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Found 12 results

  1. Thanks to its slick and easy-to-use interface, Popcorn Time has gained an impressive user base since it launched early last year. However, fresh data now shows that the application still has some ground to cover if it wants to rival uTorrent, which remains the king of BitTorrent traffic. Branded a “Netflix for Pirates,†the Popcorn Timeapp quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year. The application has some of the major media giants worried, including Netflix which sees the pirate app as a serious competitor to its business. Popcorn Time is also a rival for traditional torrent clients such as uTorrent, albeit of a different kind. However, until now how these different types of BitTorrent traffic compare in volume terms has remained unknown. New data from network management company Procera sheds some light on how the two stack up against each other. Procera gathered data from a European fixed line network in March and April and shared their findings with TF. On this particular network, which has a capacity of dozens of Gigabits per second, Popcorn Time accounted for roughly 18 Gigabit per second at its peak. The traffic was lowest at night, dropping to nearly zero. All the traffic in question was generated by ‘traditional’ video torrents which were then streamed through the Popcorn Time app. Popcorn Time traffic The data above comes from one network, so the numbers are not very meaningful without a good comparison standard. For this reason, Procera also monitored the traffic generated by uTorrent. The graph below shows that uTorrent accounts for at least double the traffic compared to Popcorn Time, with a approximately 44 Gigabit per second at the peak in April. uTorrent traffic While the vast majority of uTorrent traffic is generated by video, it’s worth noting that the data above also includes transfers of software, music and other content. Non-uTorrent BitTorrent transfers were insignificant according to Procera, well below the traffic Popcorn Time generates. The traffic patterns observed on this European network may be different in other parts of the world. However, with Popcorn Time having a massive user base in Europe, it’s safe to conclude that the app is not rivaling traditional torrent yet, traffic-wise. It will be interesting to see if Popcorn Time will continue to grow during the coming year. The application is now available on all major operating systems and it’s not unthinkable that it will eventually catch up with uTorrent. https://torrentfreak.com/popcorn-time-traffic-doesnt-rival-traditional-torrents-just-yet-150511/
  2. Encrypted Internet traffic is surging according to data published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine. A new report reveals that 25 percent of the encrypted downstream traffic in North America is consumed by BitTorrent transfers, second only to YouTube. In recent years it has become apparent that BitTorrent users are increasingly searching for options to hide their download footprints. Thus far, however, there was little information available on how much of all encrypted traffic is file-sharing related. A new report published by Sandvine now provides some insight into this. To find out how much of all Internet traffic is encrypted, and what the most popular sources are, last month the company gathered data in collaboration with a North American fixed access network. The findings reveal that nearly 30% of all downstream traffic is encrypted. The majority of the traffic remains unencrypted (65%), and the small remainder has yet to be identified. Looking at the individual sources of encrypted traffic we see that YouTube currently accounts for most of it. More than 11% of all downstream traffic comes from encrypted YouTube data, which is nearly 40% of all encrypted traffic. BitTorrent transfers come in second place with 7.2% of the total downstream traffic, which is good for nearly a quarter of all encrypted data. It’s worth noting that the report only looks at downstream traffic. BitTorrent’s share of upstream traffic is usually much higher, so the total percentage of all encrypted traffic will be well over 25 percent. Another fact worth mentioning is that before YouTube made the transition to support secure data transfers, BitTorrent was the number one source of encrypted traffic according to Sandvine. With Netflix poised to move to encryption by default, the relative share of BitTorrent will probably drop even further in the near future. Absolute traffic is expected to keep growing, however. In response to various anti-piracy initiatives and monitoring schemes around the world, BitTorrent users are increasingly turning to anonymizing services such as encrypted VPNs. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops during the years to come. https://torrentfreak.com/torrents-are-good-for-a-quarter-of-all-encrypted-traffic-150501/
  3. The past six months have not been good ones for some of the world's leading file-hosting sites. Many have seen their traffic plummet as a result of Google algorithm changes, but interestingly some are bucking the trend. Mega.co.nz, for example, is doing better than ever. In the file-sharing world sites tend to be split into two camps – those that facilitate access to content held elsewhere (torrent sites) and those that host the content themselves. What to call the sites in this latter category largely depends on the context. The generic “file-hoster†monicker works well for all, but the more recent term “cyberlocker†has somehow become associated with sites that have some kind of “rogue†business model attached. Last September, Netnames produced a report about ‘cyberlockers’ and annoyed the operators of Mega.co.nz by categorizing the site as some kind of illicit operation. This week, only adding to the controversy, Mega revealed that U.S. government pressure had led to PayPal withdrawing its services from the company. This week, several months after the publication of the NetNames report, we decided to take a look at how the file-hosting sites listed have been doing on the traffic front. According to Alexa they are mostly on a significant downward trend, but as we shall see that’s not universally the case. In fact, Mega appears to be doing particularly well. The big losers All of the sites in this section lost significant overall traffic during 2014 and early 2015. 