In many countries across the world including the UK, Italy, Denmark and France, the leading torrent sites are no longer freely accessible.
Instead, the sites are blocked following court orders requested by the music, movie and publishing industries. These blockades have become widespread, but the same is true for tools to circumvent them.
One of the most popular ways to unblock a site is by using a reverse proxy. These proxies ‘mirror’ the original sites on a new domain name, making them accessible again.
In recent years these proxies have been popping up left and right, but a few days ago thousands suddenly disappeared. Instead of granting access to the blocked torrent sites the associated domain names are now listed for sale.
The list of vanished domains is long and includes the popular “piratelist.net” overview site, as well as proxies such as kickasstorrents.nu, yify.me, extratorrent.ch, 1337x.link, piratebay.onl and many others.
Upon close inspection we found out that the affected sites are all connected to the same operation, which operated under the “ProxyHouse” and “ProxyAds” handles. Both of these sites are now listed for sale as well.
The total number of sites that have disappeared is huge. ProxyHouse could not be reached for comment but the operator previously informed TF that they manage proxies under thousands of different domains.
“At the moment, we are running over 17,000 proxy sites for KickassTorrents, ThePirateBay, YTS, ExtraTorrent and 1337x. By providing a lot of different domains, we are giving people the option to still access torrent sites,” ProxyHouse told us in August.
While the proxy sites have been useful to a lot of people, they also posed a risk. ProxyHouse added their own advertisements to the sites, which have been linked to malware.
It’s unclear why the ProxyHouse operation shut down all of a sudden. The sites were a thorn in the side of copyright holders, as it made their job of policing the Internet harder, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if legal pressure played a role.
Despite the loss of thousands of proxies, there are still enough available to bypass most common blockades. In fact, most torrent site operators are happy to see them gone, as they believe that these ‘unauthorized’ proxies were ‘stealing’ their revenue.
Update: The domains are actively advertised on a domain name sale website as well.