MediaDefender attacks Revision3 site, FBI involved

During Memorial Day weekend, Internet TV network Revision3 was brought down by a denial-of-service attack traced back to anti-P2P company MediaDefender.

Revision3 CEO and former PC Magazine editor-in-chief Jim Louderback provided a detailed report about the DoS attack on his P2P streaming program service, and the distinct trail of packets leading back to MediaDefender.

The security company claims on its site that it uses "non-invasive technological countermeasures" on P2P hosts to discourage attempts to access files, but the actions against Revision3, a legitimate content owner, appear to have gone beyond invasive, and may have pierced the realm of the downright illegal.

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Hard facts presented by Louderback are as follows: Memorial Day weekend saw an explosion of SYN packets hitting Revision3's network where it, among other things, hosts Torrents of its videos. These packets (up to 8,000 a second) came from MediaDefender, which advertises itself as an anti-piracy/anti-P2P company. This type of attack is illegal, according to numerous US statutes.

The FBI has been called in to investigate the attacks, and Revision3 looks to have plenty of evidence for investigators.

MediaDefender apparently admits willingly to abusing Revision3's network, but denies that the DoS attack was intentional. Their claim is that the BitTorrent tracking server they had targeted had an open backdoor which allowed MediaDefender to host torrents pointing to non-Revision3 servers. When Revision3 discovered and promptly de-authorized these torrents, MediaDefender servers, according to the company, repeatedly tried to access them.

This explanation, however, does not account for the sheer volume of attempts.

Adding to MediaDefender's culpability is its history of duplicitous practices. The company, working under the auspices of the MPAA last year, opened a fake BitTorrent site called MiiVi to trap users by providing copyright-infringing movies infected with Trojan horse viruses. The service's entire concept is based upon using piratical solutions to curb piracy.

"We're simply in the business of delivering entertainment and information -- that's not life or death stuff," wrote Louderback yesterday. "But what if MediaDefender discovers a tracker inside a hospital, fire department or 911 center? If it happened to us, it could happen to them too."

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