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MediaDefender's BitTorrent-Based DOS Takes Down Revision3 426

Posted by timothy
from the well-that's-certainly-reasonable dept.
Sandman1971 writes "Over the long Memorial Day weekend, Revision3 was the target of a malicious Denial Of Service Attack which brought R3 to its knees. After investigating the matter, it was discovered that the source of the attacks came from MediaDefender, the famed company hired by the MPAA and RIAA to try and stop the spread of illegal file sharing. The kicker? Revision3 was taken down for running a bittorent tracker to distribute its own legal content."
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MediaDefender's BitTorrent-Based DOS Takes Down Revision3

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  • by mrbah (844007) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:03PM (#23592117)
    Looks to me like MediaDefender is in clear violation of at least two subsections of 18 USC 1030 [cornell.edu]. Where is the federal criminal investigation?
    • by SpooForBrains (771537) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:06PM (#23592171)
      Exactly. If a normal member of the public did something like this, they'd be facing jail time.
      • by HalAtWork (926717) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:11PM (#23592213)
        Corporations aren't normal members of the public. Except they're treated as such in court. So that the people who run them don't get treated like normal members of the public.
        • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:20PM (#23592347) Homepage Journal
          Your argument contains one common fallacy. Corporate executives aren't even remotely normal.
          • by ePhil_One (634771) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:58PM (#23592813) Journal

            Your argument contains one common fallacy. Corporate executives aren't even remotely normal.
            The executives aren't being sued, the company is. This sort of "Take-down" company is treading on thin ice legally, one such misfire as this and they can lose the company.

            Trick is, they are well aware and have likely structured the company to allow a simple simple collapse w/ minimal loss, after which MediaProtector will be reborn from the ashes, a completely different company w/ the exact same staff and an identical client list.

            Best bet is to go after the company that hired them; prove they paid this company to break the law for them. The RIAA/MPAA will have a harder time collapsing and reforming...

            • Good point. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:10PM (#23592955) Homepage Journal
              Although not a similar case, Clive Sinclair structured his company with an eye to surviving collapse. He split it into "Sinclair" (which carried all of the losses) and "Sinclair Research" (which carried all of the profits, intellectual property, et al). After the Sinclair C5 fiasco, "Sinclair" was sold to Amstrad for a small fortune (ie: he sold off the debt) and "Sinclair Research" (which had all the useful stuff and was now considerably richer) remained in his hands.

              The idea MediaDefender is nothing more than a disposable front-end, therefore, is entirely possible and would make a lot of sense.

              • Re:Good point. (Score:5, Interesting)

                by mollymoo (202721) * on Thursday May 29, 2008 @08:06PM (#23594201) Journal
                That wasn't the greatest deal ever. Alan Sugar[1] sold Sinclair's existing stock of Spectrums for more than he paid for the company. Clive Sinclair hasn't made billions since then, I'm not sure if he even made millions, but Alan Sugar has made billions[3] - though not all of the back of that purchase.

                [1] Who happens to be the boss in the UK version of The Apprentice - the UK's Donald Trump[2], in that sense.
                [2] When initially writing this post I couldn't remember his name, so it originally read "that guy with the tall buildings and bad hair".
                [3] In US dollars at least. His net worth was a bit shy of a billion quid last time I looked.
              • Re:Good point. (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Tycho (11893) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @08:38PM (#23594513)
                W.R. Grace and Company is the company responsible for 90% of the world's production of Vermiculite until the early 1990's. All of the vermiculite that W.R. Grace mined was mined from open pit mines located near Libby, Montana. All of the vermiculite from Libby had tremolite asbestos present in sufficient quantities to be carcinogenic to those who handled it. However, not all deposits of vermiculite have tremolite asbestos present. Unfortunately, the tremolite asbestos present in the vermiculite cannot be separated out. The dangerous types of asbestos are reasonably benign and of no immediate danger unless handled or disturbed in some way. Handling materials with asbestos will release asbestos fibers, which is surprisingly dangerous. Unless you are trained and have the proper equipment handling asbestos contaminated materials is a bad idea. Besides government standards allow for a reasonably high acceptable concentration of asbestos fibers in air. The asbestos fibers are released during natural weathering processes of natural rocks and soil and the fiber concentrations in the air should not normally be considered an issue.

