Anti-piracy oufits have gained access to private BitTorrent trackers before, but the opposite has never happened, until now. Over the past few weeks, Unnar Geir, spokesperson of “The Viking Bay”, successfully infiltrated the Icelandic equivalent of the MPAA (SMÃÃS), and gathered some valuable information that the tracker can use in its defense.
Unnar first arranged a meeting with SnÃ¦bjÃ¶rn SteingrÃmsson, the executive of SMÃÃS, about a month ago. He told SnÃ¦bjÃ¶rn that he could provide details about the owners and administrators of the BitTorrent tracker, and said he was willing to testify against them.
The sole purpose of the covert-operation was of course to gather information from SMÃÃS on the ongoing investigation on TVB (Icelanders only) and Torrent.is, two Icelandic BitTorrent trackers. “Me and an administrator at TVB were pondering one morning about what SmÃ¡is actually got on us, and I had this idea to contact SnÃ¦bjÃ¶rn and set up a meeting,” Unnar explained.
To gain the confidence of SnÃ¦bjÃ¶rn and the other investigators, 15 in total, Unnar led them to believe that the TVB staff was threatening him. “I was called in for another meeting and I told him that I had been assaulted because somebody knew I was going to witness against TVB, I made my friend give me some bruises.” Undy told TorrentFreak.
The investigators fell for it, and believed that they finally had an insider on their side, so they started to share confidential information. The cover story had worked, and this Friday Unnar was called in for a meeting where they showed 1000 pages of evidence against TVB. In addition they told Unnar that they were plotting a criminal case against the tracker, not a civil case as the one against Istorrent.
“I was shown screenshots of admin profiles on TVB, which showed information only available to administrators. I asked how they got this information and if somebody else was snitching, but they replied ‘you can do everything on the internet’,” Unnar said. The most likely scenario is that SMÃÃS used an exploit or some other hack, to gain access to the tracker.
At that point they still thought Unnar was going to testify against the people behind TVB, so they showed him all the info they had gathered on the tracker, and which users they would go after, if it would come to that. “They gave me the usernames of two persons who where responsible for 90% of the Icelandic material on TVB,” Unnar said. “After the meeting I gave this information to those users, so they could take evasive action.”
“The most interesting part about this is that I said at the beginning of the meeting: “No offense, I can help you convict some administrators, but the website isn’t going down just for that,” to which SnÃ¦bjÃ¶rn replied “It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, we will still bankrupt you.” This shows that they are simply using their money to force the trackers to go offline.
All in all Unnar thinks that he has gathered enough information to have a significant advantage in court. This Friday he publicly shared his covert-ops experiences with other users at TVB, but up until now, he hasn’t heard anything from SMÃÃS.