That organization exists for the sole purpose of suing the pants off of people, but they can only do so when people leave plenty of evidence about their activity – namely hosting content on their computers and allowing others to download it. Most of the time it seems these foolish people aren’t even aware that what they are doing by running Kazaa, eMule, Gnutella, or some other file sharing application puts them at risk.
But why in the world would anyone share their music, movie or software collections via open, anonymous connections? Especially when there are other virtually risk-free alternatives? (By the way, know your rights if RIAA comes calling.)
Now, I’m not advocating that people steal stuff online.
When it comes to software there are plenty of freeware and open source alternatives for just about anything you could want to do. Long ago I published a list of My 51 Favorite Freeware Apps which I recommend and use on every machine I own. But if you are going to download some software or music online, then at least don’t be an idiot about it!
- Don’t use file-sharing applications! Many of them have all sorts of mal-ware built into them, and you will compromise your computer just by installing them! Not to mention the fact that by design they leave a great big open hole into your hard drive that people can put and take things in and out of. Don’t do it!
- Google is all you need. In many cases Google will serve up exactly what you are looking for. You just have to learn how to do a search correctly (see below).
- Usenet is a sure bet because it isn’t free. Everyone wants something for nothing. But didn’t your mama ever tell you that nothing in life is free? Well, Usenet has a cost – but it contains just about everything in the known digital universe.
There are bad people out there looking to take over and control your computer and ruin your life. They use viruses, trojans and other mal-ware, so I don’t recommend you follow any of the instructions below. If you are going to do so, make sure that you have your anti-virus and firewall software up to date and activated. If you need recommendations for good ones see my freeware listing above.
You have been warned!!!
How to Bootleg Music using Google
It is pathetically simple to download just about any song you want using nothing more than Google. All you need to do is search using the terms “index of” along with the name of the song or artist. Using the quotes around “index of” helps narrow the results to directories that contain files.
For example, lets say you like the song Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne. Do a search on either “index of” stacy’s mom or “index of” fountains of wayne. Very quickly you’ll find some listings that look something like “Index of ./Music/” and guess what you’ll find in them.
It’s all there: The Beatles, Elvis, Pavarotti, Harry Potter audio books… whatever. Here, I’ve even built a custom little search form (with a few added improvements) to demonstrate. You may have to check several of the results because spammers try to capture some of the most common search terms with fake listings.
To use the search form replace “ENTER-SEARCH-TERMS” with your search terms inside the first set of quotes.
How to Bootleg Movies using Google
Feature length movies are a little more complex to search for, and there are not nearly as many posted in open directories on the web. Probably because they are about 200 times the size of a typical MP3. However, here is another custom search which will help you find it if it is there.
The same search method is often used to find free “porn”, “xxx”, “sex” and other illicit movies. To use the search form below replace “ENTER-SEARCH-TERMS” with your search terms inside the first set of quotes.
How to Bootleg Software using Google
Downloading illegal copies of music or movies may be wrong, but downloading software from an unknown source is just plain stupid. Hackers embed all kinds of nasty mal-ware in popular software and then distribute it freely around the net hoping people will install it – and the hidden payload. You can put your entire digital world at risk by downloading from untrusted sources.
Still, for those of you who run with scissors, here is a Google search box. Try “photoshop”, “partition magic” or “ethereal” etc. Just like above, replace “ENTER-SEARCH-TERMS” with your search terms inside the first set of quotes. And don’t forget how dangerous this software can be!
Bootleg ANYTHING on Usenet
Unlike the Web or file-sharing sites, Usenet is a global system of interconnected news servers run by private companies or organizations. Usenet is distributed among a large, constantly changing conglomeration of servers which store and forward messages to one another. (Here is everything you could want to know about them.)
Usenet is comprised of around 100,000 different “news groups”, each focused on a particular topic. Some of these news groups get hardly any traffic, while others are very, very busy. There are really cool, useful and perfectly moral newsgroups such as alt.crafts.blacksmithing, sci.engr.joining.welding or comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html. There are also morally questionable groups that contain software such as alt.binaries.warez, alt.binaries.warez.ibm-pc, or alt.binaries.multimedia.utilities; and groups that contain adult material such as alt.binaries.multimedia.erotica alt.binaries.pictures.erotica or alt.binaries.ijsklontje.
It is likely that your ISP is running news servers which you have access to for free; however, they are probably only carrying the newsgroups that don’t tend to have all of the attached photos, media and software in them. The reason is simple. The more attachments there are, the more data has to be stored. And your ISP doesn’t want to be the central repository of illegal content because it’s expensive to maintain the massive databases.
For this reason you will have to subscribe to a News service provider such as GigaNews at a cost of between $7 – $20 per month. They also offer a free 3 day trials. You will also need News Reader software. Although Outlook and Outlook Express come with free news readers built in, most people turn to outside software for this task because of the huge feature differential. The most popular newsreader is Forte Agent, which also offers a free trial.
Once you have the software and a news service provider it’s as simple as doing a search to find just about anything your evil little heart desires. The following sites run services that catalog everything posted on Usenet and will direct you to immediately download the results:
Forte Inc. also maintains Agent’s Guide to Binaries for more information.
To finish up this article I’d just like to make a few comments.
- Please, I’m begging you not to lecture me about providing this information. I’ve posted articles on how to hack weak passwords, how to make cocaine, and how to make crack. I don’t do these things, and the criminals already know how! I’m providing the information so that regular honest people at least know what the heck is going on and how it’s being done.
- Don’t do anything that goes against your personal belief system. That means don’t murder people, steal stuff, hurt puppys, or be mean. If you do any of these things it is on you – not me! If you buy a kitchen knife and use it to carve up a human it doesn’t mean the person who made the knife is evil.
- There is such a thing as white hat, or “ethical”, hacking. Ethical hackers often uncover exploits in systems and then publish the information for the general public in order to draw attention and close security loop holes which otherwise would remain open. I consider providing this information the same thing. Like I said, it’s nothing the criminals don’t already know.
In summary, I’m just the reporter.