                Anyway, back to W.R. Grace and Company. The executives at W.R. Grace appear to have known about the toxicity of their vermiculite product since at least the 1970's and ignored the warnings. Additionally the executives appear to have covered up the information about the toxicity of their product as well. In 2000, W.R. Grace transfered assets worth about 4 to 5 billion dollars to spin-off companies. Shortly there after W.R. Grace filed for bankruptcy. This move appears to have been done to shelter assets from ongoing liability lawsuits brought against W.R. Grace from the sale and manufacture of asbestos contaminated vermiculite. Filing for bankruptcy could have ended any ongoing or new lawsuits for W.R. Grace. However the asset transfer scheme was discovered and now the current executives from W.R. Grace are now in even more trouble. This new trouble for the executives of W.R. Grace is of the criminal law type.

                I think that in the case of W.R. Grace, the events seem to show that not all schemes of this type work.
            • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:28PM (#23593191) Homepage
              Trick is, they are well aware and have likely structured the company to allow a simple simple collapse w/ minimal loss, after which MediaProtector will be reborn from the ashes

              Well that seems perfectly normal to me. Don't you do that when you're caught doing something you're not? Why I had to collapse and reform the other day to get out of a reckless driving charge. The cop did seem pretty surprised, though. Hm.
            • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:33PM (#23593255) Journal

              Best bet is to go after the company that hired them; prove they paid this company to break the law for them. The RIAA/MPAA will have a harder time collapsing and reforming...
              Didn't Tanya Anderson sue them under RICO laws? What you describe is the kind of shell-game asset preservation that RICO was designed in part to thwart. IANAL, and can't say whether those particular laws would apply in this case, but I'd love to see the poetic justice of the mafIAA brought down by laws designed to take down the original mafia.
            • by mishehu (712452) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @10:15PM (#23595283)
              Actually, the corporate shield doesn't provide complete immunity. This being a criminal offense being committed by the company, I highly doubt that the heads of the company could simply say "oh gee, so and so wanted us to do it, and we have this agreement with them that absolves us of all wrongdoing." IANAL but my lawyer has advised me of such in the past when I was asked by previous employers to sabotage clients' networks to generate more income for the company - I would have no legal shield saying "my boss said to do it so I did like a robot." He also reiterated that the same goes for the officers and board of a corporation along with its employees.

              The more likely scenario is that they had some patsy of theirs perform this attack, and they'll feed him straight to the feds to save their asses.
    • I take it you didn't RTFA; the FBI is currently investigating the issue with R3's assistance.
      • by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:20PM (#23592351) Journal
        Hella nice! (TFA is 404'd here too).


        So... how long until we see MediaDefender's board get perp-walked? (too much to hope for seeing the RIAA board getting arrested, but hey...)


        *sigh*... I know, I know. MediaDefender will likely claim that some poor (scapegoated) bastard employee of theirs did it without authorization, yadda yadda... then said poor bastard will get to watch in horror as his entire life goes down the toilet.


        Then again, if it does go down like that, it would stand as a prime example of how one should always give priority to personal ethics before accepting a job offer...

        /P

    • by ozamosi (615254) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:19PM (#23592343) Homepage
      According to this [readwriteweb.com], it's on the way.
    • by s4m7 (519684) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:24PM (#23592393) Homepage
      This appears to fall under the definition of cyberterrorism under the same section, as proscribed by the USA PATRIOT ACT as well.
    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:23PM (#23593117) Homepage

      Looks to me like MediaDefender is in clear violation of at least two subsections of 18 USC 1030 [cornell.edu]. Where is the federal criminal investigation?
      Corporations, and their cronies, do not face criminal investigations unless their bri... political contributions run out. Or unless they're stupid.

      Are these guys stupid enough? We'll see.

      This does explain those fake torrents I see every so often that have fake trackers and like 90,000 peers, though.
    • by Joebert (946227) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:40PM (#23593355) Homepage
      It's sitting on the bench right next to the investigation as to whether Mediadefender being the originator of the attack was due to spoofed information or malicious software that somehow made it onto their network.


      The legal system should really be left out of the show being put on by the media companies & pirates, when you get right down to it huge sums of time and money are being wasted to protect something that's all in our heads, literally.
  • by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:04PM (#23592131) Homepage Journal

    Revision3 taken down by curious Slashdotters, and the popcorn you're eating has been pissed in. Film at 11....

