pirate Site Locations in an Instant

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

cloudflareFive years ago, discovering the physical location of almost any ‘pirate’ site was achievable in a matter of seconds using widely available online tools. All one needed was an IP address and a simple lookup.

As sites became more aware of the need for security, cloaking efforts became more commonplace. Smaller sites, private trackers in particular, began using tunnels and proxies to hide their true locations, hampering anti-piracy efforts in the process. Later these kinds of techniques were used on even the largest sites, The Pirate Bay for example.

In the meantime the services of a rising company called Cloudflare had begun to pique the interest of security-minded site owners. Designed to optimize the performance of sites while blocking various kinds of abuse, Cloudflare-enabled sites get to exchange their regular IP address for one operated by Cloudflare, a neat side-effect for a site wishing to remain in the shadows.

cloud-pir

Today, Cloudflare ‘protects’ dozens – perhaps hundreds – of ‘pirate’ sites. Some use Cloudflare for its anti-DDoS capabilities but all get to hide their real IP addresses from copyright holders. This has the potential to reduce the amount of DMCA notices and other complaints filtering through to their real hosts.

Surprisingly, however, belief persists in some quarters that Cloudflare is an impenetrable shield that allows ‘pirate’ sites to operate completely unhindered. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

In recent days a perfect example appeared in the shape of Sparvar (Sparrows), a Swedish torrent site that has been regularly hounded by anti-piracy outfit Rights Alliance. Sometime after moving to Canada in 2014, Sparvar began using the services of Cloudflare, which effectively cloaked the site’s true location from the world. Well, that was the theory.

According to an announcement from the site, Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén recently approached Cloudflare in an effort to uncover Sparvar’s email address and the true location of its servers. The discussions between Rights Alliance and Cloudflare were seen by Sparvar, which set alarm bells ringing.

“After seeing the conversations between Rights Alliance and server providers / CloudFlare we urge staff of other Swedish trackers to consider whether the risk they’re taking is really worth it,” site staff said.

“All that is required is an email to CloudFlare and then [anti-piracy companies] will have your IP address.”

As a result of this reveal, Sparvar is now offline. No site or user data has been compromised but it appears that the site felt it best to close down, at least for now.

spar-down

This obviously upset users of the site, some of whom emailed TorrentFreak to express disappointment at the way the situation was handled by Cloudflare. However, Cloudflare’s terms and conditions should leave no doubt as to how the company handles these kinds of complaints.

One clause in which Cloudflare reserves the right to investigate not only sites but also their operators, it’s made crystal clear what information may be given up to third parties.

“You acknowledge that CloudFlare may, at its own discretion, reveal the information about your web server to alleged copyright holders or other complainants who have filed complaints with us,” the company writes.

The situation is further underlined when Cloudflare receives DMCA notices from copyright holders and forwards an alert to a site using its services.

“We have provided the name of your hosting provider to the reporter. Additionally, we have forwarded this complaint to your hosting provider as well,” the site’s abuse team regular advises.

While Cloudflare itself tends not to take direct action against sites it receives complaints about, problems can mount if a copyright holder is persistent enough. Just recently Cloudflare was ordered by a U.S. court to discontinue services to a Grooveshark replacement. That site is yet to reappear.

Finally, Sparvar staff have some parting advice for other site operators hoping to use Cloudflare services without being uncovered.

“We hope that you do not have your servers directly behind CloudFlare which means a big security risk. We hope and believe that you are also running some kind of reverse proxy,” the site concludes.

At the time of publication, Henrik Pontén of Rights Alliance had not responded to our requests for comment.

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

LWN.net: [$] A report from PGCon 2015

This post was syndicated from: LWN.net and was written by: jake. Original post: at LWN.net

PGCon 2015, the PostgreSQL
international developer conference, took place in Ottawa, Canada from June
16 to 20. This PGCon involved a change in format from prior editions, with
a “developer unconference” in the two days before the main conference
program. Both the conference and the unconference covered a wide range of
topics, many of them related to horizontal or vertical scaling, or to new
PostgreSQL features.

Subscribers can click below for a report from the conference from guest author Josh Berkus.

LWN.net: A report from PGCon 2015

This post was syndicated from: LWN.net and was written by: jake. Original post: at LWN.net

PGCon 2015, the PostgreSQL
international developer conference, took place in Ottawa, Canada from June
16 to 20. This PGCon involved a change in format from prior editions, with
a “developer unconference” in the two days before the main conference
program. Both the conference and the unconference covered a wide range of
topics, many of them related to horizontal or vertical scaling, or to new
PostgreSQL features.

Subscribers can click below for a report from the conference from guest author Josh Berkus.

Source Code in TV and Films: It seems that the code is from the C++ polymorphism example from…

This post was syndicated from: Source Code in TV and Films and was written by: Source Code in TV and Films. Original post: at Source Code in TV and Films

It seems that the code is from the C++ polymorphism example from the University of Regina, Canada. It can be found under:

ftp://www.cs.uregina.ca/pub/class/cplusplus/Poly.html

The code is shown at 01:18:30 in the film “The Outsider” (2014).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2198241/?ref_=fn_al_tt_4

Hope you can use it.

Mario.

TorrentFreak: Game of Thrones Season Finale Breaks Piracy Record

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

thronesThe fifth season of Game of Thrones has been the most-viewed so far, both through official channels and among pirates.

With this in mind the season finale was expected to be a record breaker, and it didn’t disappoint.

With the Internet abuzz over the latest plot twist and turns, many people turned to torrent sites to grab a pirated copy of the show, which appeared online shortly after the broadcast ended.

Data gathered by TorrentFreak shows that during the first eight hours, the season finale has been downloaded an estimated 1.5 million times already.

Never before have we seen this many downloads in such a short period of time, and last year it took half a day to reach the same number. Based on this figure, the download count is expected to increase to more than 10 million during the days to come.

A brief inspection of the download locations shows that Game of Thrones pirates come from all over the world, as we’ve seen previously. The show is particularly popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and India.

While HBO began warning individual downloaders earlier this year, the piracy demand appears to keep growing. In addition to the 1.5 million downloads the latest episode is also on track to beat the piracy swarm record.

At the time of writing the Demonii tracker reports that 224,449 people are sharing a single torrent at the same time. 144,201 are sharing a complete copy of that particular torrent while 80,248 are still downloading.

The current record stands at a quarter million active sharers, but this is usually reached later in the day. We will update this article in a few hours with an updated count.

Over the past three years Game of Thrones has been the most pirated TV-show. Based on the number of downloads this season, the same result will be achieved in 2015.

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

TorrentFreak: Google Fails to Overturn Worldwide Site-Blocking Order

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

The prominence of Google in endless Internet-related matters often sees the company get tangled up in the disputes of others. A case from 2014 provides a particularly interesting example.

Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack saw two Canadian entities embroiled in legal action over stolen intellectual property used to manufacture competing products.

Google has no direct links to the case whatsoever, yet it became sucked in when Equustek Solutions claimed that Google’s search results were helping to send visitors to websites operated by the defendants (former Equustek employees) that were selling unlawful products.

Google previously removed links to the sites from its Google.ca results on a voluntary basis, but Equustek wanted a broader response. In a subsequent court ruling handed in British Columbia, Google was ordered to remove the infringing websites’ listings from its central database in the United States, meaning that the ruling had worldwide implications.

Google was given a little under two weeks to comply with the decision but quickly appealed in the hope of achieving a better outcome. Now, a year later, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has handed down its decision and it’s more bad news for Google.

According to an analysis by Canadian law professor Michael Geist, the decision addresses two key questions, both involving jurisdiction.

i) Whether the court has jurisdiction over Google

ii) Whether the injunction handed down in Canada has power outside its borders

On the first issue, Google argued that it does not operate servers in British Columbia, nor does it have any local offices. However, the Court decided that the company does carry out business in the region.

“Google does not have resident employees, business offices, or servers in the Province, but its activities in gathering data through web crawling software, in distributing targeted advertising to users in British Columbia, and in selling advertising to British Columbia businesses are sufficient to uphold the chambers judge’s finding that it does business in the Province,” the ruling (pdf) reads.

