Anonymous downs Virgin Media website in response to The Pirate Bay blockage, as proxy wars continue

Anonymous downs Virgin Media website in response to The Pirate Bay blockage, as proxy wars continue

It’s hardly surprising that the site has fallen over at the hands of an organisation that is not keen on site blocking, aligns itself broadly with The Pirate Bay (TPB) and says “Expect Us”.

The action has come about as Virgin Media complies with the latest court ruling that followed a long campaign by the British Phonographic Society (BPI). The ruling means that UK ISPs Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Sky, Everything Everywhere and O2 must stop their subscribers getting to the site.

The attacks began yesterday evening but at the time of writing, the site is down or somewhat crippled.  A report on The Register says that Virgin Media claims the site is back up.

The result may please members of Anonymous and fans of The Pirate Bay, but it won’t be as fun to Virgin Media customers. Though it can be argued that the principle is not one that Anonymous would agree with, UK ISPs are bound by the law which leaves them with little room to do anything other than block the site.

Currently The Pirate Bay looks a bit like this for most visitors from the UK. (Obviously depending on your ISP)

But fans and supporters of The Pirate Bay have also been busy. Not put off by the action to block the site in the UK, they are setting up multiple mirror sites to get around the issue.

Amusingly dubbed, “Hydra Bay“, it seems that a movement online can outpace a legal measure. Beware though, as reported on Torrent Freak, not all of these apparent mirror sites are trying to help. Some of these new sites are charging for the service, something that legislators are not going to look upon kindly and nor does TPB itself.

TPB told Torrent Freak, “Charging money for free downloads is against the whole philosophy of the internets. We do not condone anything like that. This site is a bad copy of other sites, like TPB, and it’s totally meaningless. Go for another site.”

Naturally TPB is helping to organise more mirrors and proxies to get to the service and has set up The site has links to proxy lists as well as instructions about how to set up your own.

The reverse proxy was set up in Sweden and ever diligent in their work, TPB is making sure the service is optimal. It says, “We’re all backed up and ready for a rapid server switch in the event of our IP being blocked. Other proxy sites are still directly connecting to The Pirate Bay’s servers for images (on which results in a suboptimal experience, our site proxies this over SSL for an uninterrupted experience.”

Proxy wars

This system of block, attack and mirror is bound to continue. As sites were blocked in the Netherlands, Anonymous reports that it attacked nine sites in retaliation.

The campaign to stop TPB is going to have to think of something smart to get anywhere near blocking the service it provides. Law makers move slowly and well, hackers and script kiddies move at the speed of the web. This battle is not really an even one.

The very nature of the internet means that sites will continue to pop up when there is a demand and the nature of people is that they want things for free, so that chain is unlikely to disappear quickly. Trying to block sites on a decentralised network is almost amusing and no doubt provides a ‘fun’ puzzle to keep Anonymous occupied.

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