Hackers leak antipiracy vendor's e-mails to Net

Messages show MediaDefender planned a fake site to snare pirates

Thousands of e-mails detailing the operations of MediaDefender, a company hired by movie studios and record labels to flood file-sharing networks with fake files of pirated films and albums, have leaked to the Internet.

A group calling itself "MediaDefender-Defenders" claimed responsibility for posting more 6,000 messages purportedly from MediaDefender. "By releasing these e-mails we hope to secure the privacy and personal integrity of all peer-to-peer users," MediaDefender-Defenders said in a text file bundled with the compressed messages. "The e-mails contains [sic] information about the various tactics and technical solutions for tracking p2p users, and disrupt [sic] p2p services."

The group said it hacked the Gmail account of a MediaDefender employee who had forwarded his work mail to his personal Google e-mail service address.

A file containing the e-mail messages quickly spread via BitTorrent, and its contents have also been extracted and converted into HTML, then published on at least one Web site.

In the e-mails, which covered a period from mid-December 2006 to Sept. 10, company executives discussed a planned Web site, dubbed WiiVii.com, that would pose as a pirate site that offered downloads of copyrighted movies and music but would actually track users who accessed it, then report their IP addresses back to MediaDefender. At least one e-mail seemed to discuss software that, once downloaded to the PCs of WiiVii's visitors, would also transform the computers into bots capable of automatically seeding peer-to-peer networks with fake files.

MediaDefender, which offers what it calls "decoying" and "spoofing" services to clients, has drawn the ire of P2P users for its work stuffing file-sharing networks with worthless files. "We send blank files and data noise that look exactly like a real response to an initiated search requests for a particular title," the company claimed on its Web site. "Pirated files will no doubt be on the networks, but with our protection applied, it would be easier to find a needle in a haystack than a real file amongst our countermeasures."

Other details leaked in the messages include specifics of MediaDefender's contract with Universal Music Group, a message from a company employee concerned that his name would be used on the site registration for WiiVii, and changes to WiiVii after some information about the planned site leaked in July.

MediaDefender did not respond to a call for comment, but one Web site that posted the e-mail messages also added a message reportedly from MediaDefender CEO Randy Saaf, which claimed that the company has contacted law enforcement. "I am the CEO of MediaDefender," the message read. "We have begun our civil and criminal investigations into the stolen e-mails from our company. We are meeting with the FBI on Monday. Your IP address has been logged. I hope it was worth the thrill."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?