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Inside P2P Scam Sites

Postby Malicious Intent » Tue Sep 07, 2004 8:58 am

Scam sites have become a cancer in the file sharing community. With even the top P2P portals guilty of hosting their Google-ad traps, avoiding them has become as essential a skill as taking precautions against lawsuits and evading viruses.

The <a href=http://www.slyck.com/news.php?story=462 target="_blank">increasing problem</a> was illustrated in a previous article by Slyck.

However, it is not until you are inside scam sites that their true potential damage can be seen.

Scam sites show complete contempt towards their victims.

<a href=http://mp3university.com target="_blank">MP3Universtiy</a>, one of the better, but much dearer, scam sites provides some basic information on a range of file sharing applications and other tools. Although there are many clues to suggest the software is usually available for free, those who fall into MP3University’s initial trap are unlikely to pick up on them.

Other websites are less caring about continuing the scam once the money has been received.

<a href=http://www.downloadshield.com target="_blank">Download Shield</a>, which is a BitTorrent based scam, has to explain to members that the BitTorrent client used was not made by Download Shield. This is a result of a pop-up within the <a href=http://ei.kefro.st/projects/btclient target="_blank">Experimental Client</a>, which asks for donations.

If this was not a give-away, then using external Torrent sites such as <a href=http://www.suprnova.org target="_blank">SuprNova</a> and <a href=http://www.n4p.com" target="_blank">N4P</a> must be. Download Shield link off site, despite having their own, reasonably maintained, database of torrents.

Giving away to the victims that they have been scammed must not be a concern of the scammers once the money is handed over.

This is further highlighted by <a href=http://www.mp3advance.com target="_blank">MP3Advance</a>. Users are sucked in by a promise of joining millions of others in unlimited downloads -- the basic package costing ‘only’ $16.

Having paid, victims are diverted to a single page member’s area at Safe-Share.com. It is here they are told that <a href=http://sourceforge.net/projects/kceasy target="_blank">KC-Easy</a> is an open source project. Links are even provided to the <a href=http://www.sourceforge.net target="_blank">SourceForge</a> development pages for both KC-Easy and <a href=http://sourceforge.net/projects/gift target="_blank">giFT</a>. Users are told they have just splashed out for a leeching tool plug-in for the client.

The scammers’ indifference towards their victims is nothing in comparison to the potential devastating effect of their lies.

MP3Advance tells users to switch off their firewalls. Recent reports suggest a computer will last no more than 4 minutes without protection.

The site also informs users to connect directly to the Internet, rather than using a router. Not only is this impractical, but it also removes any protection offered by the NAT.

Other than MP3Advance, which is unverified, none of the websites Slyck investigated provide any help on avoiding the possible legal consequences of file sharing. Only a few provide small warnings about copyright law. In contrast, nearly all prominently display “100% Legal.”

Out of all the scams and lies, the worst crime award has to go to Download Shield. They proudly claim that using their BitTorrent service, which includes torrents for top rate films and popular music, is “100% legal and secure.”

Claiming BitTorrent as “secure” is bad enough, but it gets worse. The FAQ has a question asking about the upload, to which the author responds, “Nothing is being uploaded from your computer, however BitTorrent is always verifying the file integrity and communicating with constantly changing servers - thus the Upload feature.”

This combination of lies could easily cost victims more than the $20 registration.

To finish on a positive note, if there is one, <a href=http://www.musicdownloadcentral.com target="_blank">Music Download Central</a>, MP3Advance and MP3University all provided anti-virus and anti-spyware/adware guidance.
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Postby DaBlade » Tue Sep 07, 2004 9:44 am

Into the picture comes TakeBackP2P Revived :D
Damn scammers. May they die in pain. :evil:
I feel sorry for the poor suckers who fall into these traps.
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Inside P2P Scam Sites

Postby SlyckChuck » Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:02 am

Good article M I!! It loooks like youhad to take a couple of days to put all this info together and it is nicely organized.
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Postby Allied » Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:16 am

The admin of those sites are very brave to mess with the p2p community. Too bad apps like webstorm are illeagle.
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Postby DaBlade » Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:22 am

As I said very many times before, neither TakeBackP2P or WebStorm are illegal. Period.
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Postby SlyckTom » Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:31 am

As I said very many times before, neither TakeBackP2P or WebStorm are illegal. Period.


