Microsoft-funded 'Pirate Pay' takes aim at BitTorrent piracy

By on May 14, 2012, 10:00 AM

A Russian startup called Pirate Pay — in allusion to the notorious file-sharing site — has reportedly created a way to attack “BitTorrent swarms,” or groups of computers hosting content, making it hard for them to share files. Apparently the company was initially building a traffic management system for ISPs, but it wasn’t long before they realized that the technology could be used to track and shut down BitTorrent traffic of copyrighted materials.

The program showed great promise in combating the spread of pirated content, according to Pirate Pay CEO Andrei Klimenko, enough to receive a $100,000 investment from the Microsoft Seed fund.

In December last year Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures became the first to hire Pirate Pay’s services to protect the Russian film “Vysotsky. Thanks to God, I’m alive,” with moderate success. According to TorrentFreak, the company was able to stop 44,845 transfers in one month. The rate of success is unclear since the company didn’t mention how many slipped through.

Describing the process, Klimenko explained: “We used a number of servers to make a connection to each and every P2P client that distributed this film. Then Pirate Pay sent specific traffic to confuse these clients about the real IP-addresses of other clients and to make them disconnect from each other.”

Pirate Pay says it charges between $12,000 and $50,000 depending on the project. If the technology works as advertised, the firm and its initial backers might see a good return, though as Torrent Freak points out they are not the only ones working to tackle BitTorrent piracy.




User Comments: 21

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Tygerstrike said:

And you were all worried about SOPA,PIPA, ect. I knew they had other stuff in the works! The legislative part of it was just so these types of actions could be done with little notice. Looks like the more tech/software bypasses the pirates do the industry will find ways to catch up to them.

Guest said:

Anonymous, fire up the lazerz!

Guest said:

Wouldn't this be a cyber attack?

what would happen if you inherently got the wrong torrent and gummed up legitimate business or a legal download?

MilwaukeeMike said:

Tyger, I'm not sure 'they' had other stuff in teh works. SOPA, PIPA were American bills, this is a Russian tech startup company.

The rate of success is unclear since the company didn?t mention how many slipped through.
Very good point.... are they measuring a transfer as the whole movie, or just a 12kb piece of it?

Either way, the content owners have every right to resort to shady means to stop trading of thier stuff. We've been stealing their stuff for years. Dont' throw snowballs if you're not prepared to get hit in the face with one.

I remember a good strat that was used back in napster days was the record companies flooding the site with copies of songs that were the exact right size, had high download ratings etc, but only had the first 20 seconds of the song followed by gibberish.

Guest said:

Meanwhile, 5 000 seeds in TPB were laughing their ass off...

Staff
Jos Jos said:

I agree that content owners have every right to protect their intellectual property but I would love to see them put the same effort into figuring out better ways of delivering TV shows and movies to users that actually want to pay for them.

The music industry (after intimidating file sharers with lawsuits for years) seems to be more or less on the right track with a la carte and subscription based music services along with fewer geographic restrictions, though there's still work to be done. Hollywood on the other hand... just check out this painfully truthful comic from The Oatmeal http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones\

Tygerstrike said:

@Mike

Its been invested in by MS. See something like this has to be done in Russia. Freedoms there are still limited. The ppl prolly wont rise up and start a rebellion due to having their movies they are trying to pirate blocked.

My point is, they have had this in the works for a bit. SOPA,PIPA ect are the legal "backbone" that will allow these actions to be taken in countries with more freedoms. Much like how the Patriot act allows the US Govt. The ability to wiretap with very little to no provication. Its just a matter of time before MPAA and RIAA jump on this tech to protect their profits. And slowly and quietly you will see a SOPA or PIPA like bill get passed in some super pork filled bill. Some Line# 236 buried deep in the back long past when anyone of import has continued reading and just signs the bill.

ramonsterns said:

And then it will be used to "disrupt" downloads from competitors.

psycros psycros said:

Let me get this straight: Microsoft is hiring <b>hackers</b> to <I>attack computers and networks</I> with the stated intention of <I>disrupting internet traffic</I>. HA HA HA HA HAAA!! Suckers! This Russian outfit is setting them up for an endless string of huge lawsuits..their obviously playing both sides, LOL! I hope Ballmer keeps the lube handy!

MilwaukeeMike said:

Its just a matter of time before MPAA and RIAA jump on this tech to protect their profits
and why shouldn't they? We use specialized tech (torrents) to steal, shouldn't they be allowed to use something to stop us? It'd be hard to argue we don't deserve it. Especially with the ruling that 'It wasn't me, it was my IP address' basically means someone needs to record you pirating something to get busted for it.

