Owner of ‘Copycat’ Pirate Site Drops 48 Domains (Movies Not Included) *TorrentFreak
ACE says the ring it just pulled focused on the Spanish-speaking market and attracted significant traffic using a familiar technique. Instead of creating unique branding for each site, domain names were named as closely as possible to effectively mimic pre-existing hack marks.
Why Some Hackers Copy Other Hackers
In a world where branded sites like The Pirate Bay or RARBG are being downgraded or even removed from Google search altogether, filling the void with a similar-sounding domain can pay dividends. ACE says this particular ring has had 271 million hits over the past two years. On average, they have received 16.5 million visits per month over the past three months.
ACE is rightly satisfied with its work. The 48 domains identified by the Anti-Piracy Coalition are turned over to the Motion Picture Association (MPA), adding to the hundreds of domains seized by ACE in numerous other operations. On the surface, it certainly seems significant, but there are telltale signs of a larger picture.
Copy Movies and TV Shows, Copy Other Pirate Sites
One of the domains seized is Cuevana.nz, which leveraged brand awareness for a site originally launched as Cuevana.tv and later became one of the most popular pirate streaming operations in Latin America.
Domains such as pelis24.se, Pelisplus2.org, Pelismart.net and Poseidonhd.nz have continued the same copycat theme, but these are only the few mentioned by ACE and only a small part of the full picture.
TorrentFreak identified other freshly grabbed domains from the same ring, including poseidonhd.in, pelisplus.nz, pelisflix.in, series24.in, and repelisplus.to. The list doesn’t even end there; peliculas-online.net, ples24.pl, peelink3.pro – it seems endless.
These alone paint a fairly clear picture but leave an important question unanswered.
Superhuman pirate site juggler?
ACE identified a Colombian man in Bogota as the person behind the 48 domains, many of which followed the copycat naming convention while others tied to less popular platforms. Given the scale, we asked ACE if the 48-domain pirate site ring was really the work of a single man. We received this response:
“Major illegal hacking operations like this ring are rarely a one-man job. Even though a single person manages all elements of these operations, they often source elements such as content from specialized illegal suppliers,” ACE told us.
“Some actions, like this case, may focus on one person, but that person relied on content obtained elsewhere.”
And that’s just one reason why it’s entirely possible for one man to manage dozens of sites. Because if pirates are good at anything, it’s copying.
Ctrl C / Ctrl V / Ctrl C / Ctrl V
Hoping to learn more about the investigation, we hoped that ACE would answer more questions. The anti-piracy coalition clearly understands the nature of the ring but refused to answer the majority. So instead, here’s a quick look at how other site rings can be operated by one person.
Since the domain is already under study by ACE and appeared while we were researching the current case, here is a screenshot of Lookmovie2.to, another domain marketing the brand of a previously famous site, also acting as part of a ring.
At this point we usually include screenshots for Lookmovie2.la, lookmovie.site, lookmovie.mobi and lookmovie.media. We could also do the same for lookmovie.fyi, lookmovie.fun and lookmovie.foundation. In this case, however, there is not much point.
Websites are the windows, not the engine room
With lookmovie.download, lookmovie.digital, lookmovie.com, lookmovie.clinic, lookmovie.click, lookmovie.buzz and lookmovie.art, all mentioned domains link to the exact same website code, serving the exact same selection of movies and TV shows.
What we have here is an easily replicable website template that pulls all the important data from third-party sources. This includes all information about illustrations and films, but also and especially videos. In turn, the service providing the videos is used by a number of other streaming websites, each using their own naming conventions in various fields.
In summary, if a website has a million different domains, the number of websites remains the same. Delete all domains and the website still exists. If this website is easy to replicate because it has no content, it can be replaced extremely quickly, just like domains.
All of this is made possible because the important stuff – movies and TV shows – are not an integral part of these sites. They just act as a front end, so even if all the latest ones were gone tomorrow, they can be replaced just as quickly, and almost as quickly as domains.