AfterDawn: Tech news

MediaDefender's illegal tactics take down legal video site

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 29 May 2008 22:54 User comments (18)

MediaDefender's illegal tactics take down legal video site MediaDefender, a company best known for their work for the MPAA has apparently admitted to being responsible for a massive Denial of Service (DoS) attack that occured last weekend in which a server used to host BitTorrent trackers was effectively shut down. The server, which belongs to a company called Revision3, is used for legal distribution of video files.
According to Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback, the problem started when someone at the company noticed that their server was being used by an outside party to provide unauthorized BitTorrent trackers. He later found out that the outside party in question was, in fact, MediaDefender. Once they cut off access to these trackers, and also to the back door which allowed MediaDefender to illegally use their server they were hit with the DoS attack. This effectively shut them down for a good part of the weekend, and due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday they weren't able to recover until Tuesday.

After figuring out that the origin of the DoS attack was a MediaDefender IP address Louderback talked to Dimitri Villard, CEO of MediaDefender's parent company, and Vice President of Operations at MediaDefender, Ben Grodsky. The following is his description of the conversation:



First, they willingly admitted to abusing Revision3’s network, over a period of months, by injecting a broad array of torrents into our tracking server. They were able to do this because we configured the server to track hashes only – to improve performance and stability. That, in turn, opened up a back door which allowed their networking experts to exploit its capabilities for their own personal profit.

Second, and here’s where the chain of events come into focus, although not the motive. We’d noticed some unauthorized use of our tracking server, and took steps to de-authorize torrents pointing to non-Revision3 files. That, as it turns out, was exactly the wrong thing to do. MediaDefender’s servers, at that point, initiated a flood of SYN packets attempting to reconnect to the files stored on our server. And that torrential cascade of “Hi”s brought down our network.

Grodsky admits that his computers sent those SYN packets to Revision3, but claims that their servers were each only trying to contact us every three hours. Our own logs show upwards of 8,000 packets a second.

“Media Defender did not do anything specific, targeted at Revision3?, claims Grodsky. “We didn’t do anything to increase the traffic” – beyond what they’d normally be sending us due to the fact that Revision3 was hosting thousands of MediaDefender torrents improperly injected into our corporate server. His claim: that once we turned off MediaDefender’s back-door access to the server, “traffic piled up (to Revision3 from MediaDefender servers because) it didn’t get any acknowledgment back.”

Putting aside the company’s outrageous use of our servers for their own profit, and the large difference between one connection every three hours and 8,000 packets a second, I’m still left to wonder why they didn’t just tell us our basement window was unlocked. A quick call or email and we’d have locked it up tighter than a drum.

It’s as if McGruff the Crime Dog snuck into our basement, enlisted an army of cellar rats to eat up all of our cheese, and then burned the house down when we finally locked him out – instead of just knocking on the front door to tell us the window was open.



This isn't the first time MediaDefender has been involved in a shady operation. Just last year they were caught distributing a trojan through their own torrent tracker site. The program searched the computers of unsuspecting downloaders for pirated content and reported back to them if anything suspicious was found. Although they called it an accident at the time, internal emails later distributed via BitTorrent confirmed the company's malicious intentions and lack of concern over allegations of legal wrongdoing.

Louderback says the FBI is already looking into the matter. Unlike past allegations this one is coming from a company rather than a bunch of private individuals. Hopefully they'll finally be held accountable to the same standards as the rest of us for a change.

Previous Next  

18 user comments

129.5.2008 23:20

Hooray for Revision 3. Hope the FBI busts Media Defenders.

229.5.2008 23:28

God that would be awesome if MD got bit in the butt, it sounds like they are up to their typical bs....hopefully the fbi investigation will confirm the report. If I am correct, MD has the legal authority of my cat...none.

Didn't we learn in elementary school to play by the rules? Great job of committing internet terrorism, that is what a ddos truly is, correct?

329.5.2008 23:50

Jim Louderback? Ouch! It sounds like MD picked the wrong target this time. I predict MD will get lots of bad press from Ziff Davis starting about now. I still wonder what MD was thinking. I liked the McGruff analogy, though, I could think of a few more choice ones if I let my imagination run wild. lol

429.5.2008 23:56

I personally think the McGruff comment is the quote of the year so far. It doesn't hurt that it's pretty much dead on.

530.5.2008 1:17

Originally posted by vurbal:
I personally think the McGruff comment is the quote of the year so far. It doesn't hurt that it's pretty much dead on.
Originally posted by Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback:
It’s as if McGruff the Crime Dog snuck into our basement, enlisted an army of cellar rats to eat up all of our cheese, and then burned the house down when we finally locked him out – instead of just knocking on the front door to tell us the window was open.
I agree, that is classic! Funny crap!! I think that's going to be my sig from now on...

