Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We Know What You Downloaded From BitTorrent

Everybody knows BitTorrent is not anonymous. But a new website that publicly keeps track of everything downloaded from specific IP addresses could spell trouble for the scores of people who download copyrighted music and movies from the Torrent network.

The site keeps a huge database of millions of IP addresses and the many million files downloaded from these addresses. The site claims that it track about 20 percent of all public BitTorrent downloads. People who visit the site are immediately shown their download history if their IP address is on record. In addition, they can also search for files or IP-addresses to find out who’s downloading what. To date, Youhavedownloaded has a database of more than 52,902,000 users and 113,200 torrents that made up 1,955,000 files.


Obviously, for those who have dynamic IP-addresses the service is going to show content that someone else has downloaded. Also, many homes and businesses use routers that employ network address translation (NAT), which can hide multiple users behind a single public IP address, so that a single address listed in the database may reflect file-sharing activity of multiple different users.

“We don't bother ourselves to separate dynamic IPs”, said Suren Ter, one of the site’s founders. “The site is just for show. However we have time-stamps. might be a dynamic IP - however it belonged to a certain person at 12:12am 12/12/2011. Besides DHT allows us to get a user's machine fingerprint.”

The site was built as a proof-of-concept to make people aware of the public nature of BitTorrent downloads. From the website’s privacy policy:

Baby, this is the Internet. There is no such a thing as privacy around here. You are sitting in the privacy of your own house, clicking links, reading stuff, watching movies — it seems like you are pretty much alone. But smart nerds are watching you. They watch your every move. You are not human to them. You are a target — a consumer. And, most importantly — a potential consumer!
This magic word opens a hunt on you.

It sure has been a wakeup call for many. Suren Ter said he’s received an email from one guy who claimed he downloaded stuff only because his grandmother was ill and he wanted to watch a Harold & Kumar movie to cheer himself up. Another kid wrote requested him to have his information removed because he was downloading porn and was afraid his parents would find out.

Forward this site to your friends you know to download from BitTorrent and find out their reaction.

[via Torrentfreak and Krebsonsecurity]


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