Anti-piracy outfit AiPlex Software made the news last week when its boss was quoted in the press admitting that his company launched DoS attacks against uncooperative torrent sites. Although the reports and quotes were quite specific, the company is now trying to distance itself from the claims. However, correspondence obtained by us shows another side to these unorthodox Bollywood anti-piracy enforcers.
“When we detect a website offering a link or a download, we contact the server hosts and intimate them about the illegal activity. They issue a notice to the site owner,” said AiPlex Software’s Girish Kumar a couple of weeks ago. “If the site owner does not comply, the site is either suspended or dismissed.
AiPlex, a company working for Bollywood studios and charging between $4,290 and $8,580 to protect a movie, go further than your average anti-piracy outfit when people don’t co-operate with them.
“The problem is with torrent sites, which usually do not oblige,” said Kumar. “In such cases, we flood the website with requests, which results in database error, causing denial of service as each server has a fixed bandwidth capacity. At times, we have to go an extra mile and attack the site and destroy the data to stop the movie from circulating further.”
Understandably there’s a bit of a ‘wow factor’ associated with these claims, not least that carrying out DoS attacks against sites is a criminal offense in many countries around the world, even if you do happen to be working for the all-powerful movie industry.
Although we contacted AiPlex for a comment but never received a reply, others have had more luck. Last week AiPlex contacted the BitSnoop torrent site with a copyright takedown demand for a movie they are protecting on behalf of a studio. In their correspondence, BitSnoop took the opportunity to ask AiPlex about their unorthodox approach to dealing with uncooperative torrent sites. Surprisingly Managing Director Girish Kumar denied the claims.
“Our claim with the Editor [of the publication originally publishing his comments, article still online, unedited] was pointblank that we go an extra mile in identifying the IP addresses & other contact info of such illegal sites & pass such information to the production houses to pursue with the cyber crime police,” he told BitSnoop.
“Further if the govt. provides a permission to cyber police to attack such sites, Aiplex can help the cyber police in providing the technical inputs. That said, one of the common method one can bring down the site is DDOS attack is what was explained. This does not mean that we are doing such illegal activates while we are sending the copyright notices to Infringed sites.”
“This company has contacted us 100s of times in the past; None of their emails had a PROPER Copyright Infringement Notice,” We were told. Indeed, we saw copies of several emails where AiPlex demanded proactive action from ICTorrent to remove movie torrents that weren’t even on the site yet.
But scrappy takedown notices aside, what happened when ICTorrent failed to comply with AiPlex’s demands? Did they DoS the site or not?
“Yes, they have done it many times and failed,” an admin explained while showing us an email from AiPlex which stated simply: ict attack on. enjoy 🙂
“We have been dealing with this shit since Dec/2009 from them. We usually get attacked Thursday night till Sunday as this is our primetime to release PDVDs. They DDoS attacked us by sending 1 million requests from 10 to 100 IPs, we had to block all IPs. Our servers are installed with all modules so they will block automatically.”
“I have also made a call to the company and had talked to them to stop DDOS attacks,” an admin told us.
We were also shown a particularly surprising email exchange where a member of AiPlex’s staff asked for a copy of a movie due to him being “a die hard fan” of a particular Bollywood actor. ICTorrent refused the request and told him to download it from the site instead.
Another email clearly suggested that money could be made by both parties if an agreement was reached and ICTorrent was “helpful” with takedowns.
ICTorrent also showed us other documents which showed which movie company AiPlex were acting on behalf of, but asked us not to publish them. Yet.
Reading between the lines it seems that ICTorrent want to give AiPlex another opportunity to stop their DoS attacks.