  • by Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) * <slashdot@izab a e l.com> on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:04PM (#23592133) Homepage Journal
    THEINTERNETS (Reuters)- Following the DOS attack which brought Revision3 to its knees, the site was once against the target of a DOS attack by the popular news site "Slashdot" as thousands of nerds flooded the site at once hoping to find fodder to use against their arch-nemeses the MPAA and the RIAA.
  • by scubamage (727538) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:06PM (#23592169)
    OMGLAWYERSUESUESUE!
    Seriously, I hope they get even more crucified because of this. Performing a DOS is a clear violation of law in all states, and since it crosses the borders, its a clear felony.
  • by Nerdposeur (910128) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:08PM (#23592191) Journal
    Looks like they're also the target of a vicious Slashdotting. ;)
  • by jesdynf (42915) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:09PM (#23592193) Homepage
    I look forward to the indictment, conviction, and imprisonment of the executives of their operation.

    Failure to achieve these things will not reflect well on the fitness of the rulers to rule.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:12PM (#23592237)
    Revision 3 should have just sued, and sued BIG. By discussing it so glibly, and in such detail, on their blog they're jeopardizing their case. A huge financial hit would hurt the RIAA's cronies a LOT more than a little negative publicity from a blogger.
    • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:18PM (#23592319)
      >>Revision 3 should have just sued, and sued BIG. By discussing it so glibly, and in such detail, on their blog they're jeopardizing their case. A huge financial hit would hurt the RIAA's cronies a LOT more than a little negative publicity from a blogger

      Except then RIAA could have just paid up and fixed their scripts and moved on.

      The FBI investigation is going to turn up more dirt and likely will lead to lots of discovery. Imagine the connections between organizations proper discovery could come up with. Also imagine the work needed to comply. "Ok, RIAA turn over all correspondence you have had concerning enforcement for the last 3 years".

      This does not mean Revision 3 can't sue for damages. But letting the FBI get the ball rolling is the first step. And if the FBI do lay charges then the money part gets a lot easier.
    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:30PM (#23592481)

      Revision 3 should have just sued, and sued BIG. By discussing it so glibly, and in such detail, on their blog they're jeopardizing their case...
      How so? The facts have not changed just because they've talked about it in a blog. If it was illegal before, it's still illegal. IANAL, but I can't imagine a law that says you can't talk about it when someone commits a crime such as this against you...

      Can you expand your comments on this to include a reason such a thing as you propose would be true?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Revision 3 should have just sued, and sued BIG. By discussing it so glibly, and in such detail, on their blog they're jeopardizing their case...

        How so? The facts have not changed just because they've talked about it in a blog. If it was illegal before, it's still illegal. IANAL, but I can't imagine a law that says you can't talk about it when someone commits a crime such as this against you...

        Can you expand your comments on this to include a reason such a thing as you propose would be true?

        The most important thing in legal matters is that you don't discuss a damned thing without talking to your lawyer first.

        Let's use a hypothetical example: I've been injured by, let's say, "Mike Dammit!" (MD for short). Let's say MD stabs me in the arm.

        I usually carry a small aid kit, so let's also assume that I manage to give myself First Aid and stop the bleeding. In the meantime, MD had stabbed four other people and run off before the cops arrive.

        Someone then asks me how I'm doing. I say, "I'm fine."

        Later

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Frosty Piss (770223)

          The most important thing in legal matters is that you don't discuss a damned thing without talking to your lawyer first.
          A useful anecdote when you are accused of a crime. But Revision3 isn't being accused of a crime, they are the victim. They have no liability by discussing the issue because they have committed no crime and it can not change the legality of MediaDefender's behavior.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @07:00PM (#23593599)
          That reminds me of the classic joke:

          Farmer Joe decided his injuries from the accident were serious enough to take the trucking company (responsible for the accident) to court. In court the trucking company's fancy lawyer was questioning farmer Joe.

          "Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'?" said the lawyer.

          Farmer Joe responded, "Well I'll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the...."

          "I didn't ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted, "just answer the question." "Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'!"

          Farmer Joe said, "Well I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road...."

          The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."

          By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Joe's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favoritE mule Bessie."

          Joe thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side.

          I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting real bad and didn't want to move. However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans.

          Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the Patrolman came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me.

          He said, "Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. How are you feeling?"
    • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:33PM (#23592527) Journal
      That 'huge financial hit' would be years off at best. R3 is trying to hurt them now while they can. They know that with deep enough pockets, the RIAA & friends can keep justice at bay almost forever. Contrary to their public boo-hooing over the cost of "piracy", the RIAA and MPAA are full of money.

