Is Wolverine Leak Investigation Causing Collateral Damage?
Earlier this week, an unfinished copy of the upcoming Wolverine movie was leaked via BitTorrent. It's been interesting to watch just how quickly the film industry managed to get the FBI to launch a massive investigation into the source of the leak, which should be helped by forensic marks embedded in the release. User Qumahlin See Profile submits this CBS news report, the user claiming a raid on a Dallas data center is part of this investigation.
"Quite a few companies I do business with are completely screwed and losing money thanks to this," says the user, who claims the impacted companies told him the raid was Wolverine related. We've been unable to confirm this, since the FBI won't comment. Matthew Simpson, the owner of a company named Core IP Networks, blogged about the raid yesterday morning, noting that whatever the reason, the raid impacted a significant number of companies, including AT&T and Google:
Neither I, nor Core IP are involved in any illegal activities of any kind. The only data that I have received thus far is that the FBI is investigating a company that has purchased services from Core IP in the past. This company does not even colocate with us anywhere, much less 2323 Bryan Street Datacenter. Currently nearly 50 businesses are completely without access to their email and data. Citizen access to Emergency 911 services are being affected, as Core IP's primary client base consists of telephone companies.
We e-mailed Simpson, who isn't sure (or isn't telling) what the cause for the raid was, but didn't seem to think it was pirate/mutant related. A few companies who do business with Simpson have reached out to us to note that all they know is the raid seriously impacted their business. They haven't been told much of anything either, other than the fact that Core IP's lawyers are working with the FBI to get everybody back up and running.
"Our Residential DSL users, authenticate via PPPoE, using a RADIUS server we have hosted with Core IP," says Brent Waldrep, owner of Lightning Bolt Technologies. "Yesterday morning, around 7am, it was brought to our attention a few of our residential customers could not authenticate, and after some quick troubleshooting, we found our RADIUS server was not online," he says. According to Waldrep, a call to Core IP alerted them to the FBI raid.
"We sent out an email to all our residential DSL users, about 20% of our client base, informing them of the authentication issue," he says. He notes that users who were currently authenticated are still able to use their connection, though any users needing to re-authenticate, are not able to do so. Waldrep says he's giving impacted users a free upgrade to SOHO packages, which don't use the residential RADIUS server.
If the raid was part of the Wolverine investigation (which we'll again state isn't established yet) it begs the question whether the revenues of a film studio outweigh the revenue streams, connectivity, and 911 services for dozens of other companies. Especially when you consider that quite often, the most-pirated films still wind up being the biggest box office hits anyway.
Itís a couple days old, but still worth commenting on. Via CBS 11 News, early Thursday morning the FBI raided a Core IP, a Dallas company providing datacenter services. However, rather than target certain servers, the feds took all the computers, including machines certainly not pertaining to any investigation. According to the companyís owner, Matthew Simpson, a former customer of his is the target of investigation, but no longer does business with his company. He is understandably angry at what is going on:
Currently nearly 50 businesses are completely without access to their email and data. Citizen access to Emergency 911 services are being affected, as Core IPís primary client base consists of telephone companies.
Rumors have been abound that the raid is linked to the leaking of the soon to be released X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but there is no evidence of this, only speculation. In any case, that leak was on bittorrent, making it unlikely that any server at the datacenter was actually hosting the file (Bittorent is decentralized P2P between many computers), though there is precedent for the authorities going after sites that link to illegal Bittorrent downloads.
But one question remains: Is there precedent for allowing the FBI carrying out entire datacenters worth of computers, thus affecting business for more than just the criminal? I would say yes.
I have heard of it happening before in hearsay, but I now have a little bit of evidence to back up these stories. News accounts here and here, albeit on charges of fraud and receiving kickbacks, both show the FBI taking out a lot of computer equipment. I think the problem before the FBI is that they donít know exactly where the offending files and/or programs may be, so that they need to scan all the equipment for what their investigation needs.
However, like I said, those are different cases. Fraud and corruption may have incriminating evidence on multiple computers. However, assuming that the ownerís story stands up (we still donít know all the details), one would think the FBI could pinpoint the computers where illegal activity was taking place. It certainly isnít that hard to do traceroute, and even if the activity was happening across multiple computers (if the customer had more than one), it would be easy enough to ask where they were located.
Iím skeptical that federal investigation into computer crimes necessitates the removal of more equipment than necessary. I know it is SOP for law enforcement agencies to not comment on ongoing investigations, but the FBI in Dallas may be wise to explain why they took so much. At the very least, it would do wonders to combat the image of overstepping bounds that they have now created.
However, the details about this story are still very hazy. It is unwise for anybody reading about it to assume anything.
Screen shot has been posted about the FBI raids and what happened, I assume this is the owner of the data center, it's a long read, but worth it, even if he's not connected to the Wolverine leak, it's amazing what the FBI can do now-a-days...catch the screen shot in the download link
Source: Whatever the cause, FBI raids in Dallas hurt a number of businesses... | The Unusual FBI Raid of a Dallas Datacenter
Download Link: http://imagee.org/images/qgemybz4j5b9a3v4da7.png