Cyberpunk Review » The MPAA Allegedly Hired a Hacker to Go After Adversaries

May 26, 2006

The MPAA Allegedly Hired a Hacker to Go After Adversaries

Hackers screen capture


Mr. Roboto, the newest member of the our Meatspace forums found this interesting tidbit. A lawsuit filed Wednesday by Valence Media, the parent company of Torrenspy, accuses the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) of hiring a hacker to steal information from a company that the MPAA has accused of helping copyright violators. There are many sources for this now, but ZDNet states the following:


Torrentspy’s complaint includes claims that the man whom the MPAA allegedly paid $15,000 to steal e-mail correspondence and trade secrets has admitted his role in the plot and is cooperating with the company.

“It is a Hollywood drama, what happened here,” Ira Rothken, Torrentspy’s attorney, said in a telephone interview Wednesday evening.

The allegations come three months after the MPAA filed suit against Torrentspy and other directories for allegedly making it easier for pirates to distribute movies over the Internet.


The MPAA of course denies everything, saying this is just a poor diversion attempt:

“These claims (by Torrentspy) are false,” Kori Bernards, the MPAA’s vice president of corporate communications, said in an e-mail to CNET “Torrentspy is trying to obscure the facts to hide the fact that they are facilitating thievery. We are confident that our lawsuit against them will be successful because the law is on our side.”


Truly, I find it hard to believe that the MPAA would take such a risky move as this. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this weren’t all just the bunk they say it is. Then again, corporations have been known to do some pretty stupid things over the years. What say you all - does this sound like the truth or just innovative lawyering tactics?

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by SFAM.


July 25, 2007

Edidid said:

They wouldn’t even need a hacker. All they would have to do is get a client with base functionality, register with one of the trackers (which most require of all users), start downloading something and then get the various tracking information (IPs and such).

After that it is simply a matter of contacting the provider (ISP) who owns the lines/service being used. Most companies have no privacy policy for this information (meaning they do not consider your data private since you are using their lines). Legally that is a grey area, but hasn’t stopped most companies from freely giving out the information to almost any company that asks for it and/or pays for it.

While this will not catch the above average computer user hiding their idenity through various means while movie downloading it will catch most home computer users who have no real computer security experience. That is all they would need to catch to show evidence of the trackers being used to download movies.

It wouldn’t make any real sense to hire someone to commit illegal acts to get information so easy to obtain. It would be hilarious if it was true however. That sort of disconnected thinking could be blamed for all of those really poorly made massive budget films.

August 8, 2007

rob said:

I personally believe I have been targeted by an MPAA hacker, and here’s why:

Last weekend I downloaded several files using a popular bit torrent search engine which is now monitored by the MPAA. Within several hours, my computer had become the target of a sophisticated attack. Computers from all over the world started making “unsolicited connections” to my computer at an alarming rate, in excess of one per second.

I immediately disconnected my computer from the internet, and upon rebooting several things had gone awry. My computer would no longer boot up, but thanks to some 1337 skills I was able to restore things. Upon restoration, I realized that the settings on my virus protection and firewall (mcafee) had all been set so as not to protect the computer. Now, each time I connect to the computer I am bombarded by tcp/udp overflow attacks of which the purpose seems to be to destroy the files and operating system on my computer.

Another strange thing that happened was that the logs in mcafee were deleted after I started “tracing” them, I assume to cover their tracks.

Now you may be saying, computers are often infected with spyware, viruses, and other malicious code, but there are several things that lead me to believe the MPAA was behind it.

1.) I had recently downloaded a movie that was newly released. hundreds of fake torrents were being posted to the torrent search engines at the same time. Who posts fake torrents? hmmm……

2.) The motive seemed to be to kick my computer offline and destroy my operating system such that I would be unable to restore it. The motive was not profit…. unless someone was being paid to do it. -The motive is ALWAYS profit.

3.) I had not been to any other dangerous sites or used my computer for anything else that weekend, and I had recently formatted the hard drive and reinstalled windows. The machine was clean.

4.) The attack put my computer into an endless reboot loop. I was unable to boot into safe mode or otherwise restore the files on my computer. Without some important skills (I installed my hd as a slave drive and moved all my important files over then proceed to reinstall), I would never had been able to restore my computer without formatting and reinstalling the operating system.

If anybody else can think of another explanation I would be happy to listen to it.

rob said:

Edidid, it takes time for service providers to terminate service, I believe their motivation was to stop people from sharing the file immediately.

October 8, 2007

Minnesota mother becomes RIAA’s first victim. said (pingback):

[…] Given the current state of hacking technology, her claim may not be far off. After all, if the US government can hack systems to plant spyware, who knows what black-hats… or the RIAA… can plant on your system without your knowledge. For all we know, the RIAA themselves may have planted the music files on her computer just to make someone an example of their legal hijacking capabilities (Just a conspiracy theory… for now). Also consider that the RIAA’s movie-protection-racket clone the MPAA allegedly hired a hacker to go after their adversaries. […]

October 25, 2007

Robert Anderson, the MPAA hacker, speaks to Wired said (pingback):

[…] very first post on Cyberpunk Review’s meatspace was a ZDNet article about the MPAA hiring a hacker to steal data from TorrentSpy. Now that hacker, Robert Anderson, has given an exclusive interview to Wired giving his reason for […]

November 25, 2007

Com Wedge said:

Well I know some of those people in Hollywood and we all seem to expect them to know better. After all they are humans with cyber chip implants with behavioral conditioning :P

They must have hired a human and placed them above their pay grade who then hired a hacker to steal information. Lol. Don’t they know that no one hires hackers anymore. That’s what the secret service are for…

That’s my cyberpunk response for the week.

Com Wedge

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