Although I am not a lawyer, my educated guess that DoS'ing a site is illegal. Halo, please explain to us how these applications are legal?
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Postby DaBlade » Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:00 pm

Simple. It's not DoS. We just want some fresh scam pics! :lol:
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Postby Casperion » Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:04 pm

Slyck, if you're so concerned about Scam Sites, why do you carry banners such as these?:-

Which One? P2P Software
Get Legal for Only $19.95. Compare MP3Advance, K-Lite, DCMoviez, etc.

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Postby Ooble » Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:05 pm

I hang around the KCeasy forums a lot. It's funny, but also kinda sad, whenever someone starts complaining because they paid $27.99 for it and it doesn't work...
[code:1]char str[20];
scanf("%19s", &str);
if (!strcmpi(str, "Hello, world!"))
printf("Hello, programmer.\n");[/code:1]
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Postby DaBlade » Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:10 pm

Casperion: Because something's gotta pay Slyck's hosting and bandwidth bills. And we can't have porn ads there, so google ads are the next best thing. Even if the "products" are scams.
Come to think of it...whoudln't bride.ru ads be better?
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Postby miner » Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:13 pm

Casperion wrote:Slyck, if you're so concerned about Scam Sites, why do you carry banners such as these?:-

Which One? P2P Software
Get Legal for Only $19.95. Compare MP3Advance, K-Lite, DCMoviez, etc.

Casp


as dablade already pointed out, our annual membership fees here of $0.00 USD don't pay the bills. i bet anyone who arrives at slyck has enough common sense to not buy products from these sites.
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scammers

Postby Made in England » Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:32 pm

looking around various forums I have seen a number of people complaining that suprnova bit torrent site didnt used to charge???

Well they still dont, make sure you go to http://www.suprnova.org the actual site

not .com or .net which are scam sites
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Postby Ooble » Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:37 pm

Har-de-har-har...
[code:1]char str[20];
scanf("%19s", &str);
if (!strcmpi(str, "Hello, world!"))
printf("Hello, programmer.\n");[/code:1]
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Postby DepecheNode » Tue Sep 07, 2004 1:08 pm

I've commented in other threads about this scam subject, but I just thought of something else...

Perhaps a $16.00 reciept for a 100% legal download service could be considered plausible deniability in a civil action.

Bet we'll see this soon.
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Postby Mrs. 2p » Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:47 pm

great article MI!! :D :D
If only there was a way to educate all Internet users out there... Unfortunately, unawareness is hard to fight.

Hopefully, there will soon be more and more people who will have heard enough sad stories (about lawsuits, viruses, spyware, and other hijacks), to want to be well informed before they set out on their P2P adventure. I know that was what got me to Slyck in the first place, and kept me from falling into traps such as those...
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Postby tm, » Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:11 pm

DepecheNode wrote:Perhaps a $16.00 reciept for a 100% legal download service could be considered plausible deniability in a civil action.

Even the RIAA's first victim, 12-year-old Brianna LaHara, thought that paying $29.95 for KazaaGold, which boldly advertises "FREE 100% LEGAL MP3 MUSIC DOWNLOADS" thought she was using a legitimate music download service, and was shocked that it turned out to be anything but. Although Brianna certainly might have had a good case claiming plausible deniability, her mother instead decided to pay the extortion and settle.

Perhaps many more of the thousands of these RIAA lawsuit victims were already victims of deception - paying for what they believed was a a legal download service. But this we may never know, since the settlement offers have since demanded that the victims not only pay up, but remain gagged.
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Postby Allied » Tue Sep 07, 2004 5:57 pm

If you ever see a scam site in the ads by google, click the "Ads by Gooooooooooooooogle", it'll let you review the add. Tell Google its a scam. It can't hurt.
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Postby no_dammagE » Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:29 pm

yes, google can't really check the content of the page - there are too many of them and a machine can't determine between an illegal scam and a normal page.
The scammers could also let the page be legit for about a month, if google would check all its customers.
Reviewing is nice and google reacts relatively fast (... for the size of this organization it is fast)
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Postby eclectica » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:01 am

SlyckTom wrote:Although I am not a lawyer, my educated guess that DoS'ing a site is illegal.


