Bandits Getting Sneaky: Using randomizers and multiple forum posts to pirate material

1 min read

Here’s a neat trick some bandits (here’s why I say bandits instead of pirates) pulled off:  They managed to have a single URL lead to one of (at least) six different forums where there were planted posts leading to their download service.

I was able to capture images from OpenMamba, Kindle Users Forum, The Comic Book Forum, cre8asite forums, and two that didn’t have the name in the header.  Screen caps at the bottom of the post, or look at this album on imgur: https://imgur.com/a/ERmCu#0

So when you clicked the original url, it took you to a webpage that redirected (you can see the source here on github: https://gist.github.com/uriel1998/ba3bb7c2081a068a320c).  Each of the forum pages had a link in it that also led to a randomizer that took you to the download service (and clearly with a referrer code).

Which means these suckers are bandits – and are also probably generating false clicks for the download service as well (and thus racking up extra cash).

While I can (and have) issued a DMCA notice to the download service, this kind of redirect is something that I’m not sure how we can effectively deal with.  I doubt the forum owners are really aware of what’s going on (yet – share this post with them!) since there’s clearly posts saying “don’t download stuff illegally” in several of these screencaps. 

And while they might become aware of the problem and have some strong moderation, that just means the problem moves elsewhere, to less moderated forums.

Any thoughts, gang?

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