Hacker cracks Pirate Bay, exposes 4M pirates

Popular BitTorrent index, Pirate Bay, has been hacked and 4 million user accounts have been compromised.

Use Pirate Bay to find or swap files? If so, about 4 million of you have just had your accounts hacked and user names, e-mail and Internet addresses compiled by a 23-year-old Argentinian (and two pals) exploiting the site's SQL vulnerabilities. The lead hacker, identified as CH Russo, said he didn't hack for profit or malice, but awareness, which is somewhat suspect. Russo said no accounts, including those of several The Pirate Bay site administrators and moderators, were changed or modified during the hack.

"As any other Website, as any other system or mechanism, www.thepiratebay.org has robust parts and soft spots," Russo wrote on his blog, detailing the hack complete with video. "We believe that the people behind this community always acted with the local laws on their side, and so have we. The community caused problems to huge companies and corporations which turned into threats between this companies and them. What we have done, we did not do it with anger, or for commercial value. As always, we saw the change, the moment and decided to take it. The protocol or procedure done to achieve this wasn't anything out of the ordinary."

While many assumed that Russo could make money off the hack by selling the information to the Recording Industry Association of America or the Motion Picture Association of America, who both have legally threatened and prosecuted file sharers for copyright infringement in the past, Russo says that's not his goal.

"Probably these groups would be very interested in this information, but we are not [trying] to sell it," Russo told KrebsOnSecurity.com. "Instead we wanted to tell people that their information may not be so well protected."

While Russo stated the hack was to create awareness of site vulnerabilities, the reality is that Russo is an entrepreneur who created a software vulnerability exploit service called Impassioned Framework, where he sells a browser exploitation kit license for around $1,762 a month (1,399 euros.) His stunt probably guaranteed him enough free advertising and a spike in sales that will probably enable him to move out of his parents' Argentinian equivalent of a basement.

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Barbara Hernandez

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