On the second issue – whether a court order handed down in British Columbia could have jurisdiction beyond its borders – the Court of Appeal again ruled against Google.

“British Columbia courts are called upon to adjudicate disputes involving foreign residents on a daily basis, and the fact that their decisions may affect the activities of those people outside the borders of British Columbia is not determinative of whether an order may be granted,” the ruling reads.

Noting Google’s concerns that it could potentially be “subjected to restrictive orders from courts in all parts of the world, each concerned with its own domestic law,” the court underlined the importance of exercising caution when handing down orders that have the potential to limit expression in another country. However, it found no problem with the ruling of the lower Court.

“In the case before us, there is no realistic assertion that the judge’s order will offend the sensibilities of any other nation. It has not been suggested that the order prohibiting the defendants from advertising wares that violate the intellectual property rights of the plaintiffs offends the core values of any nation,” the ruling reads.

However, should any nation have an issue with the decision, they are free to appeal, the ruling adds.

“In the unlikely event that any jurisdiction finds the order offensive to its core values, an application could be made to the court to modify the order so as to avoid the problem.”

Dismissing Google’s appeal, Justice Groberman signs off on the blocking injunction in Equustek Solutions’ favor.

“The plaintiffs have established, in my view, that an order limited to the
google.ca search site would not be effective. I am satisfied that there was a basis, here, for giving the injunction worldwide effect,” the Judge concludes.

Google is reportedly considering its options, with an escalation to the Supreme Court a potential (but as yet unconfirmed) outcome.

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

TorrentFreak: Criminals When You Pirate, Criminals When You Pay

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

facepalm-featuredFor many in the Internet community the occasional download is not only a petty matter, but in some cases entirely justifiable.

File-sharers are often people who turned to unofficial sources thanks to a content vacuum created by Big Media and following abusive pricing practices that took advantage of the supply monopoly. While not excusable, their actions should hardly come as a surprise.

But despite the fact that most downloading is a civil issue that the majority of courts have little to no time for, efforts to characterize the act as ‘criminal’ and to label participants as ‘thieves’ persist. However, since Joe Public accepts that file-sharing of copyright content must be “wrong” on some level, he understands why people might be upset and grudgingly accepts the label.

Recently, however, (and perhaps in response to piracy) prices have been falling. Content is more readily available online too, brilliantly so in the case of music, less so in the case of movies. But things are getting there, there’s little doubt about that. The reasons to become a “criminal” are happily becoming fewer.

Of course, people still pirate. Some exclusively so, others to augment their legitimate supply of Spotify music and Netflix video. The first group might never pay, but the latter is getting the idea. They’re enjoying having access to tens of millions of streaming tracks and the ability to conveniently binge-watch TV. They’re signed up paying customers, a fitting “Hollywood-ending” to a pirate career.

And then they get shit on again.

Users of Netflix outside the U.S. are beginning to realize (if they haven’t known forever) that by using a VPN they can get access to more content than they can normally. They’re paying for the service, what’s wrong with that? Well, apparently something called ‘licensing’ forbids them from doing so – as if any Netflix customer anywhere gives a damn about that?

In most other environments, when one legitimately buys something from overseas – Internet services in particular – there are no issues. You pay hard cash, the supplier gets paid and everyone is happy. But with Netflix (through no fault of theirs) the proverbial hits the fan.

Paying customers who use a VPN to access the service are now regularly accused of a myriad of offenses, from breaching Netflix’s license to being morally corrupt. Worst still, and like their Pirate Bay-using counterparts, they too are being labeled as criminals by elements of the entertainment industry.

Just this week Bell Media chief Mary Ann Turcke described her own 15-year-old daughter as a “thief” after learning she’d accessed U.S. Netflix from Canada.

Her own daughter. A thief. A criminal. A menace to society. No better than someone who downloads movies for free and doesn’t pay the industry even a single dime. Come on! Is this really the route we want to go down?

What can possibly be achieved by using the same aggressive terms to describe a shoplifter, a Pirate Bay user and someone who actually pays to use a legitimate service?

Earlier this week, Andy Archibald, deputy director of the UK’s National Crime Agency’s Cyber Crime Unit, described the downloading of films, music and games as a gateway to more serious crime.

“That’s criminality. It’s almost become acceptable,” Archibald told the Infosecurity Europe conference in London.

“That’s the first stages, I believe, of a gateway into the dark side.”

Ok, stop right there. If file-sharers are thieves on their way to the dark side, then are Netflix VPN “thieves” on their way to the dark side too?

Of course not, they’re paying customers who, if people like Mary Ann Turcke is lucky, will turn a blind eye to being insulted by the very people whose pockets they are lining with money.

It has to stop now. Shoplifting = theft. Piracy = copyright infringement.

Netflix+VPN = cross-border shopping in a free market – get used to it or adapt.

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

TorrentFreak: Netflix Chief: Piracy Prepared Internet Users For Us

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

netflix-logoFor years the global entertainment industries have bemoaned the state of Spanish market. Rampant online piracy meant that the country was regularly described as a piracy haven and its Internet generation a bunch of common thieves.

Struggling economy aside, part of the problem in Spain (particularly on the video front) has been the lack of decent legal alternatives. Back in August 2011, rumors spread that Netflix was about to launch in the country after successes in the U.S. and Canada, but that never came to pass.

Instead, just months later Spain was told by the United States that it would end up on a trade blacklist if it didn’t reel in piracy. In the years that followed the country did what it could to comply and earlier this year ordered the blocking of The Pirate Bay.

Now, four years after its first attempt at breaking into the country, Netflix has confirmed it will launch in Spain later this year. Speaking in an interview with Spanish publication El Mundo, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says he’s excited for the launch which he believes will be one of the company’s best so far.

“I think Spain will be one of our most successful countries. There is a high rate of Internet connectivity and a population that is accustomed to the use of electronic commerce and that has shown signs of being interested in our product. We are very optimistic,” Hastings says.

But of course, piracy is a big part of the puzzle. Tech-savvy Spaniards have a long history of using every conceivable file-sharing system to grab content, in some cases a full decade before official vendors turned up in their country. However, the Netflix CEO isn’t fazed by the piracy problem. In fact, the company probably has a lot to be grateful for.

“Well, you can call it a problem, but the truth is that [piracy] has also created a public that is now used to viewing content on the Internet,” Hastings says.

He has a point. Pirates certainly have a clearer idea of what to expect from an online service so for many the switch could be fairly seamless. However, Hastings believes that on the convenience front, Netflix could even beat the pirates at their own game.

“We offer a simpler and more immediate alternative to finding a torrent,” Hastings says.

“In Holland we had a similar situation. That too was a country with a high rate of piracy. And the same thing happened in Canada. In both countries we are a successful service.”

Somewhat refreshingly (and in contrast to the claims of most entertainment companies) Netflix isn’t scared of competing against ‘free’ either.

“We can think of this as the bottled water business. Tap water can be drunk and is free, but there is still a public that demands bottled water,” Hastings says.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the service set to launch in Spain later this year won’t be the ‘full fat’ version consumers elsewhere (in varying degrees) are accustomed to. There will be a lot of content, but Hastings says that subscribers should expect a line up similar to that offered previously during the launch of the service in France and Germany.

“In each country we have to start with a smaller catalog and begin to expand gradually as the number of registered users grows. In the UK, for example, we now have a fairly extensive catalog of TV series and movies after three years of activity there,” Hastings explains.

“Our offering is expansive in Latin America too, but it is much easier to negotiate and acquire rights when you buy for a large subscriber base as we now have in the United States.”

Only time will tell if the arrival of Netflix will begin to turn the piracy tide in Spain. For a cash-strapped nation with high unemployment every penny counts, but at an expected eight euros per month, Netflix should be within reach of a significant number of households.

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

TorrentFreak: My Daughter is a Netflix VPN Thief, Media Boss Confesses

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

sadpirateWhile the video entertainment business needs to do better, Netflix is definitely going some way to filling the online movie and TV show streaming void. Nevertheless, even when consumers put their hands in their pockets for the service, elements of the industry still find cause to complain.

