Feeds

You'll be on a list 3 hrs after you start downloading from pirates - study

Bad news for seeders 'n' feeders...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

File sharers who download torrents from services such as The Pirate Bay can expect to find their IP address logged by copyright enforcers within three hours, according to a new study by computer scientists.

Researchers at the UK's University of Birmingham reached the finding at the end of a two-year study into how organisations are monitoring illegal file sharers.

They conclude that large scale monitoring of the most popular illegal downloads from The Pirate Bay has been taking place over the last three years. On average an illegal file sharer, using BitTorrent to download the most popular content, will be picked up and logged within three hours of starting a download. Downloads of more popular files tend to be picked up more quickly, as the paper explains.

Average time before monitors connect: 40% of the monitors that communicated with our clients made their initial connection within 3 hours of the client joining the swarm; the slowest monitor took 33 hours to make its first connection. The average time decreases for torrents appearing higher in the Top 100, implying that enforcement agencies allocate resources according to the popularity of the content they monitor.

"The monitors we detected don't actually collect any parts of the file from the alleged uploader, therefore the evidence of illegal file sharing collected by monitors may not stand up in court," Tom Chothia, one of the four researchers along with Marco Cova, Chris Novakovic and Camilo Gonzalez Toro, told El Reg.

"We found six very large scale monitors, however all of them where using third-party hosting companies. Therefore we can't be sure who they really were, or if they where monitoring for legal or for marketing purposes. We also found a further seven small scale monitors that included some security companies, hosting companies and a research lab," Chothia added.

Copyright holders carry out monitoring on file-sharing networks using two approaches: indirect monitoring, where the presence in of an IP address in a peer list of a tracker is logged, or direct monitoring, where attempts are made to download files from IP address listed in Torrent swarms are actually listed. The Birmingham researchers found that direct monitoring is happening but that indirect monitoring remains by far the most common technique applied by copyright enforcers.

A technical paper, The Unbearable Lightness of Monitoring: Direct Monitoring in BitTorrent, describing the Birmingham team's research can be found here (PDF).

The paper, more aimed at anti-piracy officers at ISPs and copyright enforcers than end-users, was presented at the SecureComm conference in Padua, Italy yesterday. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?