Tag Archives: pakistan

US Govt Brands Torrent, Streaming & Cyberlocker Sites As Notorious Markets

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/us-govt-brands-torrent-streaming-cyberlocker-sites-as-notorious-markets-180115/

In its annual “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has listed a long list of websites said to be involved in online piracy.

The list is compiled with high-level input from various trade groups, including the MPAA and RIAA who both submitted their recommendations (1,2) during early October last year.

With the word “allegedly” used more than two dozen times in the report, the US government notes that its report does not constitute cast-iron proof of illegal activity. However, it urges the countries from where the so-called “notorious markets” operate to take action where they can, while putting owners and facilitators on notice that their activities are under the spotlight.

“A goal of the List is to motivate appropriate action by owners, operators, and service providers in the private sector of these and similar markets, as well as governments, to reduce piracy and counterfeiting,” the report reads.

“USTR highlights the following marketplaces because they exemplify global counterfeiting and piracy concerns and because the scale of infringing activity in these marketplaces can cause significant harm to U.S. intellectual property (IP) owners, consumers, legitimate online platforms, and the economy.”

The report begins with a page titled “Issue Focus: Illicit Streaming Devices”. Unsurprisingly, particularly given their place in dozens of headlines last year, the segment focus on the set-top box phenomenon. The piece doesn’t list any apps or software tools as such but highlights the general position, claiming a cost to the US entertainment industry of $4-5 billion a year.

Torrent Sites

In common with previous years, the USTR goes on to list several of the world’s top torrent sites but due to changes in circumstances, others have been delisted. ExtraTorrent, which shut down May 2017, is one such example.

As the world’s most famous torrent site, The Pirate Bay gets a prominent mention, with the USTR noting that the site is of “symbolic importance as one of the longest-running and most vocal torrent sites. The USTR underlines the site’s resilience by noting its hydra-like form while revealing an apparent secret concerning its hosting arrangements.

“The Pirate Bay has allegedly had more than a dozen domains hosted in various countries around the world, applies a reverse proxy service, and uses a hosting provider in Vietnam to evade further enforcement action,” the USTR notes.

Other torrent sites singled out for criticism include RARBG, which was nominated for the listing by the movie industry. According to the USTR, the site is hosted in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has changed hosting services to prevent shutdowns in recent years.

1337x.to and the meta-search engine Torrentz2 are also given a prime mention, with the USTR noting that they are “two of the most popular torrent sites that allegedly infringe U.S. content industry’s copyrights.” Russia’s RuTracker is also targeted for criticism, with the government noting that it’s now one of the most popular torrent sites in the world.

Streaming & Cyberlockers

While torrent sites are still important, the USTR reserves considerable space in its report for streaming portals and cyberlocker-type services.

4Shared.com, a file-hosting site that has been targeted by dozens of millions of copyright notices, is reportedly no longer able to use major US payment providers. Nevertheless, the British Virgin Islands company still collects significant sums from premium accounts, advertising, and offshore payment processors, USTR notes.

Cyberlocker Rapidgator gets another prominent mention in 2017, with the USTR noting that the Russian-hosted platform generates millions of dollars every year through premium memberships while employing rewards and affiliate schemes.

Due to its increasing popularity as a hosting and streaming operation, Openload.co (Romania) is now a big target for the USTR. “The site is used frequently in combination with add-ons in illicit streaming devices. In November 2017, users visited Openload.co a staggering 270 million times,” the USTR writes.

Owned by a Swiss company and hosted in the Netherlands, the popular site Uploaded is also criticized by the US alongside France’s 1Fichier.com, which allegedly hosts pirate games while being largely unresponsive to takedown notices. Dopefile.pk, a Pakistan-based storage outfit, is also highlighted.

On the video streaming front, it’s perhaps no surprise that the USTR focuses on sites like FMovies (Sweden), GoStream (Vietnam), Movie4K.tv (Russia) and PrimeWire. An organization collectively known as the MovShare group which encompasses Nowvideo.sx, WholeCloud.net, NowDownload.cd, MeWatchSeries.to and WatchSeries.ac, among others, is also listed.

Unauthorized music / research papers

While most of the above are either focused on video or feature it as part of their repertoire, other sites are listed for their attention to music. Convert2MP3.net is named as one of the most popular stream-ripping sites in the world and is highlighted due to the prevalence of YouTube-downloader sites and the 2017 demise of YouTube-MP3.

“Convert2MP3.net does not appear to have permission from YouTube or other sites and does not have permission from right holders for a wide variety of music represented by major U.S. labels,” the USTR notes.

Given the amount of attention the site has received in 2017 as ‘The Pirate Bay of Research’, Libgen.io and Sci-Hub.io (not to mention the endless proxy and mirror sites that facilitate access) are given a detailed mention in this year’s report.

