Suspected DDoS attack shuts down dozens of torrent sites

Several torrent sites crashed last week after they experienced higher than expected traffic as well as a suspected DDoS attack from unknown perpetrators.

Torrent sites were crowded with thousands of visitors who were looking to download the last episode of Game of Thrones illegally.

While dozens of torrent sites were affected by the surge in traffic and a suspected DDoS attack, a number of them are now working again and operating as usual. Affected torrent sites included TorrentProject.se, WorldWideTorrents, The Pirate Bay, isohunt.to, and 1337x.

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According to TorrentFreak, the surge in user traffic last week was followed by a suspected DDoS attack that brought down several torrent sites. TorrentFreak admins noted that while it is common for sites to suffer downtime due to technical issues, it is not common for dozens of torrent sites to go down at the same time.

'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,' said TorrentFreak.

According to Kirill Kasavchenko, Principal Security Technologist, EMEA at Arbor Networks, cyber criminals often conduct DDoS attacks on popular websites during times of peak activity. Suffering downtime or going offline will result in affected torrent sites losing their appeal among visitors who may move over to other legitimate sources who have invested in more robust anti-DDoS solutions.

TorrentFreak admits that torrent sites are burdened with higher than expected traffic these days since a number of popular torrent sites have been shut down.

'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,' it said.