back to article 332M Kick Ass pirates get asses kicked by scareware ass-kickers

The world's most popular pirate torrent site KickAss Torrents is serving scareware advertising, helping dodgy call centre operators con users into handing over remote access to their machines. KickAss Torrents gained the top spot among movie, TV, and software pirates after the temporary scuppering of the Pirate Bay, which …

  1. Kevin Fairhurst

    Other than the reporter...

    There surely can't be that many visitors to that website who don't have adblockers on in full. Assuming they're actually visiting the site directly, and don't just have an automated system to do the dirty deeds for them (eg SickRage, HeadPhones, CouchPotato)

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Other than the reporter...

      I would have to guess that most people,*cough* savy enough to find the site in question would disregard such comedies...

      Thanks for the leads. Ted lost its functionality it would seem.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other than the reporter...

      Are you sure? Do you believe all people dowloding illegally movies, music, etc. are only tech-savvy ones? I believe such a site is a perfect place for such "business"...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other than the reporter...

        Ummm, I wouldn't want to piss off the people there that are tech savvy. Not a healthy idea at all.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Other than the reporter...

        No, not sure, but if they have worked to find Kick Ass (a colleague helped me after BT junkie shuttered), I would tend to think that, yes they might be more tech savvy dl'ers than those that hit the Pirate Bay for example. However, it's just my off center thinking. Nothing is what it appears.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other than the reporter...

      They have ads? Joking, of course. If I should go there then every kind of blocking you can think of would be in place. That's aside from using a VM as I've been doing forever (1999). I did peek at their front page and there's no notice about this occurring. So either it's handled or someone ain't keeping an eye out, which I doubt.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other than the reporter...

      KAT has become an increasingly less pleasant place to rummage for missed TV shows and other gubbins over the last few months with increasingly aggressive JS popups and general bullshit and (assumedly) cookie malarkey.

      All of it very very dodgy-looking. Might go rummage around PB again for those missed EP1's and stuff cos frankly KAT feels like a menace to use.

  2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    If I were to partake in such underhand computer use such as accessing torrent sites, I'd use a minimal software Linux VM. Makes it pretty tough for windows executables to run when there are no windows libraries and makes a mockery of popup windows "errors".

    A purely theoretical situation of course and there are plenty of legitimate uses for torrents.

    1. Proud Father

      @Nick Ryan

      Lubuntu 15.04, Firefox+uBlock, Deluge client and VPN to bypass those pesky ISP blocks.

      All wrapped up nice and safe in a Hyper-V VM. Works a treat.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Linux VM

      ..and if you are going to clean your toilet how many hazmat suits do you wear?

      For me its balance of convenience over security, leaning towards the convenience side.

      If flash and other crap is up to date , and browser , then i'm probly ok.

      I suspect the majority of crap gets on computers because people AGREE to install it.

      They try to download , say , a driver . For reason only a user could explain they have ended up at "drivers-R-Us" rather than and when the they click the GIANT green button that says "FREE DOWNLOAD of your stuff , plus good karma forever" , they arnt in the least phased then the download dialogue box asks if theyd like to run "Downloadmanager.exe" rather than ""

      If people just check wether the type of file they are getting matches what they want , and pay attention to where its coming from everything would be ok.

      (ok 0 day drive bys not covered in my sucurity policy , but i dont constantltly cruise the sort of sites theyd be set up at and rely on not being the first victim)

  3. Khaptain Silver badge


    That's a lot of phone calls to make, are you sure that 332 Million people really got their ass kicked, or is this just scaremongering headlines for the El Reg reasdership.

    This is an old scam and those indian call center people can be convincing to the non-tech savvy... they are also extremely agressive, warn your parents, family and friends not to accept tech calls from "anyone"....

  4. frank ly

    Kick ass fake links

    It doesn't seem to happen now, but some time ago there were fake magnet icon links on Kick Ass listings that actually linked to .exe download sites which claimed to install a great torrent downloader. I didn't use them of course but I wonder how many people tried them. I can understand that rogue adverts get through but that seemed to be very underhand work by the site's owners.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Kick ass fake links

      Not necessarily KickAss, but many so-called "torrent mirrors" were really just fronts to download malware. Same for sites touting exclusive downloads that required "agents".

