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Entertainment Industry Ramps Up BitTorrent Snooping
Ahead of Expected Launch of 'Six Strikes' Initiative
by Karl Bode 02:47PM Friday Aug 31 2012
BayTSP and Peer Media, two of the largest companies hired by the entertainment industry to track BitTorrent pirates, have been ramping up their BitTorrent snooping efforts in recent months. The two companies' BitTorrent activities now account for more BitTorrent traffic than all of the customers at a smaller ISP like Sonic.net combined, notes Torrent Freak. The website posits that the spy agencies have ramped up their surveillance of BitTorrent trading since July as the United States begins to launch its new six strikes regime. As in years past that effort involves spying on Torrents, tracking IP addresses, and then having ISPs send nastygrams; though ISPs will now start using throttling, "education" efforts, and even disconnection for repeat copyright infringers. Those offenders will simply hide behind VPNs or BitTorrent proxy services like BTGuard and the game of Whac-a-Mole will continue...

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maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:3

2 recommendations

And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

The entertainment industry is slowly driving P2P activity to 100% encrypted traffic. Once it is there, it is going to be virtually impossible to track users, and once that happens it will also become much easier for users to break the law without being caught.

They are digging their own graves with this approach. The answer is not rigging everything with more DRM (which in my opinion is a MUCH more compelling reason to pirate than the money) so you can only play your legal movie on a limited number of devices.

I have no problem paying for movies. But I want to be able to play that movie on my TV, AND my iPhone while on a plane, AND on my laptop while in a hotel, AND on the backseat DVD player for the kids, AND on the Xbox in the bedroom. I pay for the movie, I want to be able to use it WITHIN my household any way I see fit.

Guess what, they only method that allows such a scenario.... is pirated materials, as they don't have restrictions and/or DRM. We live in a fluid, digital world these days, NOT in a world where we were restricted by physical media.

The entertainment industry should be offering movies in a digital format without DRM. DRM is cracked within hours after a movie/bluray release anyways, so why even bother?
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

Actually, from a technical standpoint, a VPN won't help here. A VPN only keeps your traffic safe while it's in transit, but it has to come out somewhere. For example, I can use my work VPN to connect to my work network via an encrypted tunnel, but that's a point to point connection. Bittorrent, by its nature, uses many connections to many places to get files, and those connections often change during the course of a download. Setting up multiple VPN connections like that is something that a normal VPN setup can't handle. Sure, you can automate that process with software, but that's something that has to be written, as I'm not sure if it exists right now.

Now, another way that VPNs may be used is between you and the tracker. Again, that will protect your data in transit, but it isn't going to help you much, since your IP address is still visible via the tracker. After all, it has to be, otherwise, clients couldn't find each other to share the files. And that's how these companies are getting file sharers' IP's--by monitoring the connections of sharing users. The only way to get around that is for the tracker to act as a middleman for the data, routing it to the correct Bittorrent clients while stripping out the originator's IP. Needless to say, the bandwidth requirements for something like that would be insane.

steve1515
Premium
join:2000-08-07
Peabody, MA

1 edit

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

I don't believe that is true. When you are on a VPN, the VPN server knows your real IP, but anything you connect to will not know your real IP. Instead, it will see the VPN server's IP address. All of your traffic goes to the VPN server first before going out to anything else. Also, anything coming in to you goes though the VPN server first before actually reaching your real IP via the tunnel.

If the VPN server providers don't keep logs or hand out information, then you can't be found.

Or course, this is the simplest case. I'm ignoring clever JavaScript and things like that when you browse the web.
Wilsdom

join:2009-08-06

3 edits
The point is to route your traffic through a 3rd party, which owns the IP visible to the swarm. If that 3rd part is run by responsible human beings and no logs are kept nothing you do online is traceable to your computer. The weak point is when the thugs with guns land their helicopters at the VPN's data center and steal its machines. But by then we are really at the point of politics by other means.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

said by Wilsdom:

The point is to route your traffic through a 3rd party, which owns the IP visible to the swarm. If that 3rd part is run by responsible human beings and no logs are kept nothing you do online is traceable to your computer. The weak point is when the thugs with guns land their helicopters at the VPN's data center and steal its machines. But by then we are really at the point of politics by other means.

