Good, Bad and Ugly ‘Pirate Bays’ Spring Up in Torrent World

The torrent world is in turmoil following last week’s shutdown of The Pirate Bay in a police raid.

Other torrent sites have seen traffic spikes, while Pirate Bay clones — set up both by file-sharing activists and cyberscamsters — are emerging.

Meanwhile, authorities around the world appear to be playing a game of whack-a-mole.

“Where there is enough need, a market will always develop, and this site was very popular,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told the E-Commerce Times.

“When Napster went down, did that stop file-sharing?” asked Adam Kujawa, head of malware intelligence at Malwarebytes. “What about Morpheus or any of the other services that took advantage of the new peer-to-peer networks?”

There have been indications The Pirate Bay may stage a comeback, according to TorrentFreak.

Someone with the handle “Mr 10100100000” apparently contacted TorrentFreak through an encrypted channel to say the raid was expected. It “is a part of this game,” and The Pirate Bay doesn’t know whether it will reboot, “but, if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang.”

Love Let Me Not Hunger

Consumers’ demand for free content led people to access other torrent sites after The Pirate Bay was taken down.

Isohunt put upThe Pirate Bay Search by Isohunt, apparently based on a downloaded a copy of The Pirate Bay’s database.

“Isohunt has always been a popular alternative,” Lucas Zaichkowsky, enterprise defense architect at Resolution1 Security, told the E-Commerce Times.

However, several torrents that existed on The Pirate Bay are missing from the Isohunt site, users have noted.

No matter: “The Pirate Bay database of content providers of seeders and torrents is ever changing and evolving as the community uploads content locations all the time,” Ian Trump, security advisor at LogicNow, told the E-Commerce Times.

“As an organization built on illicit file-sharing, I’m relatively certain that disaster recovery and illegitimate business continuity were not organizational focuses,” he said of The Pirate Bay.

Arrr, Matey, Walk the CyberPlank

Scamsters apparently were quick to leap on Isohunt’s move.

“We are not asking for any kind of donation,” Isohunt says on its Pirate Bay Search site. “Please don’t send your money to any people pretending they are from Isohunt.”

The “@oldpiratebay” Twitter account is fake, Isohunt also points out, noting that its official sites are “@isohuntto” on Twitter, “” on Facebook, and “+IsohuntTo” on Google+.

The Costa Rican domain, ending in .cr, that last week was thought to be a new domain for The Pirate Bay, has since been reported to be shady, redirecting visitors to a .ee domain where they’re charged for downloading content.

“There could be a rise in malware activities that take advantage of the sinking of the pirate ship,” Joe Schumacher, senior security consultant at Neohapsis, told the E-Commerce Times.

Cyberscam sites might impact The Pirate Bay if it should reappear, because “few people would truly trust it,” Kujawa warned.

A site that appeared to be the real Pirate Bay could turn out to be a scam “to infect users and/or catch users posting intellectual property and copyrighted media,” he said.

The Pirate Bay’s takedown likely will have minimal impact on the subculture of illegal file-sharing, however.

“If anything, this event may kick off a new round of development of a torrent 2.0 architecture which proves even more stealthy than current architectures,” Trump warned.

“With so many [torrent] participants and enthusiasts around the world,” said Resolution1 Security’s Zaichkowsky, “industries fighting piracy cannot keep up.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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