      1. gszathmari

        Re: Kick ass fake links

        This is absolutely true and was covered by a research I made earlier this year. Details:

    2. Mondo the Magnificent

      Re: Kick ass fake links

      Yea, I've seen those redirects that 'suggest' you install their little client to "Enjoy a faster download experience"

      Anyone who's tech savvy will ignore that crap.

      However, with downloading being so fast and simple, rest assured there are millions of downloaders (say "Leechers") who are not that savvy and when the 50-something does a Google search for "my favourite TV series episode that I missed" there candles draw the moths to the flames...

      (BTW I am a 50-something... but more than a little tech savvy than many I know)

      They enter Kickass and bang! The scareware popups do their job, scaring these types into believing there is legitimately something wrong with their PCs...

      Nothing comes free and like any site KAT have to pay their hosting fees and I am sure they don't exactly vet those who throw money to banner advertise on their site...

      1. 9Rune5

        Re: Kick ass fake links

        "Yea, I've seen those redirects that 'suggest' you install their little client to "Enjoy a faster download experience"

        Anyone who's tech savvy will ignore that crap."

        I tend to agree, but I would like to note that some of us have been pre-conditioned to accept download managers to some degree. E.g. a few years ago Microsoft pushed a download manager on anyone trying to download stuff from their MSDN site.

        I can't recall any recent incidents of that type however, so hopefully that nonsense is in the past. I just find it interesting that once again, yesterday's bad habit is today's security pitfall.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you are going to browse the seedier parts of the web, be protected. Don't let anything auto execute.

    To be honest, it's best always assume the web is unhygienic....

  6. Graham Marsden

    "offered money in order to provide information on his company"

    Chequebook journalism from El Reg? Say it isn't so!











    (But if it is, I've got some great stories for the right price...)

    1. Daniel Hall
      Black Helicopters

      Re: "offered money in order to provide information on his company"

      Me too...

    2. tmTM

      Re: "offered money in order to provide information on his company"

      All he needed to do was provide his name, address, DOB, bank details.................

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A BSOD in a browser window is tricking people? Anyone that is stupid enough to fall for that deserves all they get.

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: Seriously?

      Victim blaming? I know some people are almost literally thicker than mud, but that doesn't make con artists any less culpable. Stating someone "deserved" to be a victim of crime is something I would prefer people stopped doing, it takes away from the point that the crime should never have happened in the first place.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has this been used on, I wonder. Not that I would use such sites to download digital copies of films I own or TV I subscribe to either watch episodes a week early or how I choose on what I want.

  9. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Following the link, it's good to show that YouTube and Facebook are top referals from advertisers. As long as the money comes in, the conscience is overruled.

  10. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    Helped clean up a laptop at the weekend

    That got pwned by a phone support scam. The page popped up from a free music download site. Silly girlie that owned the lappie had called the number and followed the instructions!

    So, yes, people are that daft, and many people crusing the interwebs for free content aren't tech-savvy.

  11. Youngdog

    Er, caveat ereptor maybe?

    Or as my dad used to say - 'Don't play in puddles unless you're wearing your wellies!'

    Mines the one with the Tails live disk....

  12. MooJohn

    Back in the old days

    During the time of Back Orifice, I would scan our ISP's dialup IPs (I was a system admin) for infected PCs and give them a popup stating to call tech support and even which tech to ask for. Sometimes it took a few messages but they would eventually call, slightly surprised to learn that the popup was true and they really had an issue to address.

  13. Bitbeisser

    Good Karma! Yeah, right. That's what the guys from iYogi kept saying all the time when they tried to scam one of my clients who got in a pickle after a harddrive failed and he couldn't immediately find the registration info for his Quickbooks and called Intuit's tech support number...

    Luckily, I got the info from the bad hard drive and he got his money back after complaining to the credit card company, who were well aware of those scammers...

  14. croberts

    Infringers and hackers

    Oh the Blue Screen of Death! It does have that sense of urgency effect when you see it. Hopefully, the "not so techie" would-be pirates take this as a sign to stop or forget downloading illegally.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tech Savvy

    I would've thought the "Tech Savvy" would understand that Port 80 != Internet and there are better, faster and safer ways of doing these things than torrents.

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