It seems like the prolonged downtime and technical difficulties faced by The Pirate Bay over the past several weeks were due to a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the widely-popular torrent website by malicious actors.
For those unaware, The Pirate Bay was down for more than a week with most visitors displayed a Cloudflare error mentioning that a "bad gateway" is causing problems, while others served with a "database maintenance" message prompting users to check back in 10 minutes.
Though the site's moderators did not reveal any details regarding the Pirate Bay downtime, a reputable source with a direct link with the operators told Torrent Freak that the recent Pirate Bay downtime issues "were likely caused by malicious actors who DDoSed the site's search engine with specially crafted search queries."
The attacker(s) flooded The Pirate Bay with "searches that break the Sphinx search daemon," effectively crashing the torrent download website, making site visitors unable to download magnet links or torrent files.
Sphinx is an open source full-text search engine, and The Pirate Bay reportedly used an older version of the software.
According to the source, The Pirate Bay has since updated Sphinx to the newer version of the software, which has resolved the crash issues, though the free torrent download site is still returning errors in some regions.
> "Due to the high volume of malicious search queries, it wasn't possible to log the errors and send a bug report, which complicated matters."
It is still not clear who targeted The Pirate Bay and what was the motive of attackers behind it. The staffer or moderators have not yet spoken anything about the incident.
The Pirate Bay is one of the most popular and most visited file-sharing websites predominantly used to share copyrighted material free of charge, allowing users to download software, movies, music, and TV shows for free.
The Pirate Bay is usually in the news for copyright infringement by movie studios, music producers, and software creators, due to which many ISPs across several countries block the free torrent download website.
However, users can still access The Pirate Bay using piratebay proxies or a secure VPN service. But, it should be noted that piratebay proxies would not help much to maintain anonymity, and also, many of these sites and mirrors include malicious copycats.
The Hacker News always advises its readers to avoid illegal ways to download movies for free. Instead, it would be best if you use free movie streaming sites or Netflix, like streaming services to watch your favorite movies online.