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Ukrainian police bust BitTorrent tracker Demonoid

Ukrainian officials have shut down BitTorrent tracker site, following last week's DDoS attack that left the site temporarily shuttered, according to TorrentFreak.

Housed at ColoCALL, the largest data center in the Ukraine, all information from Demonoid's servers has been copied and sealed by investigators, an anonymous ColoCALL source told Ukrainian newspaper Kommersant. Some equipment was seized, though pieces left behind are no longer in working condition, causing the data center to end its agreement with Demonoid.

The site allegedly blocked all Ukrainian IP addresses, "to avoid upsetting the locals," TorrentFreak reported, therefore not circumventing the country's law. Still, it attracted the attention of the authorities, and the raid came shortly after the DDoS attack.

On 26 July, more than a million Demonoid users realised they couldn't access the site, and were met with a "server busy" message, suggesting technical difficulties on the tracker's part, TorrentFreak reported last week.

When the news site contacted Demonoid two weeks ago, they were told that the tracker was overloaded by a DDoS attack, "which hit the server hard," TorrentFreak said, leaving a series of problems in its wake. The problems were expected to take some time to fix, leading to the Ukrainian officials' investigation.

Demonoid's takedown is the biggest BitTorrent-related raid in recent memory, not to mention one that has knocked out one of the world's largest torrent tracker sites.

"Experts point out that the site has a lot of spare servers and the owners could easily restore it," the Ukrainian paper said, adding from its source that the nameless founder of Demonoid is currently located in Mexico, and that he or she could restore the site within 15 minutes.

"However, judging by the fact that the management of the site [has] not, most likely the tracker was closed forever," the ColoCALL staffer said.

Demonoid has been filed on the United States Trade Representative list, among other notorious sites like The Pirate Bay and Megaupload.

(Ed. Note: TorrentFreak also pointed out that a source inside Ukraine's Interior Ministry informed Kommersant that the bust was a bit of toadying up to the US government ahead of Deputy Prime Minister Valery Khoroshkovsky's first visit to the superpower. Surely copyright infringement won't be on the agenda?)

Megaupload was shuttered this year for rampant copyright infringement, while The Pirate Bay has been blocked by various ISPs around the world. Last month, however, research found that the Pirate Bay embargo instigated by UK ISPs was not doing much to stop file-sharing - in fact, a rise in BitTorrent traffic was noted in spite on the blockade.