“Together these sites make it possible to download — all without permission and without remunerating authors, publishers or researchers — millions of copyrighted books by commercial publishers and university presses; scientific, technical and medical journal articles; and publications of technological standards,” the USTR writes.

Service providers

But it’s not only sites that are being put under pressure. Following a growing list of nominations in previous years, Swiss service provider Private Layer is again singled out as a rogue player in the market for hosting 1337x.to and Torrentz2.eu, among others.

“While the exact configuration of websites changes from year to year, this is the fourth consecutive year that the List has stressed the significant international trade impact of Private Layer’s hosting services and the allegedly infringing sites it hosts,” the USTR notes.

“Other listed and nominated sites may also be hosted by Private Layer but are using
reverse proxy services to obfuscate the true host from the public and from law enforcement.”

The USTR notes Switzerland’s efforts to close a legal loophole that restricts enforcement and looks forward to a positive outcome when the draft amendment is considered by parliament.

Perhaps a little surprisingly given its recent anti-piracy efforts and overtures to the US, Russia’s leading social network VK.com again gets a place on the new list. The USTR recognizes VK’s efforts but insists that more needs to be done.

Social networking and e-commerce

“In 2016, VK reached licensing agreements with major record companies, took steps to limit third-party applications dedicated to downloading infringing content from the site, and experimented with content recognition technologies,” the USTR writes.

“Despite these positive signals, VK reportedly continues to be a hub of infringing activity and the U.S. motion picture industry reports that they find thousands of infringing files on the site each month.”

Finally, in addition to traditional pirate sites, the US also lists online marketplaces that allegedly fail to meet appropriate standards. Re-added to the list in 2016 after a brief hiatus in 2015, China’s Alibaba is listed again in 2017. The development provoked an angry response from the company.

Describing his company as a “scapegoat”, Alibaba Group President Michael Evans said that his platform had achieved a 25% drop in takedown requests and has even been removing infringing listings before they make it online.

“In light of all this, it’s clear that no matter how much action we take and progress we make, the USTR is not actually interested in seeing tangible results,” Evans said in a statement.

The full list of sites in the Notorious Markets Report 2017 (pdf) can be found below.

– 1fichier.com – (cyberlocker)
– 4shared.com – (cyberlocker)
– convert2mp3.net – (stream-ripper)
– Dhgate.com (e-commerce)
– Dopefile.pl – (cyberlocker)
– Firestorm-servers.com (pirate gaming service)
– Fmovies.is, Fmovies.se, Fmovies.to – (streaming)
– Gostream.is, Gomovies.to, 123movieshd.to (streaming)
– Indiamart.com (e-commerce)
– Kinogo.club, kinogo.co (streaming host, platform)
– Libgen.io, sci-hub.io, libgen.pw, sci-hub.cc, sci-hub.bz, libgen.info, lib.rus.ec, bookfi.org, bookzz.org, booker.org, booksc.org, book4you.org, bookos-z1.org, booksee.org, b-ok.org (research downloads)
– Movshare Group – Nowvideo.sx, wholecloud.net, auroravid.to, bitvid.sx, nowdownload.ch, cloudtime.to, mewatchseries.to, watchseries.ac (streaming)
– Movie4k.tv (streaming)
– MP3VA.com (music)
– Openload.co (cyberlocker / streaming)
– 1337x.to (torrent site)
– Primewire.ag (streaming)
– Torrentz2, Torrentz2.me, Torrentz2.is (torrent site)
– Rarbg.to (torrent site)
– Rebel (domain company)
– Repelis.tv (movie and TV linking)
– RuTracker.org (torrent site)
– Rapidgator.net (cyberlocker)
– Taobao.com (e-commerce)
– The Pirate Bay (torrent site)
– TVPlus, TVBrowser, Kuaikan (streaming apps and addons, China)
– Uploaded.net (cyberlocker)
– VK.com (social networking)

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Shadow Brokers, or the hottest security product to buy in 2018

Post Syndicated from Michal Zalewski original http://lcamtuf.blogspot.com/2017/04/shadow-brokers-or-hottest-security.html

For the past three years and a change, the security industry has been mesmerized by a steady trickle of leaks that expose some of the offensive tooling belonging to the Western world’s foremost intelligence agencies. To some folks, the leaks are a devastating blow to national security; to others, they are a chilling peek at the inner workings of an intrusive security apparatus that could be used to attack political enemies within.

I find it difficult to get outraged at revelations such as the compromise of some of the banking exchanges in the Middle East, presumably to track the sources of funding for some of our sworn enemies; at the same time, I’m none too pleased about the reports of the agencies tapping overseas fiber cables of US companies, or indiscriminately hacking university e-mail servers in Europe to provide cover for subsequent C&C ops. Still, many words have been written on the topic, so it is not a debate I am hoping to settle here; my only thought is that if we see espionage as a legitimate task for a nation state, then the revelations seem like a natural extension of what we know about this trade from pre-Internet days. Conversely, if we think that spying is evil, we probably ought to rethink geopolitics in a more fundamental way; until then, there’s no use complaining that the NSA is keeping a bunch of 0-days at hand.