The issue is one of geo-location. Essentially, users of Netflix in the United States get a more content-rich service than those accessing it from elsewhere. These restrictions are easily overcome by using a VPN service to tunnel in to the U.S. from outside but that annoys content companies no end. Licensing deals are to be respected, they argue.

Just lately critics of the phenomenon have switched from using terms such as “geo-blocking”, favoring the emotive “Netflix piracy” and “Netflix theft” instead. Yesterday another heavyweight poured more fuel on the fire and pointed the finger at her own family while doing so.

Mary Ann Turcke is the new boss of BCE Inc.’s Bell Media division in Canada. In a keynote speech to the Canadian Telecom Summit yesterday, Turcke raised the issue of Netflix but surprisingly relayed a story from within her own household, triggered by a ‘Life Pro Tip’ from her own daughter.

“Mom, did you know that you can hack into U.S. Netflix and get sooo many more shows?” Turcke’s 15-year-old-daughter revealed.

But far from mom being impressed at the ingenuity of her child, mom found her actions tantamount to theft.

“She is 15 and she was stealing,” Turcke told the Toronto audience. “Suffice to say, there is no more VPNing.”

For the teenager and probably most adults, this must be a frustrating concept to grasp. After shunning the lure of The Pirate Bay and its first-run movies on tap – for free, someone in the household has done the ‘right’ thing and bought Netflix. Yet someone, somewhere, has deemed Canadians to be unworthy of the full service and when that injustice gets addressed, mom plays the ‘thief’ card.

“It takes behavioral change and it is the people — friend to friend, parent to child, coworker to coworker — that set the cultural framework for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour,” Turcke said.

“It has to become socially unacceptable to admit to another human being that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix. Like throwing garbage out of your car window, you just don’t do it. We have to get engaged and tell people they’re stealing.”

Despite Ms. Turcke’s enthusiasm for establishing geo-busting as a crime, Canadian law professor Michael Geist previously rejected the assertion, an opinion also shared by Ottawa intellectual property lawyer Howard Knopf.

“This is another manifestation of that good old Canadian phenomenon known as cross-border shopping in a free market,” Knopf said.

“‎Some Canadian rights owners and licensees seem to think it’s smart to limit Canadian choice and raise Canadian prices. Maybe they are being shortsighted or greedy but that’s what they try to do.”

While Turcke sees her own child as the thief, she also lays blame at the door of Netflix for not doing more to stop so-called ‘VPN pirates’.

“Digital-rights management is one of the most sophisticated and heavily negotiated relationship aspects of our deals with Hollywood,” Turcke said.

“As an industry, the players up and down the value chain can’t allow Netflix to continue doing what they’re doing, and Netflix has a choice to stop it. This is a business model decision on Netflix’s part. It’s not a technical problem.”

But while Turcke criticizes Netflix for allowing people to access what they like, the notion of providing content on customer-friendly terms is certainly not alien to the entertainment industry veteran.

“We, Bell Media, we, the industry, need to make our content more accessible. Viewers are demanding simplicity. And they will seek it out,” she said.

Noting that consumers are simply not willing to tolerate restrictions surrounding online streaming rights, ‘windowing’ and national borders, Turcke warned the audience:

“It is enough to drive anyone to the dreaded Netflix. Legally or illegally.”

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

TorrentFreak: Police Shut Down Yet More ‘Pirate’ Sites in Ongoing Sweep

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

moviesWith web-blockades, domain seizures and payment processor interventions making headlines, campaigns to shut down individual sites have been less prominent than usual in the first half of 2015. But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped.

Just last week the popular BT-Chat was shut down in Canada following pressure from the MPAA and news from Europe suggests that at least two more sites have fallen in recent days following industry action.

After a long investigation, police in Poland report that authorities swooped last week on individuals said to be part of a “criminal group” involved with the unauthorized distribution of video online, movies in particular. In an operation carried out by municipal police and officers from a regional cybercrime unit, several locations were searched including homes, offices and cars.

Three men aged between 24 and 33 years-old were arrested in Wroclaw, the largest city in western Poland. According to police, 14 computers, 13 external drives, 40 prepaid cards, several mobile phones and sundry other items were seized during the raids.

In addition to the images below, police have put together a video (mp4) of one of the targeted locations complete with a horror movie-style audio track for added impact.

pol-raid

While police have not published the names of the domains allegedly operated by the men, two leading sites have disappeared in recent days without explanation. TNTTorrent.info and Seansik.tv were the country’s 160th and 130th most popular sites overall but neither is currently operational.

The men are being blamed for industry losses of at least $1.3m and together stand accused of breaching copyright law which can carry a jail sentence of up to five years in criminal cases. For reasons that are not entirely clear, however, police are currently advising a potential three year sentence.

The latest shutdowns, which also encompass torrent site Torrent.pl, follow police action in May which closed down eKino.tv and the lesser known Litv.info, Scs.pl and Zalukaj.to. With around 324,000 likes on its Facebook page eKino.tv was by far the most popular site but it seems unlikely that it will return anytime soon. Currently displaying “THE END” on its front page, its owner was arrested last month.

arrest49Credit:Olsztyn.wm.pl

Local media is connecting the closure to the arrest of a 49-year-old businessman who had been running a company offering “Internet services” and also Poland’s largest pirate site. According to authorities he made millions of dollars from the operation and laundered money by investing in the stock exchange. Those funds have reportedly been frozen.

Also arrested were three accomplices, including a 36-year-old allegedly responsible for creating the database of movies and setting up a US company to assist with the site’s finances. They all stand accused of copyright infringement and money laundering offenses and face ten years in prison.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Threats Shut Down Popular Torrent Site BT-Chat

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

btchat Over several years the Canada-based torrent index BT-Chat has grown to become one of the most popular among TV and movie fans.

The site was founded over a decade ago and has been running without any significant problems since. Starting a few days ago, however, the site’s fortunes turned.

Without prior warning or an official explanation the site went offline. Instead of listing the latest torrents, an ominous message appeared with a broken TV signal in the background.

“Error 791-the internet is shutdown due to copyright restrictions,” the mysterious message read.

chatdown

Initially is was unclear whether the message hinted at hosting problems or if something more serious was going on. Many of the site’s users hoped for the former but a BT-Chat insider informs TF that the site isn’t coming back anytime soon.

The site’s operators have decided to pull the plug after receiving a hand delivered letter from the Canadian MPA, which acts on behalf of its American parent organization the MPAA.

In the letter, shown below, Hollywood’s major movie studios demand that the site removes all infringing torrents.

“We are writing to demand that you take immediate steps to address the extensive copyright infringement of television programs and motion pictures that is occurring by virtue of the operation of the Internet website www.BT-Chat.com.”

MPAA-CAN

The MPAA makes its case by citing U.S. copyright law, and states that linking to unauthorized movies and TV-shows constitutes contributory copyright infringement.

Referencing the isoHunt case the movie studios explicitly note that it’s irrelevant whether or not a website actually hosts infringing material.

“It makes no difference that your website might not have infringing content on it, or only links to infringing content,” the letter says.

The threats from Hollywood have not been taken lightheartedly by the BT-Chat team. While giving up a site that they worked on for more than a decade is not easy, the alternative is even less appealing.

In the end thry decided that it would be for the best to shut the site down, instead of facing potential legal action.

And so another popular site bites the dust…

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

LWN.net: The Moose is loose: Linux-based worm turns routers into social network bots (Ars Technica)

This post was syndicated from: LWN.net and was written by: ris. Original post: at LWN.net

Ars Technica takes
a look
at the latest malware threat. “A worm that targets cable and DSL modems, home routers, and other embedded computers is turning those devices into a proxy network for launching armies of fraudulent Instagram, Twitter, and Vine accounts as well as fake accounts on other social networks. The new worm can also hijack routers’ DNS service to route requests to a malicious server, steal unencrypted social media cookies such as those used by Instagram, and then use those cookies to add “follows” to fraudulent accounts. This allows the worm to spread itself to embedded systems on the local network that use Linux-based operating systems.

The malware, dubbed “Linux/Moose” by Olivier Bilodeau and Thomas Dupuy of the security firm ESET Canada Research, exploits routers open to connections from the Internet via Telnet by performing brute-force login attempts using default or common administrative credentials. Once connected, the worm installs itself on the targeted device.”

