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Do you use P2P without blacklisting? Big risks



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Do you use P2P without blacklisting? Big risks


PeerGuardian, the Phoenix Labs little program designed to keep IP addresses known to be in the pay of RIAA, MPAA and similar organizations dedicated to “sharer hunting” out of the door of the PC, is much more than useful during sessions with your own client. Preferred P2P: is essential .

This at least is what can be deduced from the reading of a recent research conducted in the university, which has “tested” the actual usefulness of IP blacklists typical of software such as the aforementioned PeerGuardian.

The study is the work of three researchers from the University of California, Riverside, curious to verify the percentage of chance that a file sharing user can end up straight into the jaws of “fake users” , fictitious peers with which MediaDefender-like organizations flood the network with the sole purpose of collecting the IPs of the sharers of a particular file or content. The result of the scholars’ work is a PDF with a rather eloquent title: “P2P: Is Big Brother Watching You?”.

Using a client specially modified for the purpose, the three undergraduates collected and analyzed more than 100 Gigabytes of TCP headers in early 2006. After 90 days of tracking and cataloging, the study revealed a reality well known to P2P users but up to now never analyzed with analytical criteria: without the use of a blacklist and IP filtering software, the possibility of being tracked is practically automatic . 12-17% of all peers in the network used in the experiment were found to belong to the lists of banned addresses, and without a protective tool the exchange of information with such bogus peers is a certainty.

Using the aforementioned tools instead, the chances of being cataloged and caught drop drastically: according to the researchers, avoiding connections to the top list of 5 blocked IPs is enough to reduce the aforementioned possibilities from 100% to 1% . And that the IPs of the lists tested during the study belong to the companies to which they are attributed appears at least probable, considering that the vast majority of them are not resolved normally by DNS queries. In short, the media defenders of the network tend to disguise their tracks while doing the dirty work.

Different speech instead for the absolute guarantee of the traceability of the addresses to the companies specialized in fake: for that, scholars argue, it would be necessary to produce a specific study. In favor of blacklists they play the efforts employed by P2P supporters to bring them together over time , and the fact that the filters still prove to be active and block the ranges of offending addresses, even if not only those. In the absence of more reliable data, for sharing aficionados it is already a good result.

Alfonso Maruccia