You're also making some big assumptions about a SOPA-like bill. Did you take note how SOPA caused major outrage, but CISPA didn't (even though the House passed CISPA!)? The difference being CISPA had google's support. Google's lobbying budget is 10 times greater than the MPAA and RIAA, so as long as the laws favor google we'll be fine. I don't think it would be snuck in... that doesn't seem realistic with something as high profile as this. Pork is usually in the form of some money allocation going towards some politician's pet project.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Let me get this straight: Microsoft is hiring <b>hackers</b> to <I>attack computers and networks</I> with the stated intention of <I>disrupting internet traffic</I>. HA HA HA HA HAAA!! Suckers! This Russian outfit is setting them up for an endless string of huge lawsuits..their obviously playing both sides, LOL! I hope Ballmer keeps the lube handy!

Actually, the story said MS invested in them. meaning that they may want to buy the company someday, or otherwise just think they have a valuable idea. I've never seen anyone confuse 'investing' with 'hiring' before...

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Microsoft was BUILT on piracy. From 3.1 to XP, Microsoft did basically nothing to keep the OS from being pirated and used. They left a corporate key to WinXP in the wild for years without doing anything about it. Piracy probably saved them millions in marketing.

ramonsterns said:

and why shouldn't they? .

Because this technology isn't going to stop at piracy. What part of "give the corporation a finger and they take the entire torso" do you not understand?

fimbles fimbles said:

Ill give it about a week before theres a workaround, im feeling generous.

anguis said:

"According to TorrentFreak, the company was able to stop 44,845 transfers in one month. The rate of success is unclear since the company didn?t mention how many slipped through."

So, in other words, there is a big possibility that the claimed 44,845 transfers stopped were simply 1 fragment of the file. You can stop 1 transfer of 1 fragment of the file but the whole of the transfer wouldn't be stopped. It would simply find another source to download from after the transfer fails.

Not to mention, it could have been 44,845 transfers stopped out of 4.5 million which is a percentage likely much lower than transfers being stopped due to other, non-intentional errors.

Also, this act is very close to being illegal (if it isn't already). They are creating a connection to people's computers without authorization and with malicious intent (malicious intent is the sending of specific traffic to confuse the connections which they are not a part of - this breaches availability, integrity, and confidentiality - all of which are critical to the security of a system). I would go as far to say that, with the current laws in place, this company could be sued in civil court for privacy breaches related to cyber crime. That said, it is a Russian company, so I don't know how Microsoft's connection to them through investment would be applicable.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

and why shouldn't they? .

Because this technology isn't going to stop at piracy. What part of "give the corporation a finger and they take the entire torso" do you not understand?

This technology is meant to disrupt Bittorrent and has to be targeted at a specific torrent swarm. Do you really think Bittorrent is used for any legitimate purposes the government is worried about?

Guest said:

Sorry to let the cat slip out fo the bag, but torrenting is not the only means of filesharing / obtaining warez quite alot of other areas exist and thrive.

The only way to truely stifle piracy is through education not littigation or nefarious means, while some users will pirate regardless that is simply just life ppl are ppl we are opportunists at heart.

As showen by the article even companies / corporations will jump at the opportunity to do something illegal, for their own gain.

Personally I think good on them, the main reason the warez scene is in a mess is it allows the joe blows to leech gone are the days of user ratios of 1:2 or such that made it so only those in the scene got the scene stuff. When the joe blows are gone the SOPA and other bills might trickle to a halt, or atleast have no valid argument for them and they can be dismissed by the attorney generals office etc.

Guest said:

Pirate Bay you dissappoint me . They always say money talks and bullshit walks and sure looks like you took the money. Now you are the enemy and I see a very grim future for pirate bay in the near future. We the people made you what you are today and we the people will take you down since you want to switch sides now and help these people. **** YOU PIRATE BAY, your not the only download site you know and we can make others famous like we did you.

ramonsterns said:

Pirate Bay you dissappoint me . They always say money talks and bullshit walks and sure looks like you took the money. Now you are the enemy and I see a very grim future for pirate bay in the near future. We the people made you what you are today and we the people will take you down since you want to switch sides now and help these people. **** YOU PIRATE BAY, your not the only download site you know and we can make others famous like we did you.

Not sure if serious.

and why shouldn't they? .

Because this technology isn't going to stop at piracy. What part of "give the corporation a finger and they take the entire torso" do you not understand?

This technology is meant to disrupt Bittorrent and has to be targeted at a specific torrent swarm. Do you really think Bittorrent is used for any legitimate purposes the government is worried about?

When did anyone mention the government? And why do you think this technology wouldn't be misused?

Guest said:

Come on! Who you trying to kid? Someone in Russia that's fighting for honesty? You're kidding ... Right?

Guest said:

Funny that Microsoft, likely the worst IT company for copyright and patent abuses, is taking a stand against, well, themselves... Kind of like how reformed smokers become the strongest "anti-smokers"! I wonder if this means that Microsoft is going to stop abusing their competition and abide by "ALL" the laws of the Countries in which they do business.

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