But in a more pragmatic sense, there is one consequence of the leaks that I worry about: the inevitable shifts in IT policies and the next crop of commercial tools and services meant to counter this supposedly new threat. I fear this outcome because I think that the core exploitation capabilities of the agencies – at least to the extent exposed by the leaks – are not vastly different from those of a talented teenager: somewhat disappointingly, the intelligence community accomplishes their goals chiefly by relying on public data sources, the attacks on unpatched or poorly configured systems, and the fallibility of human beings. In fact, some of the exploits exposed in the leaks were probably not developed in-house, but purchased through intermediaries from talented hobbyists – a black market that has been thriving over the past decade or so.

Of course, the NSA is a unique “adversary” in many other ways, but there is no alien technology to reckon with; and by constantly re-framing the conversation around IT security as a response to some new enemy, we tend to forget that the underlying problems that enable such hacking have been with us since the 1990s, that they are not unique to this actor, and that they have not been truly solved by any of the previous tooling and IT spending shifts.

I think that it is useful to compare computer spies to another, far better understood actor: the law enforcement community. In particular:

  1. Both the intelligence agencies and law enforcement are very patient and systematic in their pursuits. If they want to get to you but can’t do so directly, they can always convince, coerce, or compromise your friends, your sysadmins – or heck, just tamper with your supply chain.

  2. Both kinds of actors operate under the protection of the law – which means that they are taking relatively few risks in going after you, can refine their approaches over the years, and can be quite brazen in their plans. They prefer to hack you remotely, of course – but if they can’t, they might just as well break into your home or office, or plant a mole within your org.

  3. Both have nearly unlimited resources. You probably can’t outspend them and they can always source a wide range of tools to further their goals, operating more like a well-oiled machine than a merry band of hobbyists. But it is also easy to understand their goals, and for most people, the best survival strategy is not to invite their undivided attention in the first place.

Once you make yourself interesting enough to be in the crosshairs, the game changes in a pretty spectacular way, and the steps to take might have to come from the playbooks of rebels holed up in the mountains of Pakistan more than from a glossy folder of Cyberintellics Inc. There are no simple, low-cost solutions: you will find no click-and-play security product to help you, and there is no “one weird trick” to keep you safe; taping over your camera or putting your phone in the microwave won’t save the day.

And ultimately, let’s face it: if you’re scrambling to lock down your Internet-exposed SMB servers in response to the most recent revelations from Shadow Brokers, you are probably in deep trouble – and it’s not because of the NSA.

International Phone Fraud Tactics

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/12/international_p.html

This article outlines two different types of international phone fraud. The first can happen when you call an expensive country like Cuba:

My phone call never actually made it to Cuba. The fraudsters make money because the last carrier simply pretends that it connected to Cuba when it actually connected me to the audiobook recording. So it charges Cuban rates to the previous carrier, which charges the preceding carrier, which charges the preceding carrier, and the costs flow upstream to my telecom carrier. The fraudsters siphoning money from the telecommunications system could be anywhere in the world.

The second happens when phones are forced to dial international premium-rate numbers:

The crime ring wasn’t interested in reselling the actual [stolen] phone hardware so much as exploiting the SIM cards. By using all the phones to call international premium numbers, similar to 900 numbers in the U.S. that charge extra, they were making hundreds of thousands of dollars. Elsewhere — Pakistan and the Philippines being two common locations — organized crime rings have hacked into phone systems to get those phones to constantly dial either international premium numbers or high-rate countries like Cuba, Latvia, or Somalia.

Why is this kind of thing so hard to stop?

Stamping out international revenue share fraud is a collective action problem. “The only way to prevent IRFS fraud is to stop the money. If everyone agrees, if no one pays for IRFS, that disrupts it,” says Yates. That would mean, for example, the second-to-last carrier would refuse to pay the last carrier that routed my call to the audiobooks and the third-to-last would refuse to pay the second-to-last, and so on, all the way back up the chain to my phone company. But when has it been easy to get so many companies to do the same thing? It costs money to investigate fraud cases too, and some companies won’t think it’s worth the trade off. “Some operators take a very positive approach toward fraud management. Others see it as cost of business and don’t put a lot of resources or systems in to manage it,” says Yates.

Sky Wins ‘Pirate’ Domain Name Dispute, Forgets to Take it Down

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/sky-wins-pirate-domain-name-dispute-forgets-block-160712/

skylogoPirate sports streaming sites are a thorn in the side of Sky, the UK’s largest pay TV provider.

