Bollywood fights piracy with ‘Cyber Hitmen’
Bollywood is now fighting piracy by hiring Cyber hitmen to take down websites hosting illegal movies by using denial-of-service attacks. A Bangalore-based firm has admitted to using this tactic when copyright infringement notices go unheeded
Piracy is widespread in India, and to tackle this problem Bollywood and other international film studios are hiring "Cyber Hitmen" to take down websites playing host to illegal movies and music. These agencies use denial-of-service attacks to flood the offending servers until they go offline. Sometimes the firms even go the extent of destroying the actual data, preventing further circulation.
The most recent film to deploy its own anti-piracy efforts was Amir Khan’s Peepli Live. Released on August 13, its pirated copy was available for download on www.ictorrent.com by evening. A team of experts from a Bangalore based software firm detected it soon after, and issued a take down notice. Though the website complied, within 24 hours of the release, around 300 such links sprang up. Round-the-clock cyber patrolling by the twenty-five member team led to eradication of 247 of them, including others which led to streaming video sites like YouTube. It emerged that three main servers had been used to generate these links, and were taken down.
Girish Kumar, managing director, Aiplex Software, which managed the Peepli Live account, said, “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. If the site owner does not comply, the site is either suspended or dismissed.”
He added, “The problem is with torrent sites, which usually do not oblige. In such cases, we use a denial-of-service attack, 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.”
A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person or people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely. But however denial-of-service attacks are considered violations of the IAB's Internet proper use policy, and also violate the acceptable use policies of virtually all Internet service providers. They also commonly constitute violations of the laws of individual nations. This basically shows that Bollywood is also resorting to illegal means to fight piracy.
Section 43 of the IT Act 2000, and Section 66 of the IT Act (Amendment) 2008 states that “Whoever with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hack. And whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend upto two lakh rupees, or with both.”