Revision3, MediaDefender and the Building Robot Wars

Posted by on May 29, 2008 at 11:00 am.

terminatorOver the last couple years I’ve diligenced a few network security products that are the internet equivalent of automated unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). They offer the ability to scan the [network] horizon for enemy behavior and take aggressive, automated offensive/defensive action.

The magnitude of such automated action usually intrigued me and troubled me at the same time. Today’s detailed claim by Revision3 of a MediaDefender denial of service attack on its BitTorrent port reminded me of the robot wars that are coming in air (via UAVs) and in the “cloud” (via MediaDefender and others).

Revision3′s post sure sounded like they are setting up to sue MediaDefender (or at least scare up some kind of settlement). Given the business losses, R3′s claimed legitimate BitTorrent uses and the precision of the attack (8,000 packets/second at R3′s BT port), it’s hard to blame them.

At the same time, just as I’m allowed to protect my physical property, it seems like there should be some rights online for protecting my digital property (assuming protective action is taken against entities truly taking my property). I don’t know where that line is, but I’m curious how the courts would treat MediaDefender actions if their target really was stealing digital property they are paid to protect. It’s likely that most of those cases go unreported, but it would probably depend on the proportionality of their action to the risk of loss.

Anyway, R3′s detailed post is an interesting read. Are these the early skirmishes of the building Terminator Robot Wars?

UPDATE: Although I wouldn’t blame this one on the robots, a separate BitTorrent-related hack bit Comcast, possibly in response to their BT throttling.

Related images: revision3, mediadefender, bittorrent, comcast, terminator

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