Attackers Can ‘Steal’ Bandwidth From BitTorrent Seeders, Research Finds

swarmBitTorrent is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to share large files over the Internet. The popular file-sharing protocol is used by dozens of millions of people every day and accounts for a substantial amount of total Internet traffic.

This popularity makes BitTorrent an interesting target for attacks, which various anti-piracy companies have shown in the past. One of these possible attacks was recently unveiled by Florian Adamsky, researcher at the City University London.

In an article published in “Computers & Security” Adamsky and his colleagues reveal an exploit which allows attackers to get a higher download rate from seeders than other people.

In technical terms, the exploit misuses BitTorrent’s choking mechanism of clients that use the “Allowed Fast” extension. Attackers can use this to keep a permanent connection with seeders, requesting the same pieces over and over.

The vulnerability was extensively tested in swarms of various sizes and the researchers found that three malicious peers can already slow download times up to 414.99%. When the number of attackers is greater compared to the number of seeders, the worse the effect becomes.

The impact of the attack further depends on the download clients being used by the seeders in the swarm. The mainline BitTorrent clients and uTorrent are not vulnerable for example, while Vuze, Transmission and Libtorrent-based clients are.

TorrentFreak spoke with Adamsky who predicts that similar results are possible in real swarms. Even very large swarms of more than 1,000 seeders could be affected through a botnet, although it’s hard to predict the precise impact.

“If an attacker uses a botnet to attack the swarm, I think it would be possible to increase the average download time of all peers [of swarms with 1,000 seeders] up to three times,” Adamsky tells us.

“If most of the clients would have a vulnerable client like Vuze or Transmission it would be possible to increase the average download time up ten times,” he adds.

In their paper the researchers suggest a relatively easy fix to the problem, through an update of the “Allowed Fast” extension. In addition, they also propose a new seeding algorithm that is less prone to these and other bandwidth attacks.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 08/18/14

maleThis week we have four newcomers in our chart.

Maleficent is the most downloaded movie this week.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (…) Maleficent 7.4 / trailer
2 (1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier 8.1 / trailer
3 (2) Divergent 7.2 / trailer
4 (…) X-Men: Days of Future Past (HDrip/TS) 8.4 / trailer
5 (4) 22 Jump Street (TS) 7.8 / trailer
6 (3) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 7.4 / trailer
7 (…) Brick Mansions 5.8 / trailer
8 (6) The Expendables 3 (DVDscr) ?.? / trailer
9 (…) Godzilla (Webrip) 7.1 / trailer
10 (5) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (TS) 8.3 / trailer

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde Shouldn’t Be in Jail, MEP Says

peter-sundeMore than two months have passed since former Pirate Bay spokesman and co-founder Peter Sunde was arrested on a farm in Sweden by a specialist police unit.

Sunde was transferred to Västervik Norra, the high security prison facility where he is serving the eight-month jail sentence that was handed down in 2012.

Despite the sentencing Sunde has always maintained his innocence. He utilized all legal means at his disposal to fight back, and emphasized that his role in The Pirate Bay didn’t warrant being branded a criminal.

This view is shared by many people including Julia Reda, the new Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Pirate Party. Reda will be visiting Sunde in prison later today to send her support, and points out that he shouldn’t be there in the first place.

“I am visiting Peter Sunde in prison today to express my support. The unnecessarily harsh sentence he was given illustrates that our justice system has completely lost touch with digital culture,” Reda says.

“The tactic of draconian deterrence against file sharing has failed!” she adds.

During her visit the MEP also plans to ask Sunde about his conditions. The Pirate Bay founder previously requested a transfer to a lower security facility as he was losing weight and coping with psychological issues due to his circumstances.

Sunde’s sentencing is a result of a failed witch hunt against online piracy, Reda argues. Instead of embracing those who explore new technologies and business models, authorities have wrongly opted to crack down on people such as Sunde.

The MEP believes that the focus should be on deterrence, with authorities doing more to encourage and assist content creators to develop business models that can compete with piracy.

Reda notes that several founders of file-sharing services have become successful entrepreneurs. The developers behind Kazaa later brought Skype and Rdio, and Napster’s Sean Parker served as the first president of Facebook.

Sunde is also a digital pioneer, and actively involved in several startups including the micro-donation service Flattr and the encrypted chat application Heml.is. His contributions to these projects have been halted now, which is not the right way to go according to the MEP.

“I am saddened by the fact that Sweden has chosen to jail this digital pioneer in an attempt to make an example of him,” she says.

We hope to have more details of the MEP’s visit and Sunde’s outlook on the future later this week.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Torrents, file-sharing and p2p revealed