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Pirates set up domain seizure workaround

Kevin Murphy, October 6, 2011, 16:53:19 (UTC), Domain Tech

Movie and music pirates are setting up alternative DNS services to help users work around the government seizure of domain names.

A new service, BlockAid.me, launched an open beta at the end of September. It’s currently being promoted prominently on at least one major movie/music/games-sharing site.

The site encourages internet users to reconfigure their computers to use BlockAid’s DNS servers. That way, if a domain name used by a piracy web site is seized by law enforcement, BlockAid will be able to direct surfers to the original owner’s IP address more or less transparently.

This is exactly what the experts predicted would happen.

Ever since the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency started seizing domain names associated with pirated content and US politicians have been discussing legislation to streamline the process, workarounds have been expected.

In May, DNS experts including Paul Vixie, Dan Kaminsky and now-ICANN chair Steve Crocker said that the Protect-IP Act in the US would persuade many users to switch to offshore DNS servers.

They warned that this would lead to a rise in cybercrime against consumers, as disreputable or insecure DNS providers send surfers to spoofs of banks and other sensitive sites.

While there’s no reason to believe the BlockAid project has this kind of nefarious activity in mind, if the idea catches on it’s probably inevitable that a similar service operated by crooks will emerge eventually.

Amusingly, BlockAid’s web site says that it may financially support itself in future by showing ad-laden web pages instead of returning NXDOMAIN errors, a much-criticized money-making tactic many ISPs already use.

Note also that the .me registry is managed by Afilias, a heavily US-based company, which likely makes BlockAid.me just as vulnerable to seizure as any .com address.

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Comments (10)

  1. Gnanes says:

    Cat and mouse game has begun.

  2. johnny rot says:

    So…we are supposed to be sorry for pirates/thieves who knowingly download a piece of software whos sole goal is to provide direct access to illegal software when they end up getting virus’?
    I am fine with that, I wish some companies would provide ‘pirated” versions of their products which include virus’

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Well… how about if a teenage kid changes the DNS settings on a shared home computer so he can download the latest movies? That’s going to be invisible to dad when he goes to do online banking later.

  3. M says:

    ICANN Accredited registries such as domainthenet .com and regtime .net are selling alternate root .com transliterations for years and having the ICANN seal on the home page is likely not hurting sales.

  4. Affilias, while having a U.S. subsidiary, is HQ’d in Ireland, and .me is the ccTLD of Montenegro, so not sure I agree that blockaid.me is subject to U.S. seizure — unless you think that blockaid.us would be subject to Montenegro seizure.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Quite a lot of Afilias’ executive team are US-based. It’s my assumption that if Afilias USA was served with a US court order to seize a bunch of .me domains, they would comply.

      I concede I may well be wrong.

      The other partner in .me is Go Daddy, of course. That company bleeds red, white and blue.

      • godaddy bleeds for nobody! They’ll bend over even before requested

        Should IneptSupport.pro become a reality godaddy will be secure in the top 5. They seem to have a policy to reply BEFORE reading a ticket. Like many “services” consumers contract the very contract expects users to sign away everything leaving them powerless except to discontinue contracting “service” godaddy is again in the top 5 offenders of propriety

        Find yerself an archive of NOdaddy.com

        “Exposing the Many Reasons Not to Trust GoDaddy with Your Domain Names”

        I’ve found one for ye:

        https://web.archive.org/web/20110320022333/http://nodaddy.com/

        Here be some godaddy horror stories

        https://web.archive.org/web/20110320022333/http://nodaddy.com/#horror

        “Many people don’t think much about choosing a registrar, and simply pick one they have heard of. This often leads them to GoDaddy, who may be the leader in money spent on marketing and advertising (on the Super Bowl and elsewhere). Unfortunately GoDaddy doesn’t seem to focus much on stability, security, or customer service. Instead that have devised innovative ways to overcharge customers and thwart customer attempts to transfer to superior registrars. ”

        godaddy “private” whois “feature” is designed to hold you captive through terrorism. Transferring a name to another registrar FIRST publishes previously-private registrant info to whois.

        That’s godaddy TERRORISM FOR PROFIT. godaddy “support” response would be comical had it not been for REAL RISK OF HARM to owners of “controversial” speech sites ————— free speech protection exists to PROTECT UNPOPULAR speech BY CONSTRUCTION

        NOdaddy.com creator has this experience to share:

        “This site was created by Gordon Lyon (AKA Fyodor) after GoDaddy intentionally shut down one of my most important sites (SecLists.Org) without even giving me a reason. When GoDaddy noticed their blunder and reporters started calling them on it, they resorted to libeling me. A wired reporter even caught them in a lie as their General Counsel Christine Jones contradicted herself in a single interview. Since this site isn’t just about my story, I’ve moved the full details here. ”

        Are you, kevin, perhaps a godaddy [paid] affiliate?

