Revision3 Podcast Network Hacked, Attacked By MediaDefender

May 29th, 2008 | By | Category: Digital Video Recorder, Featured Story, General, Internet TV, Podcast Distribution, Video

Revision3Jim Louderback, CEO of podcasting/new media network Revision3, has an explanation for why his site died over Memorial Day weekend: they were hacked and attacked by MediaDefender, a company that works for the music and film industries doing anti-piracy work.

According to Ars Technica, MediaDefender uses “its array of 2,000 servers and a 9GBps dedicated connection to propagate fake files and launch denial of service attacks against distributors.”

Revision3, the network behind DiggNation and other video podcasts, uses P2P file-sharing for legitimate reasons – as a way to keep down distribution costs for its shows. Louderback explains:

Revision3 runs a tracker expressly designed to coordinate the sharing and downloading of our shows. It’s a completely legitimate business practice, similar to how ESPN puts out a guide that tells viewers how to tune into its network on DirecTV, Dish, Comcast and Time Warner, or a mall might publish a map of its stores.

Despite the fact that Revision3′s use of P2P technology was legitimate, MediaDefender targeted the network.

“Media Defender was abusing one of Revision3’s servers for their own purposes, without our approval,” says Louderback. “They willingly admitted to abusing Revision3’s network, over a period of months, by injecting a broad array of torrents into our tracking server.”

Louderback outlines the effects of MediaDefender’s work:

  • A torrential flood of SYN packets rained down on Revision3’s network over Memorial Day weekend.
  • Those packets – up to 8,000 a second – came primarily from computers controlled by MediaDefender, who is in the business of shutting down illegal torrent sites.
  • Revision3 suffered measurable harm to its business due to that flood of packets, as the attacks on our legitimate and legal Torrent Tracking server spilled over into our entire internet infrastructure. Thus we were unable to serve videos and advertising through much of the weekend, and into Tuesday – and even our internal email servers were brought down

Denial of service attacks are illegal in the US. Louderback says the FBI is looking into the situation.

Is MediaDefender Fighting Piracy Or P2P Distribution?

If Louderback’s account of MediaDefender’s hacking and attacking of Revision3 are accurate, it raises a big question: is MediaDefender fighting piracy – or is it fighting P2P distribution?

P2P distribution has the potential to level the playing field for new media companies. It offloads much of the cost for distributing large media files to end-users. This means that new media companies can distribute Internet videos using smaller media servers, using less bandwidth.

MediaDefender’s clients are big media companies, like Sony and Universal Music, and media industry groups like the RIAA and MPAA. Big media companies are threatened by technologies that level the playing field, because suddenly shows like Diggnation are competing with mainstream media for your attention.

Did MediaDefender launch a denial-of-service attack against Revision3 to cripple upstart competitors of the big media companies?

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7 Responses to “Revision3 Podcast Network Hacked, Attacked By MediaDefender”

  1. Sounds like somebody’s got a lawsuit for the same kinds of damages as those claimed by the RIAA.

    What do you think?

    A billion dollars or two for the anticompetitive behavior?

    I say one billion for MediaDefender and another for the **AAs.

    Hey maybe Digg can turn suing the RIAA into a profit center. Turn about IS fair play. :-)

  2. AllenA says:

    Someone should raise a stink about this.

    This is organized crime, with the music and movie industries working through MediaDefender to take out competitors.

    Let’s hope the FBI sees this for what it is.

  3. arguillo says:

    it sounds like Revision3 has complete noobs running their servers, doesn’t it?

  4. Steve Page says:

    WOW what else can you say. The lawyers are going to have a field day with this one! This either says uncontrolled DoS attacks which cannot be legal or this is anti-competitive and should be dealt with in a very strong way by the authorities. Well done Revision 3 for tracking who it was, love Diggnation and the Digg Reel to name but two.

  5. [...] Revision3 Podcast Network Hacked, Attacked By MediaDefender – Podcasting NewsJim Louderback, CEO of podcasting/new media network Revision3, has an explanation for why his site died over Memorial Day weekend: they were hacked and attacked by MediaDefender , a company that works for the music and film industries doing anti [...]

  6. I would hope that someone in any business is smart enough to know not to make such accusations unless there is evidence to back up such accusations. I am therefore going to assume that Jim Louderback does have the evidence.

    I know what would happen to me if I did such a thing to someone else’s servers.

    I seem to recall my teachers in school telling me that one of the things that make the USA so special is that nobody is above the law.

    So, if there is anything to it, let’s hope that they don’t leave it at mere dollar damages.

  7. James Lewin says:

    Steve – yep – the lawyers will have fun with this one.

    arguillo – you’re right! Why would a denial of service attack against their bitTorrent server take out their internal network? Why did they let anybody and their mother seed their bitTorrent server? Something’s not right with that network!

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