– Filesharing site revealed to be anti-piracy ‘honeypot’ (Guardian, Oct 25, 2013):
Operator of UploaderTalk boasts of ‘biggest swerve ever’ as he sells user data to anti-piracy company
A high-profile file-sharing site has been revealed to be a year-long pirate “honeypot”, collecting data on users, file hosters and websites.
A honeypot is a facility, in this case a site, run under false pretences that encourages criminal behaviour in an effort to collect incriminating data.
“That’s right – the biggest swerve ever,” the operator of UT, known only as WDF, said in a statement about the purchase of the site. “I, WDF, work for the anti-piracy people!”
Set up to collect data
WDF, having previously been a senior member of another high-profile filesharing site called WJunction, started UT a year ago – a site designed to attract people who upload copyrighted files to file-hosting sites for profit, as well as representatives of file-hosters touting affiliate and incentive schemes.
“UT was set up for a number of reasons. But mostly to be a sounding board, proof of concept … and to collect data,” said WDF.
“I collected info on file hosts, web hosts, websites. I suckered shitloads of you,” WDF bragged.
Proprietary and unconventional methods
It is unclear what WDF or Nuke Piracy, a private anti-piracy firm, intends to do with the data collected. Nuke Piracy, based in Arkansas, USA, clearly states on its website that it uses “proprietary and unconventional methods we do not discuss or disclose our methodologies, processes, and procedures publicly.”
It is likely that Nuke Piracy will use the data as part of its anti-piracy actions, collected from UT and possibly WJunction as well, given that WDF had access to sensitive data on the site as a senior management including user accounts.
“I work for Nuke Piracy now, this is very bad for anyone profiting from piracy,” proclaimed WDF.
Nuke Piracy, which launched its own site and “IP theft and copyright infringement detection, mitigation, and prevention” services in February 2013, has reportedly made several moves to acquire active piracy sites, set up honeypots, as well as an anti-piracy news site called CashWhore.net.
• In October, the notorious BitTorrent site isoHunt shut down prematurely after losing its battle with copyright holders