Yeah, but most likely the VPN won't be in the USA (afterall, it's broadband speed customers need, not ~5ms ping times for gaming-- that comes after a successful download, lol).. the VPN companies will just have to be located in places where that is very, very unlikely AND have massive amounts of broadband.. Afterall, VPN servers aren't exactly public enemy #1 like BinLaden (yet)
Hmm.. are there many of those?!? Sweden USED to be a VPN haven.. not so sure these days.. with most of the target guns pointed at TPB (sweden).. and all torrent things Europe at the moment..

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

Everything and everyone has a price. The VPN services know what their connections are being used for. Don't think for a second that they won't become **AA lackeys for the sufficiently large enough price.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL
In response to steve1515 and Wilsdom, yes, a setup like that would work. The problem with it is that you'll need to have insane amounts of bandwidth and server capacity to do it. The thing that makes any kind of distributed system like Bittorrent work is a large number of clients--the more, the better, since it gives you more places to get the files. That's fine when everyone is providing their own connections, but now you have this huge VPN that has to route all those transfers, so it has to have enough bandwidth to do that. In fact, it'd need to have double the bandwidth of all the data flowing through it, since those bits are moving in and out at the same time.

And, if you can set that up, congratulations, you now have another Napster, with a central server that becomes one big target. Take it out, and all the connections go down. Or, better yet, hack it, and you suddenly have access to information about every incoming and outgoing connection.

steve1515
Premium
join:2000-08-07
Peabody, MA

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

I'll agree with that. Not sure how those BT VPN serviced can handle the load they have (or will have).
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

I think that they work now because no one has tried to scale them up to levels that could handle a significant percentage of the Bittorrent traffic. As traffic increases, either they'll have to purchase more bandwidth, or connections will start to slow down until the VPN's eventually become unusable.

Pirate515
Premium
join:2001-01-22
Brooklyn, NY
said by steve1515:

I'll agree with that. Not sure how those BT VPN services can handle the load they have (or will have).

Hopefully, the same way any other expanding business would. If more people start signing up with VPN services, the companies running them would be getting more revenue, which will allow them to purchase additional and/or more powerful equipment and more bandwidth.

What could be more problematic is getting such insane amounts of bandwidth to third-world countries to support this. Although as of right now logging may not be required in the US, Western Europe or the rest of the "civilized" world, my guess that as VPN popularity grows, it is only a matter of time before it will be. So running and/or using these services based out of the above-listed countries is pointless. They will need to be set up in third-world countries that do not have treaties with the above nor have any reason to cooperate. The trouble with these countries is that they are not they are way behind the times when it comes to broadband penetration compared to civilized world.
--
Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies...
A MESSAGE to the RIAA and the MPAA: You shouldn't wound what you can't kill...

Alakar
Facts do not cease to exist when ignored

join:2001-03-23
Milwaukee, WI
BT over a VPN works exactly like BT through your ISP. The only difference is that your "window to the world" is at the public end of your VPN instead of your ISP. As long as your VPN provider has enough bandwith, you will get full speeds while using it.

I use two VPN providers; StrongVPN and Private Internet Access.

Strong has got rock solid connections and I get my full bandwith. I use strong to stream BBC shows that are only available to UK residents. I connect to one of their servers in Manchester and get great speeds. Strong does log your IP and will provide that info if a legal request is made for it. They will also drop your account if someone complains about copyright violations.

Private Internet Access is what I use for BT. I get a full bandwith connection to the server closest to me, they don't keep any logs and use shared IP's. If presented with court order to turn over user info, there is no info to turn over.

As long as the VPN provider has enough bandwidth for the number of users, there is no slow down.
--
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom; it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." William Pitt the Younger
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
said by ISurfTooMuch:

That's fine when everyone is providing their own connections, but now you have this huge VPN that has to route all those transfers, so it has to have enough bandwidth to do that. In fact, it'd need to have double the bandwidth of all the data flowing through it, since those bits are moving in and out at the same time.

VPNs are like using a router.

