Weekly podcast: Congress, Steemit and Kickass Torrents

This week, we discuss a DDoS attack on the US Library of Congress, a cyber attack that cost Steemit users $85,000, and the arrest of the alleged founder of the world’s most visited illegal file-sharing site, Kickass Torrents


Hello and welcome to the IT Governance podcast for Friday, 22nd July. Here are this week’s stories.

The US Library of Congress is recovering from a four-day DDoS attack, which started on Sunday 17 July. The cyber attack disrupted services to a number of websites, including congress.gov (the United States Congress website) and copyright.gov (the US Copyright Office website), and prevented employees from accessing their emails.

According to a blog written by Bernard A. Barton Jr., the Library of Congress’s chief information officer, “This was a massive and sophisticated DNS assault, employing multiple forms of attack, adapting and changing on the fly.” The Library is “satisfied that [it has] fended off the attack and fortified [its] system”.

The social network Steemit, which enables users to earn ‘Steem Power’ and ‘Steem Dollars’ when they post popular content, has suffered a cyber attack in which an attacker managed to steal $85,000 worth of Steem Dollars from 260 of its users.

Steemit CEO Ned Scott said last Thursday: “The hack has now been contained. User accounts and wallets are not at risk […] Any users whose accounts were compromised will be completely reimbursed.”

In an update the next day, he added: “Within the next 48 hours, Steemit will begin to allow all newly secured accounts to reset their passwords simply by logging in with the same Facebook or Reddit credentials that were used to register in the first place.”

Shortly after this update was issued, Steem suffered a DDoS attack, according to Softpedia, which it used as an opportunity “to bring down its servers for maintenance and upgrade its service by adding something it called ‘blockchain-based multi-factor authentication,’ to boost account security even more.”

Artem Vaulin, the alleged founder of the world’s largest BitTorrent distribution site, Kickass Torrents (KAT), has been arrested in Poland. US authorities have charged him with criminal copyright infringement and are seeking his extradition.

In a Department of Justice press release, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said: “Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials”.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Vaulin, “KAT operates in approximately 28 languages”, “receives more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is estimated to be the 69th most frequently visited website on the internet.” The site’s “net worth has been estimated at more than $54 million, with estimated annual advertising revenue in the range of $12.5 million to $22.3 million.”

Well, that’s it for this week. Don’t forget to comment below, telling us a bit about yourself and what you’d like more information on. And until next time, remember that you can keep up to date with the latest information security news on our blog. And whatever your cyber security needs – whether regulatory compliance, stakeholder reassurance or just greater business efficiency – IT Governance can help your organisation to protect, comply and thrive. Visit our website for more information: itgovernance.co.uk.

One Response

  1. Dimitri Flopdike 22nd July 2016