While it’s an impossible task to shut down these sites all at once, the company recently decided to take action against one that uses the Sky brand to advertise itself.

The site in question, Skysportslive.tv, has been online for several years offering free access to various sporting channels.

Earlier this year Sky ran out of patience. The company filed a complaint against the domain name owner at the World International Property Organization (WIPO), which has an arbitration panel to resolve domain name disputes.

In the complaint, Sky argued that the domain uses their trademark without permission, that the owner had no legitimate interest in the domain, and that the domain was registered in bad faith.

After a careful review, WIPO panelist Evan Brown sided with Sky. The domain name owner, a Pakistan resident, failed to respond but according to Brown there is no indication that the site is destined for legal purposes.

“Respondent is not using and has not used, or made demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services,” the panelist writes.

Instead, it is apparent that the use of the Sky trademark is intended to confuse visitors into believing that the site is legitimate.

“In this case, it is clear that the purpose of registering the disputed domain name was primarily to rely on the value of the Mark in order to confuse Internet users,” the decision ads.

All in all a good outcome for Sky, which gained control over the domain name several weeks ago as the WHOIS entry clearly shows.

Sky now owns Skysportslive.tv

skydomain

However, the company appears to have missed the most crucial part of the arbitration process. That is, updating the domain’s old nameservers after it won.

This means that today, even after several weeks have passed, the now Sky-owned domain is still pointing people to pirated streams.

Those who access the domain are forwarded to crichd.in, another pirate streaming site. Crichd.in uses pretty much the same layout as the original site and is operated by the same people.

Question is, can this sports streaming portal still be characterized as a pirate site if Sky is linking to it?

Sky’s domain, linking to Crichd.in

crichd

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ISP Runs Huge Pirate Site Especially For Customers

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/isp-runs-huge-pirate-site-especially-for-customers-160521/

spongepirateThere are hundreds of ‘pirate’ sites on the Internet today, most of them run by groups who choose to remain in the shadows. Identities are prized pieces of information in the torrent and streaming worlds and they’re extremely tightly guarded.

There are exceptions of course. The original people behind The Pirate Bay are well known public figures and the same can be said of Gary Fung of isoHunt, for example. In general, however, people tend to distance themselves from piracy in case groups like the MPAA and RIAA decide to pounce.

That being said, apparently there are those who really couldn’t give a damn.

Established in 2005, Connect Communications is one of the largest Internet service providers in Karachi, Pakistan, and they are proud of it.

“Connect Communications offer state of the art broadband connection to your home on ethernet with trunk network on Optical Fiber. Now you can take full advantage of Gigabit Network for your various network utilities,” the company says.

“Our Residential Broadband access gives you the ultimate high speed Internet experience with download speeds up to 100Mbps. Download a full length movie in under 10 minutes or take advantage of our DoDear services such as playing online games at Connect’s game arena or downloading movies and music.”

Of course, many ISPs offer downloads but Connect’s DoDear service really goes the extra mile. It’s advertised on the company’s main page, as shown in the screenshot below (bottom right).

dodear

After accessing the DoDear portal one can immediately see this is no ordinary ISP service. On the main page lists of TV shows and movies appear alongside torrent-site like categories such as software, games, movies, videos and music. Clicking the movie tab removes all lingering thoughts that this might be a legitimate service.

dodear-1

With released and unreleased movies on the left and links to the uTorrent and BitTorrent clients plus VLC media player on the right, it soon becomes clear that Connect Communications are running a fully-fledged pirate site. And to make things easier for pirates, DoDear even allows users to filter movies by cam, telesync (TS), screener and master (DVDrip).

Software pirates are well catered for too. DoDear has several hundred applications for download, all neatly arranged with cover art for each title. The site also has plenty of games which are conveniently split into genres such as racing, action, adventure, shooting and sports.

Another factor which will be quite alien to torrent site users is the fact that DoDear is publicly recruiting for people to help run their portal.

“At dodear we are always seeking talented, creative and innovative professionals. If you’re the one with a passion for learning and exploring yourself and having the enthusiasm for proving youself then we can provide a fair value to you,” the service notes in its ‘careers‘ section.

This somewhat bizarre situation probably gives a flavor of why the United States Trade Representative considers Pakistan to be a piracy problem. Interestingly, however, the United States downgraded the threat last month, apparently because progress is being made.

“USTR is moving Pakistan from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List in 2016 with an [out of cycle review] due to the Government of Pakistan’s significant efforts to implement key provisions of the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan Act of 2012 and the newfound determination with which Pakistan has approached IPR over the past 12 months,” the USTR said in its latest Special 301 Report (pdf).

For the curious, the DoDear pirate portal can be found here although people looking to download will be disappointed. Torrent links are blocked for non-Connect Communications customers.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.