A young Argentinian hacker, known only by his sobriquet Ch Russo, claims to have successfully slipped past The Pirate Bay's defenses, gaining access to the torrent site's administrative control panel. An SQL injection vulnerability discovered by Ch Russo and a couple of his chums exposed the site's user database, which is said to contain account information belonging to around 4 million users. However, the hacker denies altering or deleting information.
The trio also resisted the temptation of selling the data to the companies assisting the entertainment industry in its fight against piracy. “Probably these groups would be very interested in this information, but we are not [trying] to sell it,” Russo told security blog KrebsOnSecurity in a phone interview. “Instead we wanted to tell people that their information may not be so well protected.”
If the ongoing legal offensive against 5,000 Hurt Locker downloaders is meant to serve as a deterrent, the makers of the film have made little headway. According to torrent-centric site TorrentFreak, the mass litigation tactic hasn't deterred people from downloading the film. The film even figured on the list of the 25 most downloaded movie torrents during the month of June with around 200,000 downloads. The site further revealed that nearly a quarter of all those downloads originated in the US.
The producers of the movie are backed by a company called the U.S. Copyright Group, which is overseeing similar efforts on part of other film makers. Despite efforts to justify such litigiousness as an effective deterrent against piracy, there are many who believe it is nothing more than a witch-hunt triggered at extorting large sums from the downloaders.
Another popular torrent search engine finds itself staring down the barrel. A U.S District judge has ordered IsoHunt to remove all unauthorized content. The order is not merely restricted to the removal of infringing dot-torrent files, though, but further requires that IsoHunt limit the scope of its search function to only legal content “using or based on infringement-related terms.”
However, IsoHunt owner Gary Fung believes a keyword-based filtering system will render the search engine useless. “Filtering against keywords. It amounts to nothing less than taking down our search engine,” Fung told Wired in a telephone interview. He contends that by banning certain keywords altogether would make it difficult for the search engine to display even legal content.
The court has asked IsoHunt to purge the site of all unauthorized content within 14 days of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) furnishing it with a list of all such content.
It's been a busy week for BitTorrents! I've showed you how to download them, how to tweak the heck out of a great program you can use to download them, and how to remotely access your BitTorrent downloads through Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. You, young padawan, are now fully grounded in the ways of the torrent. But you are no Jedi yet...
The final task that awaits you isn't so much related to the act of downloading information via BitTorrent as it is contributing to the cloud of data that you're usually pulling from. Yes, that's right. You're going to learn how to make your own .torrent file for distribution via your tracker of choice. While I realize there's a handy feature in uTorrent that allows you do this rather effortlessly, you're limited to working on one torrent at a time via this method. What if you want to make a whole bunch of .torrent files corresponding to a larger number of files you want to make available for download?
In that case, you're going to need the Download of the Week: MakeTorrent. Click the jump to see how it works!
Unlike its companion addon for Firefox, the Chrome Extension uTorrent for Google Chrome doesn't actually give you any way to remotely add a torrent to a uTorrent client that's running on a different, Web-connected system. That's kind of funny, considering that the uTorrent Firefox addon doesn't give you a way to control what's actually being downloaded by the remote system--Google Chrome's extension does.
It's a weird mish-mash of features, but it doesn't mean that uTorrent for Google Chrome is any less valuable of an addon for your daily browsing. If you're a BitTorrent junkie, you'll find this addon to be a considerable upgrade from the experience of having to load the default uTorrent Web UI every time you want to check on (or edit) your downloads.
Web UI... remote BitTorrent... this might be a bit over your head. Let's back out for a second and take a more general look at what this extension actually does after the jump!
Keeping with my uTorrent/BitTorrent theme this week, it only makes sense to show you how you can go about pulling .torrent files through the Firefox browser. But wait, you say! What am I talking about? Clicking on a .torrent link allows you to open it right up in your client of choice (I'll assume uTorrent for the sake of this post), and that, in turn, slots said file (or magnet link) into the application and begins the download.
Why would you need a fancy addon to do that?
Good point. In fact, you don't need an add-on in Firefox to load torrent files. Where an addon becomes handy is when you're using Firefox from a different computer and would like to somehow get a .torrent file you've found onto the download queue of a different machine. Think it's a strange setup? It's not that uncommon: perhaps you've left your PC on at home to make best use of its super-speedy landline connection, yet you're browsing around various BitTorrent sites at work, in a coffee shop, or in your car.