TorrentFreak: Rightscorp Offered Internet Provider a Cut of Piracy Settlements

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

cox-logoPiracy monetization firm Rightscorp has made headlines over the past year, often because of its aggressive attempts to obtain settlements from allegedly pirating Internet users.

Working on behalf of various copyright owners including Warner Bros. and BMG the company sends copyright infringement notices to Internet providers in the U.S. and Canada. These notices include a settlement proposal, offering alleged downloaders an option to pay off their “debt.”

Rightscorp’s practices haven’t been without controversy. The company and its clients have been sued for abuse and harassment and various large ISPs refuse to forward the settlements to their subscribers.

Cox Communications, one of the larger Internet providers in the U.S. also chose not to work with Rightscorp. The ISP didn’t comment on this refusal initially, but now that Cox has been sued by several Rightscorp clients, it reveals why.

In a statement that leaves little to the imagination, Cox notes that Rightscorp is “threatening” subscribers with “extortionate” letters.

“Rightscorp is in the business of threatening Internet users on behalf of copyright owners. Rightscorp specifically threatens subscribers of ISPs with loss of their Internet service — a punishment that is not within Rightscorp’s control — unless the subscribers pay a settlement demand,” Cox writes (pdf).

As a result, the ISP decided not to participate in the controversial scheme unless Rightscorp revised the notifications and removed the extortion-like language.

“Because Rightscorp’s purported DMCA notices were, in fact, improper threats against consumers to scare them into paying settlements to Rightscorp, Cox refused to accept or forward those notices, or otherwise to participate in Rightscorp’s extortionate scheme.”

“Cox expressly and repeatedly informed Rightscorp that it would not accept Rightscorp’s improper extortion threat communications, unless and until Rightscorp revised them to be proper notices.”

The two parties went back and forth over the details and somewhere in this process Rightscorp came up with a controversial proposal. The company offered Cox a cut of the settlement money its subscribers would pay, so the ISP could also profit.

“Rightscorp had a history of interactions with Cox in which Rightscorp offered Cox a share of the settlement revenue stream in return for Cox’s cooperation in transmitting extortionate letters to Cox’s customers. Cox rebuffed Rightscorp’s approach,” Cox informs the court.

This allegation is something that was never revealed, and it shows to what great lengths Rightscorp is willing to go to get ISPs to comply. It’s not clear whether the same proposal was made to other ISPs are well, but that wouldn’t be a surprise.

Cox, however, didn’t take the bait and still refused to join the scheme. Rightscorp wasn’t happy with this decision and according to the ISP, the company and its clients are now getting back at them through the “repeat infringer” lawsuit.

“This lawsuit is, in effect, a bid both to punish Cox for not participating in Rightscorp’s scheme, and to gain leverage over Cox’s customers for the settlement shakedown business model that Plaintiffs and Rightscorp jointly employ,” Cox notes.

Despite the strong language and extortion accusations used by Cox, the revelations didn’t prevent the Court from granting copyright holders access to the personal details of 250 accused copyright infringers.

The case is just getting started though, and judging from the aggressive stance being taken by both sides we can expect a lot more dirt to come out in the months ahead.

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

TorrentFreak: Voltage Pictures Sued For Copyright Infringement

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

godz-smallThere are dozens of companies engaged in so-called “copyright trolling” worldwide, the majority connected with adult movie companies.

While most are generally dismissed as second-rate companies out to make a quick buck, U.S. producer Voltage Pictures has developed a reputation for making fairly decent movies and being one of the most aggressive ‘trolls’ around.

The company has targeted thousands of individuals in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and most recently Australia. The company has largely prevailed in these actions but a new case filed this week in the U.S. sees the company on the receiving end of procedures.

The spat concerns Voltage’s plans for a new movie. Starring Anne Hathaway and titled ‘Collosal‘, the flick sees a giant lizard-like creature stomping its way over Tokyo. It sounds an awful lot like Godzilla, recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest-running movie franchise ever. Toho, the Japanese movie studio behind the Godzilla brand, noticed the similarities too.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Toho highlights the hypocrisy of Voltage’s actions.

Describing the company as a “staunch advocate for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights” after filing hundreds of copyright suits involving its movies The Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club, Toya says that Voltage began promoting its new movie via email at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month.

As can be seen from the screenshot below, the email features three large photos of Godzilla, actress Anne Hathaway, and a giant robot.

voltage-godz

“Gloria is an ordinary woman who finds herself in an extraordinary circumstance. Tokyo is under attack by Godzilla and a giant robot and, for some strange reason, Gloria is the only person who can stop it,” the email reads.

Predictably Toho is upset at Voltage’s use of the Godzilla character and associated breaches of the company’s copyrights and trademarks. Only making matters worse is the fact that the image of Godzilla used by Voltage is actually taken from promotional material published by Toho to accompany the release of its 2014 movie, Godzilla.

“Godzilla is one of the most iconic fictional characters in the history of motion pictures. Toho Co., Ltd., the copyright owner of the Godzilla character and
franchise of films, brings this lawsuit because defendants are brazenly producing,
advertising, and selling an unauthorized Godzilla film of their own,” Toho begin.

“There is nothing subtle about defendants’ conduct. They are expressly informing the entertainment community that they are making a Godzilla film and are using the
Godzilla trademark and images of Toho’s protected character to generate interest in
and to obtain financing for their project,” the company continues.

“That anyone would engage in such blatant infringement of another’s intellectual property is wrong enough. That defendants, who are known for zealously protecting their own copyrights, would do so is outrageous in the extreme.”

Noting that at no stage has Voltage ever sought permission to exploit the Godzilla character, Toho says it asked Voltage to cease and desist but the company refused.

“Upon learning of Defendants’ infringing activities, Toho demanded that Defendants cease their exploitation of the Godzilla Character, but Defendants refused to do so,” Toho writes.

In response Toho filed suit and is now demanding that all profits generated by Voltage as a result of its “infringing activities” should be handed over to the Japanese company. That, or payment of $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringement of Toho’s copyrights. Trademark issues are at stake too, with Toho demanding preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against Voltage’s use of the Godzilla marks.

Being on the wrong end of a copyright infringement lawsuit will be a novel experience for Voltage Pictures.

After recently winning a case to reveal the identities of thousands of alleged pirates in Australia, the company is currently engaged in negotiations with a Federal court over how its first letters to the accused should be worded.

With a hearing scheduled for tomorrow, the studio is still experiencing resistance against what is perceived as a so-called “speculative invoicing” business model. Local ISP iiNet is providing comprehensive advice to its customers affected by Voltage’s action and is even working with a law firm prepared to provide pro-bono services.

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

TorrentFreak: “Six Strikes” Anti-Piracy Scheme Is a Sham, Filmmakers Say

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate-runningTo counter the ever increasing piracy threat a group of smaller movie studios launched a new coalition last month, the Internet Security Task Force (ISTF).

ISTF, which includes Voltage Pictures, Millennium, Bloom, Sierra/Affinity and FilmNation Entertainment among its members, is poised to be more aggressive than the MPAA.

Today the group unveils its first point of action. According to the group it’s time to end the voluntary “six strikes” Copyright Alert System, the voluntary anti-piracy agreement between the RIAA, MPAA and several large U.S. Internet providers.

ISTF presents data which reveals that the six strikes warnings are not getting the desired result, describing the system as a “sham”.

According to Millennium Films President Mark Gill his studio sent numerous piracy notices directed at ‘Expendables 3′ pirates under the scheme, but only a tiny fraction were forwarded by the participating ISPs.

“We’ve always known the Copyright Alert System was ineffective, as it allows people to steal six movies from us before they get an educational leaflet. But now we have the data to prove that it’s a sham,” Gill comments.

“On our film ‘Expendables 3,’ which has been illegally viewed more than 60 million times, the CAS only allowed 0.3% of our infringement notices through to their customers. The other 99.7% of the time, the notices went in the trash,” he adds.

As part of the Copyright Alert System ISPs and copyright holders have agreed to send a limited number of notices per month, so anything above this threshold is not forwarded.