630.5.2008 2:48

I wonder if there's a sign hanging in MD offices that reads:

To make an omelet you have to break a few laws errr eggs.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 May 2008 @ 2:48

730.5.2008 3:41

When the HELL are these clowns going to JAIL?
Where are the zealous lawyers so quick to use the RICO statutes for everybody else?

830.5.2008 6:57
nobrainer
Inactive

Originally posted by iluvendo:
Hooray for Revision 3. Hope the FBI busts Media Defenders.
This is not the first time that MediaDefender has been caught engaging in DDoS attacks and the prior two times it was revealed that it was at the bequest of the MPAA, and what happened exactly?

What happened was a total media blackout on the illegal behaviour and was swept under the carpet just as it will be this time.

Check fox, cnn, bbc, ect and see if any one is running the story, when there is even a DDoS attack in the smallest republic of russia, its front page news and terrorism, which is what DDoS attack are now after 9/11, terrorist behaviour, so why is the CIA, FBI, DOS, ATF, ect, not kicking down the doors and arresting these terrorists, and why the media blackout?

If this had been done by a 13 year old joe bloggs hacker, he would be front page news worldwide and on his way to guantanamo bay atm.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 May 2008 @ 7:12

931.5.2008 4:29

damn right, nobrainer. Profitability is slowly but surely forcing out morality...

1031.5.2008 21:22
drach
Inactive

Wouldnt it be poetic justice if people banded together and DoS'ed Media Defender?

111.6.2008 1:27

Originally posted by drach:
Wouldnt it be poetic justice if people banded together and DoS'ed Media Defender?

With a name as Media Defender, would you expect them to understand true justice ?

"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


122.6.2008 17:44
RNR1995
Inactive

I agree with the nobrainer comment
"How much justice can you afford?"

132.6.2008 18:13

Honestly do you really think anything is going to be done IF the FBI finds any wrongdoing was actually committed?....yeah I thought so! It's just going to be swept under the carpet and forgotten which just proves that there is a double standard when it comes to justice.

143.6.2008 8:17

XENON, I think you are WAY wrong. The FBI will have to do an OK job because they are under the limelight. If the FBI does find wrong doing that will open up the door for a law suit. That could be dangerous for MD. All you need is to a jury where a juror knows a friend that has been reamed by the media maffia. They normally ream the 'innocent' just because they can. You could get one of those landmark cases where the settlement is 10 times the asked for settlement. I am sure Revision3 will be sueing for punitive damages. Even a judge will not like this policing agency carrying out terrorist attacks especially on a perfectly legal operation.

No this one will NOT just go away!

153.6.2008 18:14

Mez

Maybe I'm wrong but what's stopping someone higher up in the food chain (re the DOJ) from calling in favors and stopping this in its tracks? Yes most likely the FBI will find something I'm sure. but what if someone with ulterior motives could find a way to deliberately misplace the case files? yeah I know it sounds like paranoia and conspiracy theories. but stranger things have happened!

163.6.2008 19:35

XENON, I have seen thing like that happen so I certainly can't say it will not.

However, I have been watching the politics against luke warm piracy go cold. I can site 2 examples, 1) The media fan boys in the house justice committee came up with a killer piracy law last Sept. Held a news conference about what they were going to do as a straw man. I can only guess that straw man BURNED! That was the last mention of that to the press. Within two weeks the proposal was off their web site. Before, it was in the look what we are doing for you part of the site. The Bush anti terrorism bill also failed. That would have turned us into a fascist state.

I think the prosecution of both parents that had kids using some P2P app and persons having a unsecure home network was very short sighted. I bet 50,000 of those 60,000 cases were in one of those two categories. I really can't believe adults would just do what they had to do to get caught. Anyway, I am sure ever one of those wrote their congressman and senators. Very little has been going their way these days. Yes they continue to pound the easy targets and have gone after new easy targets like news groups.

I can't believe a lawyer for Revision3 would not go after MediaDefender with a vengance.

Maybe I am too optimistic.

173.6.2008 19:45

Mez, I would like you to take a look at this article and read your comments. This is not the beginning of a fight of me and you, it is just you have insights which I am not aware, and I would wish, if you could, share those insights with the rest of us. Peace and Thanks


http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/667838


"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


185.6.2008 8:02

I never ever try to fight with someone that is half reasonable. You have good points and may be 'righter' than I am.

I didn't know about that one. That might have been what the Justice committee was working on in Sept. Hey, they might try that again after the elections are over. I will have to write all those congressmen again. That was a lot of work!

I will say, anyone that believes that the file sharing will not be under some kind of new serious attack next year is smoking too much dope.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Jun 2008 @ 8:03

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive