When Online Cops Go Bad

Revision3, hepatitis a TV network on the web, drugs was shut down this past Memorial Day weekend due to a DoS attack. Though attacks of this nature are an unfortunate reality of being a popular site on the web, this one was a little different.

Normally this sort of attack is mounted by the quintessential “bad guy” or group of bad guys who either have an ax to grind, a point to make, or just want to prove their prowess to their peers. As it turns out, this attack was perpetrated by worst kind of bad guy, the kind that claims to be good on the outside, yet is really rotten on the inside.

MediaDefender is that bad guy. A subsidiary of Artist Direct (ARTD.OB), they are (according to their home page) the leading provider of anti-piracy solutions in the emerging Internet-Piracy-Prevention (IPP) industry. Which is strange since on the same page they also claim to be harnessing the power of user-generated content, social networking, and search technology…to successfully reach out to the 300 Million aggregate unique monthly P2P users.

So what’s their business model? Preventing piracy, or marketing via P2P? Well, according to Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision3, who chronicled the attack, Revision3 was hosting thousands of MediaDefender torrents improperly injected into [their] corporate server and that MediaDefender’s servers freaked out, and went into attack mode…[w]hen [they] closed off their backdoor access.

Oops, so is MediaDefender engaged in questionable practices themselves? Worse still, like corrupt cops, are they beating the snot out of the people they’re supposed to be protecting when the protection money (read: access to your Bittorrent tracking server) isn’t paid? Shame on you MediaDefender.

According to Louderback, [d]enial of service attacks are illegal in the US under 12 different statutes, including the Economic Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the FBI is looking into the matter. Good for you Revision3.

And in case you’re interested, MediaDefender’s client list has included Sony, Universal Music, and the RIAA and MPAA. Surprised? Didn’t think so.

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