aXXo Issues Anti-Piracy Warning

Some say he can encode a stack of DVDs in seconds using only his teeth, and that he can command an army of millions with just one NFO. All that we know is he's called aXXo and he/she/they have some security advice for the worshippers.

axxo stigThe relatively silent aXXo has appeared during the last few days. Speaking with the users of Mininova, he outlined some advice to help mitigate the effects of what he believes to be a potential security risk. The problem could cause downloads to slow down or even worse, he warns.

Not so long ago we posted a technique to bring dead torrents back to life. Basically it involves adding new tracker URLs to an existing torrent so that it’s possible to track the same content on multiple trackers. However, it seems some people have been adding other trackers to new aXXo torrents as a matter of course (probably to try and speed up downloads), with some unpredictable results.

“I’ve seen on the mininova’s comments section some users telling each other to add trackers to a torrent. To add trackers to a torrent that are not included in the original release is the worst thing users can do,” said aXXo commenting on one of his latest releases. “Those trackers don’t know which are the real chunks of the file nor who have the right ones, the information they send to the clients is wrong and the download will be fucked up.”

If it’s not quite clear what aXXo is driving at from the above, it becomes clearer later on. He explains that other tracker URLs that people add to torrents may not be tracking exactly the right content. Peers there could deliberately send bad data in order to hinder people’s downloads, a tactic favored by anti-piracy companies such as MediaDefender. Their effectiveness with these methods on various torrent sites became public last year.

“..there are ‘specialists’ manipulating torrents out there,” says aXXo while mentioning no names, warning, “ISPs nice letters are ready for those peers who follow that ‘technique’.”

“That’s my advice,” says aXXo. “Take it or leave it.”

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