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he Pirate Bay discontinued its tracker more than half a decade ago, but in recent weeks it returned from the dead to DDoS web-servers all over the world. In what appears to be a misconfiguration of the "Chinese Firewall," tracker.thepiratebay.org is pointed to the IP-addresses of servers that have nothing to do with torrents. On November 2009 The Pirate Bay announced that it would shut down its tracker for good. Trackers were outdated according to the siteâ€™s owners. Instead, they encouraged BitTorrent users to rely on DHT, PEX and other trackerless technologies. Despite the fact that the tracker is no longer functional, many old and some new torrents still include the tracker.thepiratebay.org announce address. While the tracker hasnâ€™t responded to these calls for five years, for some server admins it has now risen from the dead. Starting early January hundreds of websites have been plagued by traffic from China. While the exact reason remains unclear, it appears that the Great Firewall of China may be in part causing the problems. Due to a reconfiguration the Pirate Bay domain is being linked to random IP-addresses. This problem applies to various censored sites, but the thousands of connections per second coming from tracker.thepiratebay.org stand out for most people. It is no secret that BitTorrent users can easily DDoS websites if the tracker address points to the wrong IP, but we havenâ€™t witnessed something of this magnitude before. Below is a graph Craig Hockenberry posted of a DDoS on his server where the number of requests peaked at 52 Mbps per second, with torrent announces being the most common source. The suspicion that Chinese efforts to censor the Internet have something to do with the problems seems plausible. Querying Chinese DNS servers returns many seemingly random IP-addresses that change all the time. In other words, requests to the dead Pirate Bay trackers are sent to seemingly random servers, and none of these have anything to do with the notorious torrent site. Johannes Ullrich, CTO of SANS Internet Storm Center, came to a similar conclusion and many of his readers reported problems of the same nature. â€œWe also get a lot of this type of traffic for the last 2 weeks. At moments it causes a total DoS for our webserver. Most of the traffic has thepiratebay as hostname in the http request, but we also see akamai, edgecdn and some more obscure and explicit sites passing in our logs,â€ Arjan says. â€œI work in the banking sector in the UK. We started to see this traffic hit our web servers just before the new year and it has continued since, but thankfully not on a harmful scale. Weâ€™ve seen various sites in the host header, including thepiratebay, facebook, googlevideo â€“ all of which appear to be restricted within China,â€ Anonymous adds. And the list goes on and on. Over the past several days reports have come from all over the place, all describing the same problem. Thus far, most server admins have decided to filter out Chinese traffic, which eases the load. But the underlying problem persists. For now the true origin of the zombie DDoSes remains unknown, but hopefully those responsible will soon realize the crippling mistake theyâ€™ve made, and put Pirate Bayâ€™s tracker back in the ground.
Mega founder Kim Dotcom has saved Christmas for many Playstation and Xbox gamers. In what he describes as a Christmas Miracle, Kim Dotcom appears to have stopped Lizard Squad's DDoS attacks by handing out 3,000 vouchers for premium Mega accounts, worth $99 a piece. When Xbox and Playstation players wanted to test their Christmas gifts a few hours ago, they were welcomed by an unpleasant surprise. Lizard Squad, who repeatedly DDoSed the PlayStation Network and Xbox Liveâ€™s servers in recent months, were back with a Christmas gift nobody asked for. Another DDoS attack resulting in yet more downtime. One of the affected players was Kim Dotcom, whoâ€™s an avid Xbox player himself. But instead of cursing Lizard Squad to high heaven he decided to make them an offer. Although the general belief may be that itâ€™s best not to negotiate with â€œterrorists,â€ Dotcom decided to give it a try. â€œHi @LizardMafia, I want to play #Destiny on XBOX Live. Iâ€™ll give your entire crew Mega lifetime premium vouchers if you let us play. Cool?