I guess you could email the .torrent file to yourself and queue it up later. That's lame, especially when a little addon called BitTorrent WebUI is ready to do all the work for you! Find out how after the jump.
I don't care what you use BitTorrent for. I don't even want to know. What you download is your own business. That said, don't even think about coming in the comments with a "omg check out this awesome freeware Pirate Bay scanning app it helped me download all the copies of My Little Pony in like no time whatsoever." Not cool.
Now that the semi-useful disclaimer is out of the way, let's get down to business. There's no denying that BitTorrent is a powerful tool for downloading (legal) files of all kinds. It can run faster than a straight one-to-one transfer from a Web site and, more importantly, it allows you to preserve files online when you would otherwise have no direct way to host them.
That sounds a little weird, so hear me out: Suppose you have an awesome recording of you playing piano in eight grade and you want everyone to hear it, only you don't really have access to a direct host for these files. Nor do you want your files to be dependent on a Web host that could theoretically go down at any time. No worries--just find a place to stash a .torrent link to your information and let everyone connect (and subsequently share) your information with the world. Your files will live in perpetuity provided others are as willing to share your data as you.
Got it? Good. Now click the jump and check out five different ways to take your downloading to the next level... with a particular emphasis on one of the best BitTorrent clients around, uTorrent!
With the rise of popular streaming services such as Hulu, many would probably speculate that BitTorrent usage would be on the decline, but according to the folks over at TorrentFreak, nothing could be further from the truth. Nearly doubling its 28 million a year user base to 52 million, uTorrent usage is continuing to rise with no end in sight. “In addition to this, at the start of this year we saw almost 5 million monthly users of BitTorrent Mainline,” said Simon Morris, BitTorrents VP of Product Management. “In November 2009 we saw over 10 million”. “We see no evidence whatever that BitTorrent clients are any less popular”.
It seems pretty obvious that the legal woes of The Pirate Bay, Mininova, and others have done little to stem the tide of torrent adoption, and unless things change drastically, its hard to figure out what will. The uTorrent development team has several major improvements planned over the next 12 months, and hope to add options to increase file security, and even the ability for torrent site owners to promote their own content from within the client.
I’m sure all 52 million users are downloading the latest Linux build right? I had no idea it was becoming that popular! If you would like to join me in leaping to conclusions, feel free to leave your comments after the jump.
The world of BitTorrent has turned all kinds of topsy turvy as of late. First the uber popular PirateBay sinks its tracker and urgers others to do the same, and in an equally surprising move, Mininova says its going completely legit. Can you believe it?
"Today is an important day in the history of Mininova," the site admins wrote in a blog. "From now on, we are limiting Mininova.org to our Content Distribution service. By doing so, we comply with the ruling of the Court of Utrecht of last August."
Mininova's Content Distribution service was actually launched back in 2007, but the commitment to go legit came only after a judge last summer ordered the site to remove all copyright infringing links within the next three month. If it didn't comply, Mininova would have faced up to $7.5 million in fines.
Interestingly, Mininova's commitment could be short lived. The site's admins said they're "still considering an appeal at this moment."
It's been a wild and crazy six year run for the The Pirate Bay, the world's most popular torrent tracking site, but by all accounts, it looks as though TPB's founders are finally ready to quit sailing through legal waters and have decided to bring the torrent tracker to port.
"Now that the decentralized system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker anymore, so it will remain down! It's the end of an era, but the era is no longer up2date. We have put a server in a museum already, and now the tracking can be put there as well," the ever-defiant Pirate Bay bandits wrote in a blog entry.
At its peak, TPB helped coordinate the downloads of more than 25 million peers, but it's no secret that many of those were illicit downloads for everything from pirated movies and television shows, to cracked videogames and closed-source operating systems, particularly Windows. Earlier this year, TPB's legal troubles culminated in a high profile court case in which a Swedish judge ultimately sentenced the torrent tracking site's four founders to a year in jail and ordered them to pay 30 million krono ($3.6 million) to a handful of entertainment companies.
Hit the jump to find out what TPB's founders are up to next.