Let's say that you only have one computer and it's connected directly to the modem. That modem can see the IP address of your computer, or any computer that you hook to it. Now let's say that you connect a router between the computer and the modem. Your modem can no longer see your computer's IP address, all it can see is the IP address of the router. Suppose your friend brings his laptop over and you let him connect to your WiFi. The modem has no idea that a different computer is using the connection, because it still only sees the IP address of the router. The router is hiding the IP addresses of the computers using it in the same way that a VPN service hides the IP addresses of the people who use it.

The major difference being that routers allow multiple computers to share a single IP address while VPNs assign a unique IP address to each user. However, the principle in the same.

Does your router need double the bandwidth for a single computer? No, it only needs as much bandwidth as is being used, up and down. VPNs also only need as much bandwidth as each user is using, up and down. For most people, the upload speed is a fraction of the download speed. I get 30mbps download, but only 5mbps upload.

I'll agree that to support BitTorrent transfers, the VPN will need a pretty good chunk of bandwidth, but using BT doesn't somehow magically double the bandwidth needed. Granted, other than when using file sharing software, most people don't upload and download at the same time, but it can be done. A person could start an upload to a service like Rapidshare and then download a file from somewhere else at the same time and use the same amount of bandwidth.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

No, what I'm saying is that you'll need twice the bandwidth of what many people would assume you'd need to download a file of a given size. Say you have a 2 GB file. For a Web site or a single Bittorrent user to transfer that file in a given amount of time will take a given amount of bandwidth. However, the VPN will need twice the amount a user or Web site would need, since the file is essentially moving in and out of the VPN at two points: the uploading user and the downloading user. It'd be like transferring a large amount of data through the LAN side of a router. That data isn't just using one port; it's using two: the port of the sending computer and the port of the receiving computer.

My point here is that, in order to accommodate a large number of users downloading all these files, a VPN is going to need a very large amount of bandwidth, and it won't come cheap.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
You have no clue what you are talking about and a VPN connection between a client and a server has encrypted traffic the entire time.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

Yes, it does, but, as I said in a previous post, you have two choices. If you're just using the VPN to simply hide your connection to the tracker and not actually handle the file transfers, then you still have to reveal your real IP on the tracker; otherwise, other clients can't find you. The other option is to run everything, including file transfers, through the VPN. That will hide your real IP, since only the VPN server would know what it is, but the bandwidth and server requirements for something like that on a usable scale would be enormous. Unless you're taking in a significant amount of money to spend on that, you won't keep it going for long. Not to mantion that such a VPN would be the biggest target on the planet. Not only would the entertainment industry want to take it out, but, if they could hack it instead, they could see the IP of every single connection in real time. That'd really be better than trying to take it offline.

There is a third option--to dynamically establish VPN connections between client computers that were sharing files. That would at least keep those transfers hidden from anyone running DPI, and the bandwidth requirements would work, since you don't need a central server to handle every single one. However, now you're talking about having every client running a VPN client/server setup that has to work out new connections automatically as you connect to and disconnect from other computers during a transfer. It can be done, but it still doesn't hide your IP from the tracker and anyone connected to it.

nightshade74
Yet another genxer
Premium
join:2004-11-06
Prattville, AL

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

Torrentfreak list several torrent - VPN centric providers.
»torrentfreak.com/which-vpn-provi···-111007/

I dont torrent so I cant speak to how well they do.
I saw one of them supporting SOCKS proxy. This
would anonymize just your torrent traffic.

The other alternative would be a seedbox.

It's whack-a-mole.... The copyright holders have
been playing it since napster. It doesn't
seem to be working.


PONSKEN

@comcast.net
Surf obviously knows what he/she is talking about. You should pay attention while school is in session.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

A VPN is no different than a router with an additional subnet. It doesn't eat "twice as much data".
zod5000

join:2003-10-21
Victoria, BC
Reviews:
·Shaw
I disagree.

When you're on a VPN any external query sees the VPN ip address, not your home ip address. The traffic is encrypted from your home to the VPN.

The weak point with VPNs is what happens if the VPN is asked for your info. The thought on this. Is say your using a Swedish VPN and you live in the US. So the Swedes notice your filesharing and and send a letter to the VPN. They find out your American their law doesn't apply to you. The VPN is basically causing one more headache for the those on an IP witchhunt.

The other is that there is a modern push for ISPs to retain logs so that they can be used against you. There doesn't seem to be a push for VPNs to do the same.

