In our recent discussion about security and hacking, I thought that it would be relevant to examine the website The Pirate Bay, which allows its users to upload or download different types of media files. This website is always running into legal trouble from organizations looking to for allowing the illegal downloading of a multitude of files. However, the company continues to avoid major legal charges because the company is constantly switching domain names with the hope that they avoid these troubles. Nonetheless, The Pirate Bay still runs into their fair share of problems, for example, back in 2009 each of the four co-founders were each sentenced to a year in prison, along with a combined fine of 3.6 million dollars. And most recently, one of the co-founders has been charged with fraud after he tried to hack into a Swedish Back and make unauthorized transactions that will most likely put him back in jail.
Although the founders of The Pirate Bay have been under a lot of jeopardy for running this fraudulent website, the companies who own this stolen and illegally downloaded property also is at risk. This risk isn’t for doing anything against the law, but for the potential to lose a sizeable amount of profits from their products. The amount of piracy that takes place is growing and even reached an all time high at the beginning of the month when more than one million viewers downloaded the season premiere of Game of Thrones in less than a day. This incredible amount of viewers lost for the show and for HBO represents a considerable amount of money lost in either their advertisement prices and in the amount of people who buy the show legally.
One company is taking a stand against this dilemma by uploading their own game to The Pirate Bay with an ironic twist. Although they are selling a regular copy of the game where players “simulate running [their own] video-game development company”, the pirated copy has its users ultimately go bankrupt due to the same problem of piracy. This forces players to buy the real version of the game where they aren’t doomed to fail.
Finally, now relating back to our discussions in class, I believe that those who seem to be the most at risk from The Pirate Bay are people like us who download the media files. Companies like Pirate Bay and other downloading websites don’t search through all of their files to sort out and eliminate the ones containing viruses or other fraudulent data. This presents a type of social engineering, where the hackers look for the weakest link, which is the users who are just looking for any link to download. Eventually, if one does download a fake link, then the virus could attack his or her computer, allowing the hack to have access to all of the computers files and data. Thus it is up to the individual to decide whether it is worth the risk to download any media files with the potential that it can be corrupted.