â€ he tweeted. Lizard Squad is apparently easy to please as they were willing to stop the attacks in return for 3,000 free cloud hosting vouchers. After getting approval from Megaâ€™s management, Dotcom and Lizard Squad eventually came to terms through Twitterâ€™s back-channel. Once the vouchers were in Lizard Squadâ€™s possession, the attacks did indeed slow down and Christmas was saved. While some still experienced some outages due to the earlier attacks, many players were able to join their favorite games again. â€œThanks @KimDotcom for the vouchersâ€“youâ€™re the reason we stopped the attacks. @MegaPrivacy is an awesome service,â€ Lizard Squad tweeted, confirming the successful intervention. Dotcom, meanwhile, is happy that he can play Destiny but wishes that his other troubles could be resolved this easily too. Whether the U.S. Department of Justice will accept Mega vouchers is doubtful though. â€œObviously, diplomacy works. I recommend that the U.S. Government gives it a try. #MakeLoveNotWar #UseMegaVouchers,â€ Kim noted. Of course thereâ€™s no guarantee that Lizard Squad will keep their promise during the days to come, but Dotcom said he will render the vouchers useless if attacks resume. Merry Christmas everyoneâ€¦ http://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-stops-xbox-and-playstation-attacks-141226/
America Confirmed Chinese Government behind Cyber Attacks A US Senate panel has recently confirmed that the cyber attackers associated with the Chinese government have repeatedly infiltrated the computer systems of American airlines, tech companies and other contractors that were engaged in the movement of American troops and military equipment. According to the results of the Senate Armed Services Committeeâ€™s year-long probe, the militaryâ€™s US Transportation Command, also known as Transcom, only know about 2 out of 20 such hacks within a single year. The investigation discovered gaps in reporting requirements and a lack of information sharing among American government bodies that left the US military oblivious to the cyber intrusions of its contractors. The committeeâ€™s chairman blamed the Chinese hackers rather that the big defense industryâ€™s cock-ups. He claimed that the peacetime intrusions into the networks of key defense contractors give evidence of Chinaâ€™s aggressive actions on the Internet. However, the cybersecurity expert Dmitri Alperovitch, who is a chief technology officer with the security firm Crowdstrike, pointed out that China had for years shown interest in the logistical patterns of the military of the United States. The Chinese military normally uses secret or top-secret networks disconnected from the Internet, while the American private companies hired by the United States do not. According to the report, from June 2012 to June 2013, there were about 50 hacks or other cyber events into the computer networks of Transportation Command contractors. The investigation found out that at least 20 of those intrusions were successful hacks attributed to an â€œadvanced persistent threatâ€ â€“ this is a term used to describe sophisticated threats normally associated with cyber attacks against governments. Moreover, the probe attributed all of those intrusions to China. As a result, the committeeâ€™s top Republican called for a â€œcentral clearinghouseâ€, which can facilitate reporting suspicious cyber activity for the contractors.
A lot of this week in civil liberties has been about the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, USA. Police troops fired tear gas on a television crew. This mirrors the ongoing web censorship efforts. The governments around the world are reacting the exact same way today as they did when the printing press arrived 500 years ago. There isnâ€™t really anything new under the sun. Then, as now, they were used to telling people what was true and what wasnâ€™t, telling whatever story that fit whatever it was they wanted to do. â€œCannabis is dangerous. Tobacco is not harmful at all. Oh, and there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.â€ When police troops in Ferguson launched tear gas grenades at a television team from Al-Jazeera, that is a symptom of the exact same thing as web censorship: governments are losing control of the story. Governments can no longer invent whatever truth that fits what they want to happen. Police firing at press is actually something very rare â€“ even in the worst of war zones, itâ€™s a rare occurrence that press teams are deliberately targeted, and yet, this was precisely what happened in Ferguson, USA. The reason is the exact same as for web censorship and mass surveillance: The governments and the people working for them are attacking anybody who exposes what they do, using whatever power they have to do so. Tear gas grenades against a TV crew may have been both overviolent and counterproductive, but itâ€™s still the same thing. Itâ€™s exactly what happened when the printing press arrived, and the penalties for using a printing press â€“ thereby circumventing the truthtellers of that time â€“ gradually increased to the death penalty (France, 1535). Not even the death penalty worked to deter people from using the printing press