May 4, 2010
Untraceable Movie Nitpicking
I recently purchased and watched the movie Untraceable on Bluray. The basic plot is someone has setup a website (www.killwithme.com) which streams the live murder of a subject via some elaborate method. For example one victim bleeds to death due to injections of an anticoagulant. The catch is the more people that visit the site, the faster and more violent the death. When word of the site starts to spread, the site visits predictably start to number in the millions. Interestingly the website blocks IPs that don't originate in the U.S., requiring that the death is only contributed to by Americans.
The FBI agents investigating attempt to shut the site down, but every time they find the originating server, the site moves it's hosting to another IP, all of this, of course in countries outside of US Jurisdiction (China, Russia, etc). Presumably when this is done the website operator updates the DNS information such that www.killwithme.com will resolve to the new IP address.
So my question is why not exploit DNS to stop people from visiting the site? The FBI could go to IANA or whoever controls these things and have the 13 root DNS servers updated to resolve the domain to an FBI webserver? All the root servers are under "American control" and would most likely be able to comply. Or fail that, you could ask the countries largest ISPs (Comcast, AT&T, Roadrunner, Qwest, etc) to remove the entry from their DNS cache. That would probably keep a very large percentage of US citizens from being able to view the site.