        My fun experience started when I used godaddy HOSTING to HOST music files to be streamed from a myspace jukebox _before_ myspace [was shamed into offering-] offered that feature. [I was only using myspace as a stunt when I demonstrated marketing savvy.] Several dozen gigs of music across a dozen user selected genres ensured every new visitor received a unique music experience even at a unique-vistor-per-second rate higher than any profile previously. Godaddy insisted their HOSTING service was not designed to HOST files. Yup, they really made that argument amidst suspending one account. Not being very smart godaddy couldn’t “keep up” with my account rotation strategy used to sidestep a godaddy manager’s misunderstanding of godaddy’s own published terms. On priciniple I persisted until my stunt timeline was fulfilled, received a refund, transferred my domain portfolio, and wisely abandoned godaddy — with a history to help dispossess godaddy of every godaddy customer I encounter.

        interacting with godaddy “support” [or any godaddy element] is the most frustrating experience [even compared to other horrendous customer “service” departments in other notoriously cretinous companies].

        Even now 3 years later godaddy’s “private” whois is designed to EXTORT non-stop patronage. This reply is likely to ellicit a godaddy PR lackey to reply claiming the contrary _without_ evidence often citing an unviewable url. Their “nuh uh” policy is similarly childish to “freedom”pop “free” lte fop squad (viewable at time.com prominently).

        Such budgets to deny their trespasses exceeding their budget to amend error indicate an EVIL INTENT. Corporations are not evil by construction for seeking profitability. Injuring by policy AS profit (like facebook, twitter, google) is EVIL. (3rd party ads and trackers violate users more offensively than statutory rape). Withdraw your patronage free-market style!

  5. Brett Rickman says:

    Only using recursive DNS servers which enforce DNSSEC validation can blunt the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks like the ones mentioned here.

    The real fear is that nonsense like this starts to undermine the structure of DNS itself, because people lose faith it the hierarchy which has worked so well for 30 years.

  6. Oh noes! Sheeple might revert themselves to people! They might learn they don’t need a public resolver but can download the not very big file to provide their own resolution!

    shhhhhhhh, don’t let anyone know the obviousness of the plan

  7. .. and they might stop wasting money on Slow Costly OLD TIMEY sms texting by upgrading to zero-cost Xmpp Texting or SIP Texting.

    shhhhh, don’t let sheeple know they can defending their [constitutionally protected] right to PRIVACY — that does NOT exist using Slow Costly OLD TIMEY sms texting that also ENSLAVES them to ONE device.

    Wean sheeple associates off Slow Clostly OLD TIMEY sms texting by funding voip texting: buy a voip number with OLD TIMEY sms texting that can be conveyed via:

    * $0 XMPP Texting
    * $0 SIP Texting
    * email
    * API
    * web

    Then encourage the sheeple to shift to one of the zero-cost OPEN STANDARD texting options: xmpp (jabber) sip (simple im)

    Microsoft is helping people adopt open standards with their embrace of enterprise SIP voip. Thanks, microsoft.

    It’s OUTRAGEOUS ARROGANCE to assume everyone is sheeple-enough to have a mobile phone and BEYOND INANE to assume everyone is sheeple-enough to suffer the costs of using OLD WOLRD sms texting. Paying for data on mobile? Don’t be stupid and pay extra for OLD sms. Pick an Open Standard for your communications so everyone’s FREE WILLS can interact in THEIR OWN WAY. Kill needless-proprietary strangle hold atop open communications and open business.

    Sheeple will learn not to use the same persona/name everywhere which made it easy for SELECTIVE-law-enforcement to find a crime to effect guilt under needlessly many laws (I’m not pro piracy).

    Sheeple having tasted free mp3 will learn not to pour money down the drain on mp3 but demand Studio QUALITY audio: FLAC, or other Open Standard LOSSLESS.

    Sheeple having experienced media freedom in the home through piracy would prefer to pay reasonable media fees to have media how THEY WANT and WHERE THEY WANT. Will hollywood cater to the money spenders?

    Hulu “plus” as finally trickle-down-mocked by The Simpsons is NOT-WANTED: You cannot both charge for media and inflict ads. More theaters will cater to the money spenders.

    Apple learned about money-spenders shifting from the “take what we give you and like it” to a lifestyle and catering to the [willingly] competent.

    Free markets only work when they can be FREE-FROM-REGULATION

    You can’t have both your fascism and your free market profits

    wakey wakey

    facebook is among the worst perpetrators of IGNORANCE: taking the LEAST of great technologies barely repackaging falsely labeling it ‘free’, viewing you as every internets ad industry does as The Commodity and The Currency. Don’t willfully participate in your own enslavement or whoring.

    _some_ sheeple are allowing themselves to be un-re-educated by those at iq test ceiling around them. For sip texting your ITSP (voip provider must support “sip simple”, the part of the sip standard that allows texting and presence. some ITSP are very backwater or fear change: avoid them. ask for sip simple verifying you’ll be able to do sip texting). Like the underground railroad, the original republican party, and schindler there are many who will selflessly help you help others or help you directly escape IGNORANCE AND BONDAGE.

    Kill sheeple with kindness and truth.

    xmpp:FreeWills@chatme.im/otr
    sip:FreeWills@sip2sip.info
    ostn:FreeWills@ostel.co

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