What if your VPN cycled your IP address every few days and didn't keep records.... If VPN's don't have to retain logs, it would be hard to figure that out.

Lastly. There's always going to be a country and has weak laws. There will be big money to be had for VPN's in those countries.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
the problem is the MPAA sees DRM locked business models as the only business model.

Their ultimate wet dream is likely something where you are forced to register the media to the device(much like Windows does only even stricter). Meaning a DVD or Blu-Ray once played could not be used in the car or in the bedroom TV.

I do Agree though I should be able to play media I buy however, whereever, when ever I want to with zero restrictions.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

said by Kearnstd:

Their ultimate wet dream is likely something where you are forced to register the media to the device(much like Windows does only even stricter). Meaning a DVD or Blu-Ray once played could not be used in the car or in the bedroom TV.

I think they tried that crap in the past and it failed miserably.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

said by Simba7:

said by Kearnstd:

Their ultimate wet dream is likely something where you are forced to register the media to the device(much like Windows does only even stricter). Meaning a DVD or Blu-Ray once played could not be used in the car or in the bedroom TV.

I think they tried that crap in the past and it failed miserably.

I know of Divx the failed PPV-DVD that was a collab between Circuit City and the movie goons. But I never put it passed Hollywood to fail again.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
HeavyHemi
Premium
join:2001-05-24
98500

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

Man... that brings back some memories. I was the backend engineer for VLSI Technology Inc. We were the sole suppliers of the ARM encryption IC used on the players. I recognized this distribution model as a failure from it's inception.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT
said by Kearnstd:

I know of Divx the failed PPV-DVD that was a collab between Circuit City and the movie goons. But I never put it passed Hollywood to fail again.

You mean DIVX, not DivX. DivX is a decent video compression codec. DIVX flopped (thank god).
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

Ahh I always forget its all caps for the thankfully failed DVD system. I have to wonder what Circuit City management was thinking when they helped that out with something like 100m. I also remember hearing something that their employees where required to push DIVX any time a customer asked for a DVD player.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
You can easily buy the product and then make it digital while removing the DRM yourself allowing you to use it where ever you want.

There are many products out there that allow you to do that.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: And P2P users will ramp up their VPNs

said by Skippy25:

You can easily buy the product and then make it digital while removing the DRM yourself allowing you to use it where ever you want.

There are many products out there that allow you to do that.

We do that. Of course, we also have kids.. so backups are a requirement. If the kids destroy the backup, shred it and make another.

buzz_4_20

join:2003-09-20
Limestone, ME
Reviews:
·ObiVoice
·Pioneer Wireless

Cat and Mouse... Never Ends

They get stricter, pirates get sneakier.

Why don't they try to offer products that consumers will pay for and write off the % of pirates that just are not going to pay. Stop spending tons of money trying to stop the unstoppable while making your paying customers suffer.

Make copy protection hard enough that someone has to work at it a little and have some actual skill, and call it good enough.

Then start getting your content out in different channels so consumers can buy it.

HBO, get off your PREMIUM ass and start making shows available to people. ESP those who want shows but not the large bill that comes with Cable + HBO. Sell standalone HBOGO for $5.99 a month with no ISP restriction crap and see the money pour in.

Same with all the other content "providers" realize that people want to buy your content. Just not through a cable subscription. And may even (O HOLY CRAP) without commercial interruption.

Ask any parent with kids. That 16 minutes of commercials per hour of show is wasted time, when you want to watch a show without the kids around.

MAKE SOMETHING PEOPLE WANT AND THEY WILL BUY IT.
cybercrimes

join:2003-12-24
Honey Brook, PA

i use vpnreactor

i like to use vpnreactor.com pay 10 bucks a month for if the riaa and the mpaa stop wasteing money on pireatcy that will never end and will always be cracked into and put the money into better movies dvd's with no pre-view and in fullscreen people will stop copying the darn dvd's i hate the the darn pre-views if i wanted to see them ill go on your site when i want to watch a movie i want to watch a movie not pre-views damn..
simon726

join:2006-12-21
Ajax, ON

free solutions?