ISTF’s data on the number of ‘Expendables 3′ infringements suggests that the Copyright Alerts are in fact less effective than the traditional forwarding schemes of other providers.

Cox and Charter, two ISPs who do not participate in the Copyright Alert System, saw a 25.47% decrease in reported infringements between November 2014 and January 2015. However, the ISPs who sent six strikes notices saw a 4.54% increase over the same period.

“These alarming numbers show that the CAS is little more than talking point utilized to suggest these five ISPs are doing something to combat piracy when in actuality, their customers are free to continue pirating content with absolutely no consequences,” Voltage Pictures CEO Nicolas Chartier notes.

“As for its laughable six strikes policy, would any American retailer wait for someone to rob them six times before handing them an educational leaflet? Of course not, they call the cops the first time around,” he adds.

While it’s clear that ISTF is not happy with the Copyright Alert System, they seem mistaken about how it works. Customers don’t have to be caught six times before they are warned, they get an educational notice the first time they’re caught.

The “six strikes” terminology refers to the graduated response scheme, in which customers face stronger punishments after being caught more times.

Interestingly, the filmmakers promote the Canadian notice-and-notice system as a better alternative. Since earlier this year, Canadian ISPs are obligated to forward infringement notices to their subscribers, and ISTF notes that it has been instrumental in decreasing piracy.

Since the beginning of 2015, Bell Canada has seen a 69.6% decrease in infringements and Telus (54.0%), Shaw (52.1%), TekSavvy (38.3%) and Rogers (14.9%) all noted significant reductions.

The data presented is collected by the monitoring outfit CEG TEK. This American company sends infringement notices paired with settlement requests on behalf of copyright holders, sometimes demanding hundreds of dollars from alleged pirates.

Needless to say, these threats may in part be the reason for the reported effectiveness.

In the United States, ISPs are currently not obliged to forward copyright infringement notices. Some ISPs such as Comcast do so voluntarily, but they also strip out the settlement demands.

ISTF hopes this will change in the near future and the group has sent a letter to the MPAA, RIAA and the major ISPs urging them to expire the Copyright Alert System, and switch to the Canadian model instead.

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

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green: Dalexis/CTB-Locker malspam campaign, (Thu, Apr 30th)

This post was syndicated from: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green and was written by: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green. Original post: at SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

MalwareEvery Day

Malicious spam (malspam) is by sent by botnets every day. These malspam campaigns send malware designed to infect Windows computers. Ill see Dridex or Upatre/Dyre campaigns a daily basis. Fortunately, most of these emails are blocked by our spam filters.

This diary concerns a recent malspam wave on Tuesday 2015-04-28 from a botnet pushing Dalexis/CTB-Locker.

What is Dalexis/CTB-Locker?

Dalexis is a malware downloader. It drops a CAB file with embedded document thats opened on a users computer [1] then downloads more malware. Dalexis is often used to deliver CTB-Locker [2][3]. CTB-Locker is ransomware that encrypts files on your computer. In exchange for a ransom payment, the malware authors will provide a key to decrypt your files. Behavior of this malware is well-documented, but small changes often occur as new waves of malspam are sent out.

A similar wave of malspam from Monday 2015-04-27 was reported by techhelplist.com [4]. The next day saw similar activity. This campaign will likely continue. Below is a flow chart from Tuesday” />

The messages have slightly different subject lines, and each email attachment has a different file hash. I infected a host using one of the attachments. Below are links to the associated files:

The ZIP file is password-protected with the standard password. If you dont know it, email admin@malware-traffic-analysis.net and ask.

Infection as Seen from the Desktop

Extracted malware from these email attachments is an SCR file with an Excel icon. ” />

Had to download a Tor browser to get at the decryption instructions. The bitcoin address for the ransom payment is: 18GuppWVuZGqutYvZz9uaHxHcostrU6Upc” />

” />

Dalexis uses an HTTP GET request to download CTB-Locker. The file is encrypted in transit, but I retrieved a decrypted copy from the infected host. Dalexis reports to a command and control (CnC) server after the malware is successfully downloaded.

In the image below, youll find HTTP POST requests to different servers as Dalexis tries to find a CnC server that will respond. ” />

For indicators of compromise (IOCs), a list of domains unique to this infection follows:

(Read: IP address – domain name)

  • 31.170.160.229 – earthfromspace.host56.com
  • 31.170.162.163 – gkl.net76.net
  • 37.187.72.60 – volcanoscreens.com
  • 46.19.37.108 – ip.telize.com
  • 62.149.140.213 – www.gaglianico74.it
  • 85.10.55.30 – lancia.hr
  • 192.185.224.67 – bdfschool.net
  • various – fizxfsi3cad3kn7v.tor2web.org
  • various – fizxfsi3cad3kn7v.onion.cab

Example of Malspam From Tuesday 2015-04-28

From: Eda Uhrhammer
Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 16:16 UTC
To: [redacted]
Subject: [Issue 5261CC6247C37550] Account #295030013990 Temporarily Locked

Dear user,

We detect unauthorized Login Attempts to your ID #295030013990 from other IP Address.
Please re-confirm your identity. See attached docs for full information.

===
Eda Uhrhammer
Millard Peter
111 Hunter Street East, Peterborough, ON K9H 1G7

CANADA
705-759-7751

Attachment: 295030013990.zip

NOTE: The emails contain various international names, addresses, and phone numbers in the signature block.

Emails Collected

Start time: 2015-04-28 10:00:13 UTC
End time: 2015-04-28 16:16:28 UTC
Emails found: 24

Senders and Subject Lines

  • Sender: chronogram@dorhotels.com – Subject: [Issue 35078504EBA94667] Account #59859805294 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: sandwiched@upaf.net – Subject: [Issue 84908E27DF477852] Account #40648428303 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: stashed@wudata.com – Subject: [Issue 8694097116D18193] Account #257547165590 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: wildcatting@atelier122.com – Subject: [Issue 11123E749D533902] Account #621999149649 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: blackens@mpzmail.com – Subject: [Issue 24789101648C8407] Account #250874039146 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: kami@corexsud.com – Subject: [Issue 6412D16736356564] Account #238632826769 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: rasped@rhfs.com – Subject: [Issue 9139F9678C9A7466] Account #216021389500 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: jingly@proxis.com – Subject: [Issue 982886631E9E7489] Account #114654416120 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: exaggerating@cfilc.org – Subject: [Issue 4895D8D81ADE1399] Account #843871639720 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: achaea@staes.com – Subject: [Issue 72986FD85CE93134] Account #622243029178 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: wharves@be.grayling.com – Subject: [Issue 27883AA546718876] Account #475770363394 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: busheling@abbiegram.net – Subject: [Issue 5384A21F5AB26075] Account #717973552140 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: megacephaly@ielmalta.com – Subject: [Issue 5694B0643FCD587] Account #642271991381 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: fervorless@timocom.com – Subject: [Issue 8219423F8CFB6864] Account #692223104314 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: pickles@fei.org – Subject: [Issue 70308834A3929842] Account #339648082242 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: swartz@johndesmond.com – Subject: [Issue 33190977A2D04088] Account #831865092451 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: voluntaryism@isporven.com – Subject: [Issue 706584024E142555] Account #196387638377 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: catalysts@sefurmadrid.com – Subject: [Issue 830689BB76F4615] Account #162723085828 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: phytane@arboris-us.com – Subject: [Issue 46714D12FB834480] Account #526735661562 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: pollinises@hanh-ct.org – Subject: [Issue 39494AFE933A5158] Account #552561607876 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: resents@arkastravel.com – Subject: [Issue 974641F53DD66126] Account #325636779394 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: addled@dorhotels.com – Subject: [Issue 7505716EA6244832] Account #603263972311 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: oology@mouzaliotis.com – Subject: [Issue 50438E220A5D7432] Account #906152957589 Temporarily Locked
  • Sender: delighter@alabaisse.com – Subject: [Issue 5261CC6247C37550] Account #295030013990 Temporarily Locked

NOTE: The sending email addresses might be spoofed.