      What they need is public opinion. In order for them to be successful in curtailing "piracy", they need to convince a large percentage of the public of 2 things - 1) that they are in a morally superior position compared to those sharing files, and 2) that bad things happen to those who share files.

      R3 is taking this opportunity to show that 1) the RIAA is a morally bankrupt group of thugs in 3-piece suits, and 2) the RIAA makes bad things happen to good and bad people indiscriminately.

      I'd be surprised if a whopping big lawsuit didn't follow this, but I haven't been able to RTFA.
  • by Trails (629752) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:17PM (#23592311)
    and then slashdot linked to them.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:17PM (#23592315)
    ... you can hear is R3's lawyers leafing through the 2008 Mercedes catalog.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:30PM (#23592483)
    Hard.

    "Move it's own media files" means they were probably using it for jamming operations against other trackers. Meaning they hacked the server, went to other bittorent sites, said "hey, we've got tasty files here, but only 91% of complete garbage", used revision3 as their server so everyone thought it was kosher instead of, say, Media defenders IP range, and when revision3 kicked them off their servers decided to reconnect and DDOS'd them. Because the input bandwidth was intense for the fubar'd uploads and they had just been cut off of their primary source, they used all available bandwidth to reconnect and DDOS'd.

    What's going to happen here is a combination between defamation of character suites and hacking lawsuits. Those are the kinds of suites that put people out of business and in jail.

    The RIAA and MPAA just shot themselves in the head on this one and their shell company is going to go tits up due to it. That's going to have a concussive effect on the other shell companies which will have a bad effect on their anti-piracy campaign.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:37PM (#23592575)
    It wouldn't be too big of a stretch of one's imagination to believe they use the same tactic against other trackers.

    Maybe if the likes of PirateBay, Mininova and others looked more closely at their traffic patterns and found some "common problems" (such as web traffic from MediaDefender), there would be grounds for civil if not criminal proceedings against MediaDefender.

    What IP#'s or subnets or networks does MediaDefender use?

    Or better yet...

    Maybe we should all run trackers with fake movies being shared and watch for MediaDefender DOS'ing us and create an ever larger case against these twits?
  • by WereCatf (1263464) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:37PM (#23592577) Homepage
    I just absolutely felt compelled to send email to MediaDefender, I so much hate MPAA/RIAA using illegal tactics. So, anyway, here is the email I sent them: Hi there! I just wanted to congratulate you on your brilliant stunt of a highly illegal DOS (Denial of service) attack on Revision3. Perhaps you should have checked earlier that they were seeding their own legal products? Then again, DOS attacks are illegal even against illegal trackers so this could be a bit unfortunate for you. If FBI can link you to DOS attacks on other trackers then you could face serious legal issues. So, I just want to congratulate you once more, this was such a brilliant move by you and I hope you'll do something equally stupid again in the near future! ;) Yours truly, -Nita
  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@@@alum...mit...edu> on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:53PM (#23592761) Homepage

    Revision3 refers to longstanding misuse of its severs by MediaDefender, before the current DOS attack. What exactly they were doing isn't clear to me. Anybody know? And is it a crime?

  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:57PM (#23592801) Homepage
    MediaDefender [mediadefender.com] seems to think it's just fine and dandy to DOS other sites because they don't approve of what that site's doing. Why don't we all go over there and take a real good look at what they have to say for themselves. Let's see how they like being Slashdotted.
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:00PM (#23592845) Homepage Journal
    And yes I know it's expensive, but I could find an attorney to take it on spec.

    I operate a tracker to distribute my music [geometricvisions.com]. It's more efficient than direct HTTP downloads, so it saves on my hosting bill.

    The point really needs to be rammed home to law enforcement and elected officials that there are many perfectly legitimate, and in fact socially beneficial uses for peer-to-peer file sharing.

  • by phoomp (1098855) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:06PM (#23592915)
    Sounds like MediaDefender wants to take down *any* competition to their clients, illegal or otherwise.
  • by Bryansix (761547) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @07:49PM (#23594073) Homepage
    2461 Santa Monica Blvd., D-520
    Santa Monica, CA 90404

    PHONE: (310) 956-3300
    FAX: (310) 956-3391

    Start your letter writing and phone calling campaign against Media Defender now.

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