Z-Library Returns on the Clearnet in Full Hydra-Mode

Home > Piracy >

The U.S. Government's crackdown against Z-Library late last year aimed to wipe out the pirate library for good. The criminal prosecution caused disruption but didn't bring the site completely to its knees. Z-Library continued to operate on the dark web and this weekend, reappeared on the clearnet, offering a 'unique' domain name to all users.

By providing free access to millions of books, Z-Library became the go-to site for many readers in recent years.

Z-Library’s very existence was put to the test last November when U.S. law enforcement seized over 200 domain names connected to the site. Two alleged Z-Library operators from Russia were arrested in Argentina as part of a criminal investigation.

Down, Not Out

Despite the gravity of the criminal accusations and pending extraditions, Z-Library never went completely offline. The site continued to operate on the dark web, offering millions of pirated books and articles as it did before.

Z-Library’s resilience suggested that elements of the team remained operational. And indeed, a blog post published a few days after the crackdown suggested that the site has no intention of throwing in the towel.

“We believe the knowledge and cultural heritage of mankind should be accessible to all people around the world, regardless of their wealth, social status, nationality, citizenship, etc. This is the only purpose Z-Library is made for,” the platform announced.

The shadow library promised to take authors’ complaints seriously and asked for their forgiveness. Meanwhile, pirated books remained widely available and, behind the scenes, Z-Library was working on a full comeback.

Z-Library Returns in Hydra Mode

Z-Library’s resilience wasn’t just temporary grandstanding. In an unprecedented move, Z-Library announced its return to the publicly accessible web (clearnet) this weekend, with a technical setup that anticipates future enforcement action.

Sites can often be seen hardening their operations to mitigate disruption caused by domain name seizures. Many have a list of backup domains that can be deployed when needed; The Pirate Bay infamously launched its hydra setup consisting of five different domain names.

Z-Library is taking this hydra-inspired scheme to the next level. A new announcement reveals that the platform is publicly available once again and offering a unique and private domain name to every user.

“We have great news for you – Z-Library is back on the Clearnet again! To access it, follow this link singlelogin.me and use your regular login credentials,” the Z-Library team writes.

“After logging into your account, you will be redirected to your personal domain. Please keep your personal domain private! Don’t disclose your personal domain and don’t share the link to your domain, as it is protected with your own password and cannot be accessed by other users.”

Personal Domains

While we can’t confirm that all users will get unique domain names, people are indeed redirected to different clearnet domains after logging in. After doing so, a popup message reminds them to keep their personal domain secret.

The domain names in question are subdomains of newly registered TLDs that rely on different domain name registries. Every user has two of these ‘personal’ domains listed on their personal profile page.

If users can’t access the universal login page, Z-Library says they can log in through TOR or I2P and get their personal clearnet domains there.

Happy Users

Thus far, users of the site have responded positively to the comeback. The blog post announcement already has hundreds of comments, most featuring an outpouring of gratitude.

“Thank you so much, Z library has been an invaluable resource. I hail from a small village in India, and I could never afford to read these books had it not been for Z library,” one user writes.

“You helped me a lot during my engineering. I was not in [a] condition to buy new books. I have completed my engineering with the help of you. Thank You,” says another.

Future Enforcement

How many new domain names Z-Library has is unclear but that’s exactly the point. The site’s operators want to prevent future domain name seizures and with the U.S. Government on its back, new domains are far from safe.

At the same time, rightsholders will do everything in their power to disrupt Z-Library’s clearnet comeback. Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN previously informed us that in the event of a comeback, Z-Library domains could face blocking.

Whether this elaborate domain name hydra will be effective long-term remains to be seen. The authorities will undoubtedly be aware of some of the new domains already and OSINT tools may help to spot others.

However, the recent actions show that Z-Library is determined to keep the project online, for as long as it can.


Popular Posts
From 2 Years ago…