Attachments

  • 114654416120.zip – 19,135 bytes – MD5 hash: 1a9fdce6b6efd094af354a389b0e04da
  • 162723085828.zip – 20,688 bytes – MD5 hash: a1b066361440a5ff6125f15b1ba2e1b1
  • 196387638377.zip – 20,681 bytes – MD5 hash: 01f8976034223337915e4900b76f9f26
  • 216021389500.zip – 19,135 bytes – MD5 hash: ab9a07054a985c6ce31c7d53eee90fbe
  • 238632826769.zip – 19,135 bytes – MD5 hash: 899689538df49556197bf1bac52f1b84
  • 250874039146.zip – 19,135 bytes – MD5 hash: eea0fd780ecad755940110fc7ee6d727
  • 257547165590.zip – 19,114 bytes – MD5 hash: f236e637e17bc44764e43a8041749e6c
  • 295030013990.zip – 20,168 bytes – MD5 hash: eda8075438646c617419eda13700c43a
  • 325636779394.zip – 20,177 bytes – MD5 hash: d00861c5066289ea9cca3f0076f97681
  • 339648082242.zip – 20,703 bytes – MD5 hash: 657e3d615bb1b6e7168319e1f9c5039f
  • 40648428303.zip – 19,113 bytes – MD5 hash: b7fe085962dc7aa7622bd15c3a303b41
  • 475770363394.zip – 20,642 bytes – MD5 hash: 2ba4d511e07090937b5d6305af13db68
  • 526735661562.zip – 20,710 bytes – MD5 hash: 24698aa84b14c42121f96a22fb107d00
  • 552561607876.zip – 20,709 bytes – MD5 hash: 04abf53d3b4d7bb7941a5c8397594db7
  • 59859805294.zip – 19,071 bytes – MD5 hash: b2ca48afbc0eb578a9908af8241f2ae8
  • 603263972311.zip – 20,175 bytes – MD5 hash: fa43842bda650c44db99f5789ef314e3
  • 621999149649.zip – 19,135 bytes – MD5 hash: 802d9abf21c812501400320f2efe7040
  • 622243029178.zip – 20,681 bytes – MD5 hash: 0687f63ce92e57a76b990a8bd5500b69
  • 642271991381.zip – 20,644 bytes – MD5 hash: 0918c8bfed6daac6b63145545d911c72
  • 692223104314.zip – 20,703 bytes – MD5 hash: 2e90e6d71e665b2a079b80979ab0e2cb
  • 717973552140.zip – 20,721 bytes – MD5 hash: 5b8a27e6f366f40cda9c2167d501552e
  • 831865092451.zip – 20,718 bytes – MD5 hash: 9c1acc3f27d7007a44fc0da8fceba120
  • 843871639720.zip – 20,713 bytes – MD5 hash: 1a6b20a5636115ac8ed3c4c4dd73f6aa
  • 906152957589.zip – 20,134 bytes – MD5 hash: b9d19a68205f2a7e2321ca3228aa74d1

Extracted Malware

  • 114654416120.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: 46838a76fbf59e9b78d684699417b216
  • 162723085828.scr – 90,112 bytes – MD5 hash: 8f5df86fdf5f3c8e475357bab7bc38e8
  • 196387638377.scr – 90,112 bytes – MD5 hash: 59f71ef10861d1339e9765fb512d991c
  • 216021389500.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: 0baa21fab10c7d8c64157ede39453ae5
  • 238632826769.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: f953b4c8093276fbde3cfa5e63f990eb
  • 250874039146.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: 6580e4ee7d718421128476a1f2f09951
  • 257547165590.scr – 94,208 bytes – MD5 hash: 6a15d6fa9f00d931ca95632697e5ba70
  • 295030013990.scr – 86,016 bytes – MD5 hash: 54c1ac0d5e8fa05255ae594adfe5706e
  • 325636779394.scr – 94,208 bytes – MD5 hash: 08a0c2aaf7653530322f4d7ec738a3df
  • 339648082242.scr – 94,208 bytes – MD5 hash: 1aaecdfd929725c195a7a67fc6be9b4b
  • 40648428303.scr – 94,208 bytes – MD5 hash: f51fcf418c973a94a7d208c3a8a30f19
  • 475770363394.scr – 81,920 bytes – MD5 hash: dbea4b3fb5341ce3ca37272e2b8052ae
  • 526735661562.scr – 94,208 bytes – MD5 hash: c0dc49296b0aec09c5bfefcf4129c29b
  • 552561607876.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: 9239ec6fe6703279e959f498919fdfb0
  • 59859805294.scr – 86,016 bytes – MD5 hash: a9d11a69c692b35235ce9c69175f0796
  • 603263972311.scr – 94,208 bytes – MD5 hash: bcaf9ce1881f0f282cec5489ec303585
  • 621999149649.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: 70a63f45eb84cb10ab1cc3dfb4ac8a3e
  • 622243029178.scr – 90,112 bytes – MD5 hash: d1b1e371aebfc3d500919e9e33bcd6c1
  • 642271991381.scr – 81,920 bytes – MD5 hash: 15a5acfbccbb80b01e6d270ea8af3789
  • 692223104314.scr – 94,208 bytes – MD5 hash: fa0fe28ffe83ef3dcc5c667bf2127d4c
  • 717973552140.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: 646640f63f327296df0767fd0c9454d4
  • 831865092451.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: ec872872bff91040d2bc1e4c4619cbbc
  • 843871639720.scr – 98,304 bytes – MD5 hash: b8e8e3ec7f4d6efee311e36613193b8d
  • 906152957589.scr – 94,208 bytes – MD5 hash: 36abcedd5fb6d17038bd7069808574e4

Updates


Brad Duncan, Security Researcher at Rackspace
Blog: www.malware-traffic-analysis.net – Twitter: @malware_traffic

References:

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/threat/encyclopedia/entry.aspx?Name=TrojanDownloader:Win32/Dalexis#tab=2
[2] https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/ctb-locker-ransomware/
[3] https://blogs.mcafee.com/mcafee-labs/rise-backdoor-fckq-ctb-locker
[4] https://techhelplist.com/index.php/spam-list/796-your-account-has-been-something-bad-various-malware

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

TorrentFreak: Experts Urge Canada to Stop Threatening Piracy Notices

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate-runningDue to a recent change i Canada’s copyright law, ISPs are now required to forward copyright infringement notices to their customers.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of Internet subscribers have received warnings in their mailboxes since the start of the year, with some asking for cash settlements.

The so-called notice-and-notice system aims to reduce local piracy rates but this hasn’t been without controversy. From the start, copyright holders have taken advantage of the system to send subscribers settlement offers, or threaten them with inaccurate legal penalties.

Hoping to fix these ‘abuses’ copyright experts and advocacy groups have this week written a letter to Canada’s Minister of Industry, James Moore.

Signed by the University of Ottawa, OpenMedia, Project Gutenberg Canada, Consumers Council of Canada, Electronic Frontier Foundation and many others, the letter warns over abuse while proposing several changes.

“As we feared, copyright trolls have in fact taken advantage of the Notice and Notice system to ramp up their abusive practices in Canada,” the groups write to the Minister.

“We have seen notices claiming infringement of foreign law, misrepresenting the scope of damages recipients potentially face, omitting mention of defenses, and failing to identify the notice as a mere allegation of infringement.”

In the short-term the Minister should use his regulatory powers to correct abuses, the groups suggest. For example, notices should make clear that they represent an allegation, not a clear determination of infringement.

The popular settlement demands or offers, which can amount to hundreds of dollars per notice, should also be banned. In addition, notices should include a mention of copyright exceptions such as fair use.

The groups further propose various penalties for copyright holders. For example, senders of notices with false or misleading information should be held liable and punished appropriately.

In the long-term the letter recommends that the Government should adopt new legislation to tackle copyright trolls and various other forms of abuse.

“Canada requires a legislative response to the abusive and deceitful tactics of a minority of copyright owners and their agents. The emergence of a cottage industry of copyright trolls and their migration to Canada is just one example of how copyright can be abused,” the groups write.

“The next round of copyright reform must include a copyright misuse provision to curb such wrong-doing,” they add.

The full letter, which includes more recommendations, is available here.

