“9anime.to” Abused Website Visitors to DDoS Competing Platform

Written by Bill Toulas
Published on October 14, 2020

Pirate anime platform “9anime.to” has exploited its millions of visitors to launch DDoS attacks against a rival site, demonstrating once again that crooks cannot be trusted on any level. The particular platform enjoys roughly 39 million visitors per month, so its administrators have great power in their hands.

According to reports by TorrentFreak, the 9anime.to operators were angry with AniMixPlay.to because the latter was straight-out stealing its content. As a result, the competitors enjoyed massive popularity all of a sudden, which was happening on the back of 9anime.to.

What they thought of doing against them was to DDoS their site, and what better choice than to use visitor connections to do that instead of paying hackers. In fact, 9anime says they were inspired to DDoS AniMixPlay, because the "content thieves" used a large number of requests to scan their site 24/7, searching and listing all their content. This aggressive crawling feels like being DDoSed in a sense, so they just returned that action.

So, 9anime served a JavaScript snippet across all its pages, which basically uses the visitors’ connection to flood AniMixPlay servers, and the first signs of this became apparent in the form of slowdowns and service outages on the target. The size of the swarm is unknown, but it should be in the tens of thousands. 9anime stated that they would stop the retaliative action as soon as the AniMixPlay stops looting the content database they spent years to build.

The operator of 9anime says they had no other choice, as AniMixPlay uses a CloudFlare worker feature to hide its real IP, so they can’t blacklist their crawlers and be done with them. Moreover, turning on Captcha would add an inconvenience to their “legitimate” users.

Still, the platform received harsh criticism for using their visitors’ connection without asking for their consent and without even bothering to inform them of the fact. After all, 9anime.to is a pirate site that loots artists and publishers’ creations, so it is not like they own the content they complain about. They are making money by offering content illegally, and their problem is that the same content is now copied from them and offered by other crooks to the same audience for the same purpose.

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