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Inside P2P Scam Sites
September 7, 2004
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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 increasing problem 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.

MP3Universtiy, 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.

Download Shield, 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 Experimental Client, which asks for donations.

If this was not a give-away, then using external Torrent sites such as SuprNova and N4P 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 MP3Advance. 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 KC-Easy is an open source project. Links are even provided to the SourceForge development pages for both KC-Easy and giFT. 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, Music Download Central, MP3Advance and MP3University all provided anti-virus and anti-spyware/adware guidance.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Studies/Research
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Statistics/Analysis

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