It’s not uncommon for torrent sites to suffer downtime due to technical issues. That happens pretty much every day.
But when close to a dozen large sites go offline, people start to ask questions.
This is exactly what happened this week. As reported previously, The Pirate Bay was hard to reach earlier, after a surge of traffic and a subsequent DDoS attack overloaded its servers. And they were not alone.
TorrentFreak spoke to several torrent site admins who noticed an increase of suspicious traffic which slowed down or toppled their sites, at least temporarily. While most have recovered, some sites remain offline today.
TorrentProject.se, one of the most used torrent search engines, has been down for nearly three days now. The site currently shows a “403 Forbidden” error message. Whether this is a harmless technical issue, the result of a DDoS attack, or worse, is unknown.
TorrentFreak reached out to the owner of the site but we have yet to hear back.
Another site that appears to be in trouble is WorldWideTorrents. This site, which was started after the KAT shutdown last year, is a home to many comic book fans. However, over the past few days the site has become unresponsive.
Based on WHOIS data, the site’s domain name has been suspended. The name servers were changed to “suspended-domain.com,” which means that it’s unlikely to be reinstated. WorldWideTorrents will reportedly return with a new domain but which one is currently unknown.
Popular uploaders on the site such as Nemesis43, meanwhile, are still active on other sites.
Then there’s also Isohunt.to, which has been unresponsive for over a week. The search engine, which launched in 2013 less than two weeks after isoHunt.com shut down, has now vanished itself.
With no word from the operators, we can only speculate what happened. The site has seen a sharp decline in traffic over the past year, so it could be that they simply lost interest.
Those who now search for IsoHunt on Google are instead pointed to isohunts.to, which is a scam site advising users to download a “binary client,” which is little more than an ad.
The above shows that the torrent ecosystem remains vulnerable. DDoS attacks and domain issues are nothing new, but after the shutdown of KAT, Torrentz, Extratorrent, and other giants, the remaining sites have to carry a larger burden.
This year authorities have been clamping down on online piracy, with the penalties for it being increased significantly.
Earlier this year the Digital Economy Act became law, meaning anyone caught sharing illegal files in the UK could be sent to prison for up to 10 years.
Previously, the maximum jail term for copyright infringement was two years but this has now been increased to a maximum of 10.
Although the bill is mainly aimed at stopping those distributing content illegally, end users could also end up in trouble.