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

TorrentFreak: Game of Thrones Piracy Surges to New High

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

got5More than a week after the opening episode of the new Game of Thrones season aired it’s evident that piracy is still rampant.

The good news for HBO is that the official broadcast broke ratings records. However, pirated releases have also done the same.

TorrentFreak received some extensive data from media intelligence firm Tru Optik, covering both public and private BitTorrent trackers.

With the four leaked episodes and the “A Day in the Life” documentary included, the company found that there were 32 million downloads across 18 million IP-addresses during the first week.

The first episode generated most interest and was downloaded over 13 million times, which is significantly more than last year. Interestingly, the data for the post broadcast torrent also shows that most downloaders grabbed high quality copies.

The 720p version was most popular with 43.5 percent of post broadcast downloads, followed by the 480p and 1080p copies with 35.1% and 31.4 percent respectively.

In part, this tendency towards high quality content can be explained by the fact that many fans of HD content skipped the lower quality pre-release leak.

GOTqual

Looking at countries from where the downloads were actioned we see that the United States comes out on top. More than 10 percent came from the U.S. followed by France, Brazil, China, Russia, UK, India, Canada, Australia and Spain.

Australia has the most downloaders per capita from that list, and it also has a relatively high piracy ratio compared to legal views.

Of all ‘viewers’ in Australia during the first three days, 32 percent are pirates. In the U.S. the rates are much lower at 8 percent, and the UK and Canada are in the middle with 22 and 19 percent respectively.

gotcountriesCommenting on the findings, Tru Optik notes that there are a lot of potential customers out there, if HBO can connect with them.

“In the US alone, nearly one million consumers downloaded Episode 1, which translates to $44 million in unmonetized demand potential if each of these viewers subscribed to HBO Now for the 3-month duration of GoT Season 5.”

“Many of these viewers are prime prospects for unbundled services like HBO Now,” the company adds.

Over the past three years Game of Thrones has been the most pirated TV-show. Based on the number of downloads over the past week, the same result will be achieved in 2015.

Now let’s see if they can break the “quarter million” swarm record of last year’s season finale.

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

TorrentFreak: HBO Cracks Down on Paying VPN “Pirates”

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

hboIn an effort to gain more subscribers HBO launched its standalone “HBO Now” service earlier this year.

The subscription allows Americans to access HBO’s content, including Game of Thrones, without the need to have a television subscription.

With the offer HBO hopes to drive people away from pirate sites, but it also created a new form of unauthorized use. As with Netflix and Hulu, many people outside the U.S. signed up for the service through VPNs and other geo-unblocking tools.

Although they are paying customers, using HBO Now from outside the U.S. is not permitted under the company’s terms of use.

While Netflix is still fairly lax about geo-unblocking, HBO is now cracking down on the practice. A few days ago thousands of VPN and proxy “pirates” started to receive worrying email warnings.

“It has come to our attention that you may have signed up for and viewed video content on the HBO NOW streaming service from outside of the authorized service area (the United States, including D.C. and certain US territories),” HBO writes.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that the HBO NOW streaming service is only available to residents of the United States, for use within the United States. Any other access is prohibited by our Terms of Use.”

HBO Now warning
HBO-disco

The emails in question target users all over the world, including Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia. Unless they were flagged by mistake, HBO will terminate the accounts of affected subscribers within days and without the option of a refund.

HBO is cracking down on VPN and proxy pirates to protect the value of their licensing deals. If millions of foreigners use the U.S. version, local partners in these countries are going to complain.

However, since legal options are often lacking there’s little doubt that many ‘unauthorized’ viewers will find less official ways to access the shows they love to watch. This time, however, HBO will not get a dime.

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

TorrentFreak: Megaupload Canada Servers Battle Reignites

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

The dramatic events of January 2012 in which the gigantic Mega empire of Kim Dotcom was brought to its knees are now more than three years old. Legal argument has dogged the case from day one, with each passing month presenting yet more points of contention.

One of the oldest issues surrounds the hardware seized as part of the global operation to close down what was once the world’s largest centralized file-sharing operation.

The U.S. Government seized 1,103 servers at Carpathia’s hosting facility in the United States, equipment that is currently gathering dust in a Virginia storage facility. Also at issue is a lesser-discussed batch of servers seized in Canada.

On January 18, 2012, a judge in Ontario issued a warrant to seize the 32 servers located in an Equinix datacenter. As the case continued to build against Megaupload, Kim Dotcom and his associates, the U.S. government asked Canadian authorities to hand the hardware over, claiming that an internal Megaupload email revealed them to be “database / number crunching machines.”

A year later in January 2013, Megaupload protested the handing over of the hardware to U.S. authorities claiming that the servers contained a lot of information irrelevant to the case. Megaupload said an independent forensic examiner could examine the servers and determine their contents before any handover.

An Ontario court sided with Megaupload and refused to send the servers’ data to the United States. Instead, both sides were ordered to find a way to filter out irrelevant content.

Now, more than two years later, the issue of just how much of this seized content can be sent to the United States remains an issue. The matter reappeared before a Toronto court Monday, with fresh ideas on how progression can be made.

Crown attorney Moiz Rahman, acting on behalf of the U.S. government, suggested the appointment of an independent group of forensic examiners to inspect the data and determine which data is relevant to the case, CBC reports.

However, Megaupload lawyer Scott Hutchison raised concerns that once back in the United States, the so-called “clean team” might disclose non-relevant information they’d discovered on the servers. Any ruling in Canada to seal their lips would not be enforceable in the U.S., Hutchinson said.

“Once they return to the United States, that’s nothing more than a promise,” the lawyer said.

While conceding that the “vast majority” of the data was likely to be media uploaded by Megaupload’s users, Hutchinson suggested that it would be preferable to hire an independent Canada-based investigator to carry out the work.

But speaking for the Crown on behalf of the U.S., Rahman said that a U.S. team could present the results of its investigation to a Canadian court, which could then decide what information would be allowed back to the United States under current treaty protocol.

“That’s a little bit of cold comfort to me,” said Justice Michael Quigley.

After Rahman claimed that an independent Canadian investigator would prove too expensive, the Judge ordered the parties to present their respective costings to the court before any decision on the fate of the data is made.

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

TorrentFreak: Leaked Game of Thrones Episodes Trigger Piracy Craze

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

got5Today’s pre-release leak of four Game of Thrones episodes is without doubt one of the most prominent leaks in TV history.

The first copies, leaked from a review screener, appeared less than 24 hours ago on the private tracker IPT and quickly spread across public torrent sites.

During the first few hours there weren’t too many downloads, but that quickly changed after the news reached the mainstream press.

At the time of writing more than 135,000 people are sharing a single torrent of the first episode of season 5, which has already been downloaded over a million times since its release 18 hours ago.

The other three episodes are hovering around a million downloads as well, and that’s only via public torrent sites. The piracy totals will most likely double if the totals of streaming and direct download sites are added.

The most shared leaked GoT episodes
gotleak

While there’s certainly a piracy craze, with the four leaked episodes being the most pirated files globally at the moment, there’s no record to report just yet.

The unexpected release appears to have scattered the downloads throughout the day. As a result, last year’s record of 254,114 people sharing a single file at the same time is out of reach.

Still, more than a million downloads for a single episode in less than a day is quite impressive.

A snapshot of IP-addresses sharing the most downloaded episode shows that most originate from the UK and US, followed by India, Canada and France.

While all those pirates are surely having a great weekend now, the hangover will probably come later with the realization that it will take more than a month before the next episode comes online.

# Country % City %
torrentfreak.com
1 United Kingdom 9.8% London 3.3%
2 United States 9.1% Athens 2.4%
3 India 7.8% Lisbon 1.9%
4 Canada 5.4% Stockholm 1.8%
5 France 4.2% Bucharest 1.7%
6 Greece 3.3% Madrid 1.7%
7 The Netherlands 3.1% Mumbai 1.4%
8 Australia 3.1% Dubai 1.3%
9 Brazil 3.0% New Delhi 1.3%
10 Philippines 3.0% Toronto 1.1%

Note: The numbers are based on a sample of 21,445 IP-addresses collected over part of the day, which means that there’s a geographical bias. Also, downloaders who use VPNs may appear to be in a different country.

