Pirate download links on South African laboratory website may be an inside job

A preliminary investigation by the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) suggests an “inside person” may have been involved in the hosting of over 3,700 pirated video game download links on its website.

MyBroadband was recently alerted to the game download links on a domain belonging to the NHLS – a public health laboratory service founded in 2001.

The institution’s website features research publications, medical news, and diagnostic services information.

A sub-directory named “gm” within the website’s assets directory was discovered following a tip-off, which held thousands of links to pirated video games.

Each page within the directory contained the name of a cracked PC game and a “Download Now” button, which redirected users to a now-inaccessible Russian domain.

The pages had existed on the NHLS domain for a number of years, with many dating back to 2014 and 2015.

The directory was publicly-accessible and indexed by Google, although it was removed by the NHLS following MyBroadband alerting it to the issue.

Inside job

A spokesperson for the NHLS told MyBroadband the organisation was not aware of the hidden directory.

“The NHLS was not aware that its domain was hosting the download links. The pages were hidden in an unlisted directory, hence the website content managers did not notice the existence of such links,” said an NHLS spokesperson.

The institution is conducting an investigation into the hidden directory, and it appears someone inside the NHLS may have involved in its creation.

“Preliminary investigations suggest this could have been the work of an inside person at the NHLS.”

When asked how the organisation would proceed with its database management and website security, it said it is migrating its website to a new server.

“The website is not hosted inside the NHLS network, it is hosted at a service provider.”

“The NHLS is in the process of migrating its website to a new server, and security and content reviews are conducted on a regular basis.”

Now read: Major ISP piracy crackdown ordered in Australia

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Pirate download links on South African laboratory website may be an inside job