TorrentSpy names hacker and details attack

TorrentSpy named the hacker who allegedly broke into its computers purportedly on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America.

TorrentSpy named the hacker who it claims broke into its computer systems on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), as part of a legal request that would force the MPAA to turn over documents stolen from the Internet file-searching company.

TorrentSpy accused the MPAA in May of paying a hacker US$15,000 to steal confidential company information, including e-mails and passwords for accessing TorrentSpy's servers. The MPAA has called the charges baseless.

On Thursday, TorrentSpy asked the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, to require the MPAA to hand over any documents it acquired and reveal who has seen them. If the court grants the request, made as part of the discovery stage of the case, the MPAA will have 10 days to comply.

TorrentSpy included with its court filing a declaration from Robert Anderson, the hacker allegedly hired by the MPAA, detailing his activities and his ties to TorrentSpy.

Anderson describes himself as an "acquaintance" of Justin Bunnell, a principal of the company that runs TorrentSpy.com, who did some marketing work in 2004 and 2005 for a company Bunnell was involved with. The two parted ways in April last year, when Anderson stopped working for the company and became "upset" with Bunnell, he said in his declaration.

Two months later, Anderson contacted the MPAA and offered to provide it with information about TorrentSpy, he said. The court filing includes a document described as a contract signed by the MPAA and a bogus company, representing Anderson, that includes the MPAA's agreement to pay Anderson the US$15,000 for his services.

Anderson says the MPAA "knew, or reasonably should have known," that he was not authorized to obtain the information he did, which also included e-mails, client billing information, IP (Internet protocol) addresses of servers, a cashflow spreadsheet and a personal utility bill of one of the company's principals.

He also names a private investigator firm that he allegedly helped hire on behalf of the MPAA to comb through Bunnell's trash and that of other TorrentSpy associates.

The MPAA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning. In the past it has described the claims as "baseless" and accused TorrentSpy of filing its lawsuit in retaliation against earlier suits filed by the MPAA.

The MPAA filed several lawsuits earlier this year in an effort to shut down Web sites operated by companies, including TorrentSpy, that help users find digital music and video files online.

TorrentSpy operates a search engine that allows users to find files that can be shared using BitTorrent's file sharing system. TorrentSpy argues that it only helps users find files but doesn't actually offer content itself, so it can't be held liable for users who download illegal content.

Those suits, and the action initiated by TorrentSpy regarding the hacker allegations, are ongoing.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?