Pirate CDNs Shutting Down En Masse Thanks to ACE, MPA, and BREIN

By Bill Toulas / October 25, 2019

According to a report by TorrentFreak, the Moonwalk Content Delivery Network (CDN) has been taken down by coordinated action of the BREIN, ACE, and the MPA. Moonwalk was serving more than 80% of pirate streaming sites based in Russia, so this was a big blow for piracy in this country. Moonwalk hosted 28,258 movies and 14,549 TV shows, distributing this galore of content spatially over hundreds of websites, and millions of users. The websites that offered a channel for the content to reach the end-user were doing it via an embedded media player.

Moonwalk paid the websites $0.60 per 1,000 views, while it won its own earnings via advertisements that were displayed on the embedded video players. To get an idea about the size of the scheme, the top 50 websites served by Moonwalk counted 90 million unique visitors each month, and approximately 400 million visits. The losses from this piracy-battling action are millions of dollars. This was a big operation that was in the crosshair of BREIN for quite a while now, who has stated that Moonwalk will never be up again.

Moonwalk was a big fish in the pond, but it wasn’t the only one. The Kodik CDN that used part of the Moonwalk’s technical infrastructure was also brought down, as a result, losing 8,000 TV shows in the process. Another case of a major CDN shutdown is that of the HDGO, which could also have a direct connection to Moonwalk, although this cannot be determined yet. All that said, many Russian pirating platforms have either nothing to offer right now or have had their collection size significantly reduced. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone was affected, as there are at least another ten major CDNs to deal with.

According to Group-IB analysts, CDNs such as the HDVB, Collaps, and VideoCDN are still up and running, and the shutting down of other major players is most likely going to create a market gap for more services to try and fill. Setting up a CDN isn’t as easy or as cheap as setting up a pirate website of course, but still, as long as there’s a demand there will be someone to cover it. Group-IB considers the global disruption from the recent shutdowns to be of the magnitude of 5% to 10%, which is definitely a considerable yet manageable blow for piracy.

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