Group-IB found that in 2020, pirates learned how to quickly track links to content removed using the anti-piracy memorandum and automatically generate new duplicates.
The memorandum was signed in 2018 by the copyright holders and search engines Yandex, Mail.ru Group and Rambler. Since its signing, Yandex has removed more than 15 million pirated links from search results, including 6 million in three months of 2021. Yandex accounts for 90% of the traffic of pirated online cinemas, according to Group-IB. The company's experts found that out of 7.3 thousand pirated resources (online cinemas and torrent trackers) included in the memorandum, 3.6 thousand domains still appear in search results, and out of 6 million deleted links to pirated content, 1, 1 million are still available to viewers. To bypass blocking and stay in search results, cybercriminals use changing URL links, change the “highlighted” domain to a domain of the third and deeper levels, or combine both of these methods in “mutating links”.
New ways of circumventing the memorandum carry risks for the industry of legal distribution of video content, warns Deputy CEO of Group-IB for protection against digital risks Andrei Busargin. “If the existing version of the memorandum is used as a bill, it will retain loopholes for the pirate business, which can be used to further spread pirate through the Yandex search engine,” he said.
According to the company's experts, in order to solve the problem, it is necessary to create a “pirate filter” mechanism, which, by recording a certain number of suspicious duplicate links, does not allow a pirated domain into organic search results and slows down the indexing of its new pages. In addition, it is possible to restrict the work of the “fast robot” “Yandex”, which today finds new pages minutes after their appearance on the portal, and often they immediately appear in the first positions in the search results. For example, Google's suspicious links do not appear in the first lines of organic search results, but are at the end of the list, which reduces the potential damage from pirated content, explains Mr. Busargin.