First Mega search engine online, won't be the last - gHacks Tech News

First Mega search engine online, won't be the last

Mega, the new Megaupload file hosting site, has received a lot of attention from the press in the recent year ever since Megaupload was taken down by the authorities. At its core, it is a file hosting site like many others with the main difference that files get encrypted and decrypted on the local system so that Mega does not know what is hosted on its servers.

Most file hosting sites do not offer file search capabilities that let users search all publicly shared files on their servers, and even if Mega wanted, it could not offer that feature because of the encryption. This leaves third party sites for that and one of the first has just been been released.

Mega Search displays a list of files right on its start page. Each file is listed with its name, size, hits, ratio, date it has been added to the search engine's database and up and down votes. The database seems to contain more than 7800 files right now which is not a lot considering that search engines for other file hosting sites offer hundreds of thousands of links to files hosted on these sites.

mega search engine screenshot

Still, for a relatively new service it is definitely a large enough number. When you look at the files offered on the start page, you will notice that many seem to be of questionable origin. From popular TV show episodes to music and applications, it is all listed here. Category listings on the left allow you to filter results by type. This includes videos, music, applications or disk images.

A click on a file opens the Mega website from where the file can be downloaded to the local system or imported into another Mega account.

The search engine furthermore offers capabilities to add links to it and to report infringement. If you'd go by that, a lot of files would probably have to be taken down immediately.

How long will the search engine be up? That depends on a number of factors, including the country it is hosted in and the legal system of that country. Some file search engines have been online for a long time and since they only link to contents but do not host any directly, it is possible that there are no legal grounds to get the site removed from the Internet.

It could be more problematic for Mega on the other hand as it could provide rights owners with evidence that the site is being used to trade copyrighted files.

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Comments

  1. Pablo said on January 31, 2013 at 1:54 am
    Reply

    Are all files hosted on Mega encrypted or is it an option?
    If most or all files are indeed encrypted, then downloading them would be useless if you don’t also get the decryption key, right?

    P.S.: I think the spam filter ate my comment on the “Display back and forward buttons all the time in Firefox” article, probably because I included a couple of links in it.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 31, 2013 at 9:20 am
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      Pablo encryption is not an issue if files are shared by the original uploader.

  2. Jeff said on January 31, 2013 at 3:32 am
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    It seems that Mega’s claims are contradicted by reality. If a search engine can identify the details of files that it stores, how can it be true that the files are effectively encrypted? If Mega “does not know what is hosted on its servers,” it is apparently only because they have not tried to know. The access of the search engines to the file info seems like it removes Mega’s only real defense against being taken down again: a situation where Mega “can not know.” I’d like to know if you think I’m missing something here.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 31, 2013 at 9:04 am
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      Jeff, the most likely explanation is that users who upload those files report them to the site so that they are listed in the search engine.

      1. Jeff said on January 31, 2013 at 10:43 am
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        When you said “report them to the site,” did you mean “report them to the search engine?” If not, I wonder what you did mean. I ask because “reporting them to the search engine” could work if Mega uses a system similar to Dropbox. If I upload a file to Dropbox, it is assigned a URL that I can disseminate to anyone that I want to view the files. If files uploaded to Mega are given similar treatment, those links could be reported to search engines by users. Otherwise, I can’t see how the search engine could provide links to the files.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 31, 2013 at 10:51 am
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        Jeff yes that is what I meant. The uploader shares the file link with the site, that is what I meant.

    2. jmjsquared said on January 31, 2013 at 7:16 pm
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      Mega has not claimed that files will be “invisible” on their servers, only that the CONTENTS will be encrypted, ergo “confidential”. For example, one could name a file “Classified: Top Secret Data” but it actually contains a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. These indexing sites only have access to generic information, i.e., file name, size, format…

      If someone posts/shares a file, legally or illegally, and names it something that gives probable cause TO SUSPECT its contents are infringing, then they are stupid and expose themselves to legal action. Mega MAY have some legal obligation to review what is ALLEGED to be on its servers and take some action, if there is an APPARENT infringement.

      What Mega has actually done is to enable users to upload ANY content, legal or otherwise, and keep that content “secret”. If someone is stupid enough to upload illegal content and then advertise that fact by identifying the illegal content, by-name (movie/song title, app name/version, etc.) that does NOT mean Mega has not delivered as promised.

  3. Alec Burgess said on January 31, 2013 at 6:14 am
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    @Martin – is this still working for you?
    I tried 5 or 6 and all returned:
    > The file you are trying to download is no longer available.
    This could be due to the following reasons:
    The file has been removed because of a ToS/AUP violation.
    Invalid URL – the link you are trying to access does not exist
    The file has been deleted by the user.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 31, 2013 at 8:54 am
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      Recent listings still seem to work while others do not anymore. Maybe someone is reporting them in bulk to Mega for removal.

  4. wwooooo said on January 31, 2013 at 6:46 am
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    mega-search.me all links are broken “”The file you are trying to download is no longer available.””??????

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 31, 2013 at 8:52 am
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      Most files I tested were still available. I just checked again and some are not available anymore, but others still are.

  5. Krishna said on January 31, 2013 at 9:08 am
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    I tried 8 files. All 8 files are no longer available. It says:

    The file you are trying to download is no longer available.
    This could be due to the following reasons:
    The file has been removed because of a ToS/AUP violation.
    Invalid URL – the link you are trying to access does not exist
    The file has been deleted by the user.

  6. Nitrox said on January 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm
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    Just be careful when visiting the site because http://www.mega-search.me is pointed to domain parking site where as http://mega-search.me/ is the actual site.

  7. Coyote said on January 31, 2013 at 4:56 pm
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    I suppose this does add a layer of deniability that Mega isn’t responsible for. By having the user share the link on a 3rd party site mega can claim no control over what their users store. By claiming everything is encrypted from the user to the download then Mega can’t know what files are being shared. On the other hand they should know, as with any file sharing site, they would still be targeted by law enforcement and will need to invest in shutting these sites down themselves unless they want to be held for facilitating these claimed copyright violations.

  8. jimbo said on January 31, 2013 at 7:06 pm
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    “Due to a script developed by Mega to delete all files indexed Mega-search, the engine is temporarily unavailable. A solution to overcome this problem will be made shortly” !

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 31, 2013 at 7:09 pm
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      Why would they delete all files? I mean, while there are certainly files listed there that fall under copyright law, others are not and should not be removed.

      1. jmjsquared said on January 31, 2013 at 7:24 pm
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        I’ll bet the actual files were NOT deleted, rather Mega (wisely) developed a script to keep Mega-search.me crawlers from scraping Mega’s site.

  9. UltraMono Mugen said on November 16, 2015 at 4:59 am
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    Mega does not have a right to remove files as violation so everyone can live with it

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