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

TorrentFreak: iiNet loses Dallas Buyers Club Piracy Case

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ben Jones. Original post: at TorrentFreak

dallasBack in 2012, the Australian High Court ruled that ISP iiNet was not responsible for the copyright infringements of its customers. Stymied by that ruling, many Australian file-sharers breathed a sigh of relief, as Antipodean users are usually amongst the last to get content, forgotten in the long-tail of media distribution.

Conversely, it also meant that they were one of the last English-speaking (and English common-law) countries to see the appearance of so-called ‘Speculative Invoicing’, more commonly known as copyright trolling. However, “Down Under” couldn’t escape forever, and eventually the trolls washed up on the shore, in the shape of mega-troll “Dallas Buyers Club” (DBC).

The model should be familiar to most of our readers. A company (or its representative) joins a BitTorrent swarm, and “observes” a number of peers on the torrent. It then applies for a court order for the ISP to hand over the identities behind all those IP addresses so they can be pressured for cash settlement.

The big question was whether the Australian courts would allow for the discovery of subscriber details but in a decision released just minutes ago the courts said ‘yes’. Letters to be sent out to the 4,726 consumers involved will first have to be approved by the court, a move designed to reduce DBC’s ability to overstate the case and the potential penalties involved.

Following a similar ruling in Canada last February, this is the second time these kinds of restrictions have been placed on Dallas Buyers Club/Voltage Pictures. UK ‘trolls’ are also subjected to the same oversight in their initial letters to consumers but subsequent correspondence flies completely under the radar with no court involvement.

In today’s case the judge also ruled that the privacy of the 4726 accounts should be protected but placed no cap on damages. The precise restrictions and justifications will become clear when the verdict is published later today.

The case comes amid growing regulations, with the Australian Government pushing for a voluntary 3-strikes system as well as site-blocking legislation. These two things, combined with today’s ruling, means that VPN use is expected to skyrocket in Australia.

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

TorrentFreak: ISP Teksavvy Appeals in Hurt Locker Piracy Case

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

After numerous experiments elsewhere, notably in the US, two years ago Voltage Pictures took its turn piracy-into-profit business model to Canada.

The company’s targets were 2,000 Internet subscribers at local ISP Teksavvy. The early stages of the case saw the ISP dig in its heels while bringing on board the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) with the aim of protecting consumers from potentially large fines.

While CIPPIC was allowed to intervene, the subscribers’ identities were ordered to be handed over and with that in hand the arguments turned to who would have to pay for proceedings thus far.

Needless to say, Voltage Pictures’ and Teksavvy’s assessments were at the opposite ends of the spectrum, with the former saying that should it pay around $884.00 and the latter claiming a few hundred thousand dollars, $346,480.68 to be exact.

In the event the court rejected both sides’ claims, but the ruling was far away from Teksavvy’s expectations. The Federal Court told Voltage to pay $21,557 – $17,057 in technical administrative costs plus $4,500 in legal fees – associated with the IP-address lookups.

After being awarded just 6% of its original claim, it comes as little surprise that the ISP has now filed an appeal against the decision.

Teksavvy says that Prothonotary Aronovitch’s decision to disallow the large majority of its claim was flawed in that it was “based upon a wrong principle, an error of law and/or misapprehensions of the fact that cannot reasonably be supported by the evidence.”

Outlining its case, the ISP says that Prothonotary Aronovitch improperly interpreted the scope of an earlier decision by Prothonotary Aalto concerning Norwich order (disclosure order) jurisprudence, including the nature of costs to which an innocent third-party respondent (Teksavvy in this case) is entitled.

The ISP further asserts that Prothonotary Aronovitch relied on “irrelevant jurisprudence” to justify excluding Teksavvy’s costs and disallowing costs on the basis they amounted to the “costs of doing business.”

In support of several other complaints and claims, Teksavvy demands a four-hour hearing to outline why it should achieve the following:

– An order which awards Teksavvy “reasonable legal costs, administrative costs and disbursements” or an amount the Court deems “just and appropriate”

– An order which awards Teksavvy its costs in the previous hearing before Prothonotary Aronovitch

– An award for the costs of this appeal, plus any “further and other relief” the court might deem “just”

Commenting on Teksavvy’s decision to appeal, copyright lawyer Howard Knopf says that the ISP’s earlier decision to “take no position” on the original Voltage disclosure application may have cost the company dearly.

“This appears to have been a key factor in the Federal Court’s refusal to reward TekSavvy and its counsel with almost $180,000 in legal fees,” Knopf writes.

“Ironically, if TekSavvy had actually opposed Voltage’s motion, it may well have been in a much better position to successfully seek costs. Prothonotary Aronovitch cites [a similar case] where two the ISPs actively opposed the disclosure motion. In that case, the Court ultimately denied the motion but awarded the costs of the motion to the third-party ISPs who had opposed it.”

So while the parties battle it out under appeal, there is still the matter of the consumers who are expecting a letter through the post from Voltage Pictures. Those letters still haven’t gone out and before they do so their content much be approved by the court. While that may offer recipients some protection, the end game is almost guaranteed – demands for some kind of cash settlement to avoid supposed legal action.

And according to Voltage counsel James Zibarras, that be could more costly than people might have been led to believe.

Discussions thus far have indicated that statutory damages in such cases sit at $5,000. However, Zibarras says that plaintiffs can also opt for actual damages instead. These take into consideration damages caused by those who distribute content as well as upload, he says.

“And this is the thing, the people that Voltage goes after… technically aren’t downloaders. What Voltage goes after is people that make their product available for upload,” Zibarras says.

“Once you switch to actual [damages], then there’s no cap, it’s whatever we can prove.”

While that assertion is refuted by lawyer Howard Knopf, one thing is for certain. Voltage certainly sees dollar signs in this action and it’s not going to be giving up anytime soon.

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

TorrentFreak: Why Game Of Thrones Will Be The Most Pirated TV-Show, Again

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

got5Mid April the first episode of Game of Thrones’ fifth season will find its way onto dozens of torrent sites.

Like previous years, a few hours later millions of people will have downloaded this unofficial release.

Traditionally, pirates have used “availability” as an excuse to download movies and TV-shows from illegal sources. In some countries there is simply no legal option available, the arguments often go.

To remove this piracy incentive HBO has made sure that the new Game of Thrones series is available in as many countries as possible. The company recently announced that it will air in 170 countries roughly at the same time as the U.S. release.

This decision is being framed as an anti-piracy move and may indeed have some effect. However, availability is not the only reason why so many people choose to download the show from unauthorized sources.

In fact, if we look at the list of countries where most Game of Thrones downloaders came from last year, we see that it was legally available in all of these countries.

Data gathered during the first 12 hours of the season 4 premiere revealed that most downloads originated from Australia, followed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. So there must be something else going on.

Pricing perhaps?

The price tag attached to many of legal services may be too high for some. In Australia, for example, it cost $500 to follow last year’s season and in the U.S. some packages were priced as high as $100 per month.

This year there is some positive change to report in the US, as iTunes now offers a $15-per-month subscription without the need for a cable subscription. But if the steep prices remain in most countries it’s unlikely that the piracy rates will drop significantly.

This is nothing new for HBO of course. The company has probably considered offering separate and cheaper Game of Thrones packages, but while this may result in less pirates it will also severely hurt the value of their licensing deals and full subscription plans.

And aside from the financials, piracy also has it upsides.

Game of Thrones director David Petrarca previously admitted that piracy generated much-needed “cultural buzz” around his show. Similarly, Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, noted that piracy resulted in more subscriptions for his company and that receiving the title of “most-pirated” was “better than an Emmy.

All in all it’s safe to say that Game of Thrones will be crowned the most pirated TV-show again in 2015. The only uncertainty right now is whether it will break last year’s BitTorrent “swarm record,” which currently stands at 254,114 simultaneous sharers.

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

Schneier on Security: Capabilities of Canada’s Communications Security Establishment

This post was syndicated from: Schneier on Security and was written by: schneier. Original post: at Schneier on Security

There’s a new story about the hacking capabilities of Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), based on the Snowden documents.