So PirateBay’s apparently been pirated. Or rather their user database got hacked and their emails and user names and passwords made off with. This has the feeling of the kind of incident that’s less about seizing something genuinely valuable– than counting coup on a group that has turned itself into the celebrities of internet piracy.
While this could possibly be the work of MediaSentry or some RIAA or MPAA watchdog or storefront group– which has resorted to hacking against BitTorrent sites in the past and to whom the PirateBay has been a thorn in the side– it’s more likely the kind of petty hacker’s rivalry that’s often all too common in that underground world. Hackers are by nature competitive and often petty.
Finally there’s the possibility that one of the growing crime rings operating out of Russia, Eastern Europe or Pakistan which aggressively hacks into sites, seizes user data and plunders accounts on a large scale for blackmail, ransom or botnet schemes has hit PirateBay. In theory many of its users would be quite vulnerable to blackmail if the hackers were to threaten to turn over their participation in an illegal site to their employers– but this seems like a far fetched scenario.
The likely simple reality of it is that the underground and the fringes of the tech culture– people don’t get along with each other so well.
Finally there’s the possibility that this is all a publicity stunt by PirateBay– which is notorious for pulling off stunts like that, including the faked MPAA shutdown of the site.