Any free VPN solutions out there?

fuziwuzi
Not born yesterday
Premium
join:2005-07-01
Atlanta, GA

Re: free solutions?

said by simon726:

Any free VPN solutions out there?

Yes, and you get what you pay for.
--
Teabaggers: Destroying America is Priority #1

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

So what??

My ISP is Linsys good luck tracking me down. BTW what all you guys are talking about is illegal. ........If you would just stay away from the new movies everything would be fine, don't download the prerelease films.......that pisses off the studios and I agree with that. Seriously think what you are doing.........If you put it in their face then what do you expect?????

NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:12
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
·Pacific Bell - SBC

Re: So what??

said by Corehhi:

My ISP is Linsys good luck tracking me down.


Did you mean this one?

--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: So what??

said by NormanS:

said by Corehhi:

My ISP is Linsys good luck tracking me down.

[ATT=1]

LOL, almost everyone out there can use the linksys ISP for free if they look around a little.

ctceo
Premium
join:2001-04-26
South Bend, IN
Reviews:
·Virgin Mobile Br..

Funny

I think it's gonna be funny to see ISP's start to suffer because they've had to ban too many people. At this point I see no point in fighting against the lobby they have more money and you have shit. Even if you had money what you want as a customer is irrelevant to them anymore. It's all about what they can coerce you to pay. F* 'Em. 2 Can play hardball.

NickD
Premium
join:2000-11-17
Princeton Junction, NJ
Reviews:
·Comcast

Logs

I think ISPs should just be required to keep logs for a week or less. If there's child porn or other criminal activity, then those logs can be used to stop that. The copyright trolls take longer than a week to get to the ISPs, so by that time the logs are gone.
ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2

The usual anti-authority, pro-piracy bias

One man's "snooping" is another man's law enforcement. Funny how some people think they have the right to steal if they disagree with the way a company chooses to distribute, market, and sell its own property. I don't like the way the grocery store makes me buy a bag of potatoes instead of selling them individually, so I'll just take the whole bag when nobody's looking. And then invent new technology to let me shoplift anonymously.

••••
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

the names change...

the names change but the game stays the same..

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=Agjaa1DyKyA

shawn808

@rr.com

SSL

Just use SSL encryption.

If your ISP comes after you saying your downloading the wrong thing ask how do they know what your downloading its all 256 bit encrypted.

The ISP can look at your packets but its against the law for them to break your encryption.

they maybe allowed to deep packet inspect but once they circumvent your encryption is where they loose.

RRedline
Rated R
Premium
join:2002-05-15
Attleboro, MA

Re: SSL

said by shawn808 :

Just use SSL encryption...

I don't think you understand what is going on. This isn't about ISP's inspecting your data. It's about companies connecting to torrent trackers and logging the IP's of others who are connected to it. Using a VPN hides your real IP to others and makes it impossible for them to track your activity back to you. Data encryption is a separate and unrelated topic.
--
One nation, under Zod!

maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:3

Re: SSL

said by RRedline:

said by shawn808 :

Just use SSL encryption...

I don't think you understand what is going on. This isn't about ISP's inspecting your data. It's about companies connecting to torrent trackers and logging the IP's of others who are connected to it. Using a VPN hides your real IP to others and makes it impossible for them to track your activity back to you. Data encryption is a separate and unrelated topic.

There are some peer-to-peer technologies in the works that will make it impossible to track back to who is uploading....

Check this for instance: »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I2P

Development of the torrent clients using I2P is fairly slow, as the number of users is very low and therefore slow. But just like people moved from Napster ---> Kazaa ---> eDonkey ---> BitTorrent over the years, once a network really gets shut down or severly compromised, these things will become popular very quickly.

The next generation of P2P with a large anonymous factor is already thought of, just not utilized much.
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"

60632649
Premium
join:2003-09-29
New York, NY

You're going round and round

It seems to me that the organizations who have the money to spend on extremely high priced lawyers and court cases have enough money to pay off crack head hackers, that's standard police practice, find a weakness and it'll give out the rest. And there are those who are vulnerable, and then setup tor end points and VPN end points, maybe even in their names as necessary. That's just money and they have that, they sure are capable of creating the fake IDs necessary. Some crackhead hacker can be compromised pretty easy, our governments are good at that, very good.