Ruh-roh Shaggy, peer-to-peer file sharing just became a little more dangerous. Hackers up to no good (and no, those two don't always go hand-in-hand) set their sights on BitTorrent.com and uTorrent.com, sneaking in the back and replacing legitimate downloads with tainted copies brimming with malware.
Pirate Bay co-founder has other things on his mind than jail time and multi-million dollar fines. Rather than worry about such trivial matters, Sunde has taken to championing a new, uncensored Internet, one that takes the general concept of BitTorrent and applys it to Domain Name System (DNS) lookups.
"By using existing technology for de-centralization together with already having a crew with skilled programmers, communicators, and network specialists, an alternative system is not far away," Sunde wrote in a blog. "We're not going to re-invent the wheel, we're going to build an existing technology as much as possible."
The way it works now, DNS is tasked with translating a site name, like maximumpc.com, with a string of numbers that represent the domain's actual address on the Web, one that computers can read. You can think of it as a telephone number, and ICANN holds the phone book via over a dozen PCs called "Root Servers." These servers contain the IP addresses of all the Top Level Domains (TLDs).
What Sunde wants to do is set up a P2P DNS system to take the place of these centralized root servers, the upshot being it would then be impossible for government agencies to block sites from being looked up.
The largest single BitTorrent suit to date doesn't belong to the MPAA or any of Hollywood's major film studios, and instead originates from Axel Braun Productions, a pornography outfit targeting 7,098 John Doe plantiffs, XBizNewswire.com reports.
Their sin? Illegally downloading and sharing "Batman XXX: A Porn Parody." For doing so, Axel Braun, acting as a one man wolf pack, has now waged war with anyone who pirates his porn and had some strong words to go along with the current lawsuit.
"F*** 'em all," Braun said. "People don't realize that when you pirate a movie it hurts all of the people who work very hard to get it produced -- from the cast to the production assistants to the makeup artists. These are people who live paycheck to paycheck, and with 'Batman XXX,' that was a film I financed myself. So we are going after every one of them who pirates our content."
After reading his comments, we can't shake the image of Butthead saying, "Heh, heh... Hey Beavis, he said 'work very hard.'" But we digress. The real point here is that Braun believes that going on a legal rampage against file sharers is a "new form of revenue for adult companies." Really? We suppose that would make him the Rambus of the adult film industry, only Rambus has never actually come out and said it so plainly.
The mega-billion entity known as Facebook has scooped up most of Drop.io's technology and assets, the file sharing firm announced in a blog post. Sam Lessin, the head of Drop.io and also a former Harvard student (just like Mark Zuckerberg), is making the move to Facebook as well.
"In the coming weeks, we'll be winding down the Drop.io service," the company said. "As of this week, people will no longer be able to create new free drops, but you'll be able to download content from existing drops until December 15. Paid user accounts will still be available through December 15 and paid users will be able to continue using the service normally. After December 15, paid accounts will be discontinued as well."
Drop.io is Facebook's eight acquisition this year and follows the social networking service's trend of snatching up companies primarily for the people involved.
"We have never once bought a company for the company. We buy companies for excellent people," Mark Zuckerberg said at this year's Startup School event at Stanford.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood effectively pulled the plug on LimeWire, issuing a permanent injunction against the company responsible for distributing the file-sharing software. According to Wood, the popular peer-to-peer application caused a "massive scale of infringement" by facilitating illegal file sharing of thousands of copyrighted works.
"While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward," a LimeWire spokesperson said in a statement. "We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future."
That may prove easier said than done. Citing un-named "music industry sources," CNet reports that LimeWire founder Mark Gorton has been trying to hammer out a settlement agreement with the RIAA for some time, at one time offering to license music from the top four record companies for Spoon, LimeWire's legal music service. However, Gorton wanted the music labels to agree to let LimeWire operate for a year (or more) while users migrate to Spoon, a notion that ultimately killed any potential deal.
"For the better part of the last decade, LimeWire and Gorton have violated the law," the RIAA said. "The court has now signed an injunction that will start to unwind the massive piracy machine that LimeWire and Gorton used to enrich themselves immensely."
Court ordered damages will be levied following a trial in January.
Jammie Thomas is running out of options. Found guilty in 2007 of copyright infringement and ordered to pay $220,000 for willfully making available 24 songs via peer-to-peer, she now owes a whopping $1.92 million following a retrial earlier this year. Surely the Department of Justice would step in and find the nearly $2 million fine unconstitutional, right?
Wrong. According to ArsTechnica, the huge of amount of damages (Thomas ended up owing $80,000 per song) were not intended just to apply to big corporations, but also to "deter the millions of users of new media from infringing copyrights." The only time the DOJ would have a problem with a fine is if it become "so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportional to the offense and obviously unreasonable," something for which a $1.92 million fine for sharing 24 songs doesn't qualify.
"We are pleased the Administration has filed a brief supporting our position," an RIAA spokesperson told ArsTechnica. "Its views are consistent with the views of every previous Administration that has weighed in on this issue."
The process begins when a message encrypted using Vanish is sent. The message can only be read until a pre-specified time is reached, after which the message can not be decrypted, as the encryption key is permanently “lost due to a set of both natural and programmed processes.”
Vanish works by shattering the encryption key and distributing the various fragments among computers on a peer-to-peer network – both parties holding the online conversation don’t possess the key. The pieces of the key begin to vanish due to the fact that “machines constantly join and leave the P2P network.” A prototype of the tool is now available. It supports timeouts of 8-9 hours, which simply means your messages will vanish without a trace after that time.
Do you do a lot of uploading? If so, chances are high it's of the the P2P variety, according to a new study. You'll have to take the research with a grain of salt, as the company who performed the study, Sandvine, is the same one that manufacturered the hardware for Comcast's now infamous intentional throttling.
Be that as it may, Sandvine reports that while P2P traffic accounts for 22 percent of downstream bandwidth, upstream remains much more busy at just over 61 percent. A distant second is web traffic, which only accounts for 17 percent of bandwidth used, according to the report.
"Bulk bandwidth applications like P2P are on all day, everyday and are unaffected by changes to network utilization," says Dave Caputo, Sandvine's co-founder. "This reinforces the importance of protecting real-time applications that are sensitive to jitter and latency during times of peak usage."
Do the numbers surprise you? Hit the jump and let us know.