I am neither a lawyer or a liar, my guess is that Denial of Service attacks are legal if there is no blackmail involved. In other words just attacking them is fine as long as you make no demands from them when doing so. I think the results will speak for themselves without any demands having to be made. :roll:

Distributed Denial of Service attacks may be illegal when they involve hijacking someone else's computer with trojans and creating zombies out of them to use to carry out the attacks.
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Postby Mel_Smiley_VIP » Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:13 am

I'm sure the people using the program to attack these sites will find out if it illegal or not.
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Postby j_dogg » Thu Sep 09, 2004 6:22 am

All Webstorm and TakeBackP2P do is continuously refresh pictures hosted on these scam sites. Is that actually considered DoS'ing? If not, then how can it be illegal?

Ooble wrote:Har-de-har-har...

....now hows that for bltant spamming... :wink:
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Postby mpfenton » Thu Sep 09, 2004 6:35 am

It's a waste of my download bandwidth is what it is. I doubt the scammers care about trivial things like bandwidth.
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Postby Mel_Smiley_VIP » Thu Sep 09, 2004 7:49 am

j_dogg wrote:All Webstorm and TakeBackP2P do is continuously refresh pictures hosted on these scam sites. Is that actually considered DoS'ing? If not, then how can it be illegal?



Its a group of individuals using a program to hinder a website useless. Thats pretty much it in a nutshell. But let me go on ---

A group of people using a program to hammer sites for pics or what ever is a coordinated attack and could hinder these sites from operating, which I know, is the goal. The people using these programs are also aware of what they are doing and it would be hard to explain to any legal authority why one would be running a program to continuously download the same pics. If these sites become aware of a program being used to disrupt their services you can expect ISP's to investigate. I have little doubt this will cause trouble for some people involved. This is not some virus thats being run by unsuspecting people, but rather an attack(define it however you like, its an attack) by people who are aware they are trying to take down a website. It a malicious program designed to hinder another parties internet business. I'm kind of surprised you people don't see the possible legal actions these sites may bring upon users of this program. Its dangerous ground to be playing on when the course of legal action is not known. I just want to add I think the owners of these sites are scum but this method of fighting back is most unwise. I hope I am wrong but I think running this program In conjunction with other users could be proved as a planned attack and computers seized. Hope no other illegal files are on those drives. Its best to be careful when you really don't know what your doing.
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Postby DaBlade » Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:02 am

over 10 sites dropped.... :lol:
Now could it have been a coincidence that they dropped just when TBP2P and WS started ratteling them? Maybe. Maybe not. We can't be sure that it has any effect at all, but it dosn't hurt to try. Whenever I'm not downloading anything, I use TBP2P. :D
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Postby Alex H » Fri Sep 10, 2004 4:12 am

The legality of TBP2P is moot until it is challenged, but I doubt many scam sites will be falling over themselves to cry foul over ruined "internet businesses".

Refreshing images happens when you click "refresh" on your browser, so any count action would have to take into consideration what is a "reasonable" period between refreshes, which would be impssible to calculate - some sites, like this forum, are updated nearly every minute, some may remain unchanged for years. A court would have to entertain the idea of classifying websites by how often a user may refresh them, which is ridiculous.

Although TBP2P and WS are specially designed to do this, it would also be possible (although unlikely) for many people to manually do this from their browser, so we then get into whether it is illegal because it is automated, but ok if it done manually, which would be a dangerous precendent for any court to set, and they would know it.

TBP2P becoming illegal would mean that just visiting a website could potentially be illegal, even though it is not viewing any "classified" or "top secret" stuff, which I think already is. Then we get into the whole "who should decide which sites are illegal" debate.

The actual code for TBP2P should not be illegal in itself, because it may have legitimate purposes, such as a tool for webmasters who want to test how much bandwidth their server can handel, and as Betamax (not dead yet!) pointed out, if something has a legitimate use, it's not illegal until someone actually catches you using it for something illegal.

There is also location to consider. What may be(come) illegal in the USA, may be perfectly fine in Argentina where the server hosting TBP2P may be located (or could be moved to).

And quite frankly, what have the somewhat ambiguous authorities been doing to stop scam site fraud? Try to complain about a scam site to the FBI and they'll tell you they simply don't have the resources to try to stop it (because they are too busy targeting DC++ hubs!). When the "authorities" are unable to perform their duties, how can they reasonably expect the public to sit back and just observe their incompetence?
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