to tell their version of events to the world, which more often than not contradicted the official version. The cat was out of the bag. As it is now. Governments and police still donâ€™t understand that everybody is a broadcaster â€“ attacking a TV crew was futile in the first place. During the initial, hopeful months of the Arab Spring, a lot of photos circulated of young people gathering for protests. What was interesting about the photos were that they were taken with mobile phones, but also that they showed a lot of other people at the protest taking photos of the same crowd at the same time with their own mobile phone. Thus, the photos of the ongoing revolution contained instructions in themselves for how to perpetuate the revolution â€“ take pictures of crowds defying the edicts and dictums. This is why itâ€™s so puzzling that the police even bother to give special treatment to people from television stations and newspapers. Strictly speaking, theyâ€™re not necessary to get the story out anymore, even if they still have some follower advantage for the most part. â€œPolice are being transformed from protecting the public into protecting government from the publicâ€, as @directorblue just tweeted. That could be said about pretty much anything concerning the net, too â€” from oppressive applications of copyright monopoly law to strangling net innovations or giving telcos monopolies that prevent the netâ€™s utility. The attacks on the public by police troops in Ferguson, attacks from the copyright industry against those who want a free net, and web censorship by governments are all different sides of the same story. And all of this has happened before. Last time this happened, it took 200 years of civil war to settle the dust and agree that the printing press may have been a nice invention after all. Can we please not repeat that mistake? http://torrentfreak.com/ferguson-attacks-web-censorship-parts-story-140817/
Hosting Provider Plagued by DDoS Attacks on Torrent Sites Several torrent sites hosted at Genious Communications have been suffering from DDoS attacks of up to 30 gigabits per second. Thus far the identity of those behind the attacks remains a mystery, but the CEO of the hosting service isn't ruling out the involvement copyright watchdogs. BitTorrent trackers are no strangers to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Pretty much all sites of a respectable size are targeted on occasion by unknown sources. In most cases these attacks donâ€™t last too long, but every now and then they get more serious. For example, in recent weeks several French torrent sites have had to deal with a serious flood of unwanted connections, rendering the sites and trackers in question unavailable. The Morocco-based provider Genious Communications hosts several of the affected torrent sites, including smartorrent.com and cpasbien.pe. To find out more TorrentFreak contacted CEO Hamza Aboulfeth, who told us that the attacks come in all shapes and sizes. â€œThe biggest attack was on smartorrent.com where we had over 30 Gbit/s which gave us no choice but nullroute the IP at the moment of the attack,â€ Aboulfeth says. The attacks range from common HTTP floods to UDP and SYN flood attacks and huge botnets. As a result, Genious has migrated several clients over to a specialized DDoS protection setup. â€œWe have our own professional DDoS protection system so we had to move some of our clients to it, the rest just moved to Cloudflare where they offer decent protection for a reasonable price,â€ Aboulfeth says. The biggest challenge is to mitigate the attacks on trackers as these are not dealing with regular HTTP requests, but so far the company has managed to take the edge off the assaults. The attacks started a few weeks ago and have been continuing ever since at varying intensities. They are all targeted at several of Genious Communicationsâ€™ file-sharing related clients, but the identities of the individuals behind them remains a mystery. Aboulfeth hasnâ€™t heard of any cash demands, which excludes the extortion scheme several other sites were subjected to earlier this year. According to the CEO, itâ€™s most likely that competitors or an anti-piracy group are behind the attacks. â€œI think the attacks are most likely coming from competitors or some copyright agency,â€ Aboulfeth says. â€œOne common thing is they are all French torrent websites, and I know for a fact that I have been contacted by someone hosted somewhere else claiming that one of our clients is attacking him, and of course my client is denying that,â€ he adds. In the long term the sites have no other option than to make sure that they can cope with the DDoS attacks. In most cases they eventually pass, without their victims ever knowing what their purpose was.