4shared, Zippyshare, Turbobit, BitShare, LetitBit, FreakShare, 1fichier and 2shared all had big downward trends and, as illustrated by the charts below, October time seems to mark the beginning of most of the bad news. That date closely coincides with Google’s downranking of sites for which it receives the most infringement notices. The change hit many major torrent sites causing immediate drops in traffic, but for others the change only seems to have brought good news. The big winners Mega.co.nz, a site included in the NetNames report but not indexed by Google due to the site’s own restrictions, appears to have reaped rewards where others have failed. Following a slump in the summer of 2014, the period since October 2014 has been nothing but a success story for the Kim Dotcom-founded operation. Another site bucking the downward trend is UptoBox, a site which NetNames claims has around six million monthly users and $1.7 million in annual revenues. Despite Google receiving close to 368,000 complaints about the site, UpToBox has been doing better than ever since October 2014 when most of the other sites started to suffer. Only a small slump in January 2015 spoiled the party. The others RapidGator is one of the most popular file-hosting sites around but had a bit of a disappointing 2014. After starting the year strongly as one of the 500 most popular sites in the world, the site embarked on a steady downward trend and like most it took a big hit at the start of October when Google’s down-ranking began. Between then and the end of 2014 it regained traffic to position itself where it had been during the summer. But in January came a new slump which took the site back down to its lowest traffic levels to date. Another site on a general downward trend is Uploaded.net, but again the site’s traffic demonstrates some interesting features. After taking a big hit in October the site recovered somewhat, only to peak and begin dropping off again. Overall It’s fair to say that the majority of the big sites in the NetNames report are on a downward trend but sites like Mega are clearly able to buck the trend. Whether that’s due to the company’s charismatic founder, its end-to-end encryption or simply by being a good provider with a great service is up for debate. Nevertheless, an ability to avoid Google downranking punishments is certainly a plus and one that the company will be keen to maintain. http://torrentfreak.com/cyberlocker-traffic-plummets-but-not-mega-150308/
  4. Internet provider AT&T has obtained a patent to speed up BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic, while reducing the impact of these transfers on its network. Whether the invention will ever be implemented is doubtful though, as net neutrality proponents generally don't like "fast lanes." Despite the growing availability of legal services, unauthorized file-sharing continues to generate thousands of petabytes of traffic each month. This massive network use has caused concern among many Internet providers over the years, some of which decided to throttle BitTorrent transfers. Interestingly, AT&T believes the problem can also be dealt with in a more positive way. A new patent awarded to the Intellectual Property division of the Texas-based ISP describes a ‘fast lane’ for BitTorrent and other P2P traffic. Titled “System and Method to Guide Active Participation in Peer-to-Peer Systems with Passive Monitoring Environment,†one of the patent’s main goals is to speed up P2P transfers while reducing network costs. While acknowledging the benefits of file-sharing networks, the ISP notes that they can take up a lot of resources. “P2P networks can be useful for sharing content files containing audio, video, or other data in digital format. It is estimated that P2P file sharing, such as BitTorrent, represents greater than 20% of all broadband traffic on the Internet,†AT&T writes. To limit the impact on its network resources, AT&T proposes several technologies to serve content locally. This can be done by prioritizing local traffic and caching files from its own servers. “The local peer server may provide the content to peers within the same subnet more efficiently than can a peer in another subnet,†the patent reads. “As such, providing the content on the local peer server can reduce network usage and decrease the time required for the peer to download the content.†Patent drawing The ISP realizes that there may be legal concerns when it starts to serve downloads from its own servers, and notes that some “unlicensed†content may be excluded. In addition to caching files, the patent also describes a system in which BitTorrent traffic is analyzed in order to connect subscribers to peers that cause less congestion. “In an embodiment, pieces of the data file may be preferentially retrieved from peers closer in the network or peers having a lower network cost,†the patent reads. In other words, AT&T’s proposal reduces network costs while speeding up the transfers of its subscribers. It seems like a win-win for everyone involved, except strict net neutrality proponents who expect every bit to be treated equally. Given the big push for net neutrality it is unlikely that the ISP has intentions to test or implement the file-sharing “fast lane†in the real world. It’s hard to miss the irony here. The present net neutrality debate first started in 2007 when TF uncovered that Comcast was throttling BitTorrent traffic. Those same principles might now prevent a system that can speed up torrents. http://torrentfreak.com/att-patents-fast-lane-for-bittorrent-traffic-150219/
  5. At any given point during the day dozens of millions of people are using BitTorrent to share pirated content, mostly movies and TV-shows. Pirate Cinema visualizes these transactions in an online art display, showing chunks of video of the most popular files as they arrive from all over the world. Somewhere in a datacenter in Austria there’s a dedicated machine that has only one mission: download and share the 100 most popular files on BitTorrent and turn these bits and pieces into a piece of art. The machine in question belongs to artist Nicolas Maigret and his Pirate Cinema project. Pirate Cinema has been on display for nearly two years in various venues, but this week the circle was completed when the piracy composition made its online debut. TF caught up with Maigret to learn more about the background and purpose of Pirate Cinema. He tells us that after completing several projects where the proposal was to represent networks in a physical form, he wanted to visualize how they’re used by millions of people around the world. “That’s where the Pirate Cinema concept started,†Maigret says. Over the past several years Maigret has worked on bringing it to life in various forms and this week Pirate Cinema started streaming online for the first time. Those who check out the stream see chunks of popular videos flashing by, gathered from around the globe in real-time. The video bits include the IP-address of the source, partially masked, and the country of origin. This is not without purpose. Maigret specifically includes this info to show how public these transfers are, and how easily they can be monitored. “On one hand this is in response to omnipresent users surveillance going on the Internet. More specifically here, on the file sharing networks, where people are monitored daily, resulting in real life lawsuits,†Maigret tells us. But Pirate Cinema is also a tribute to the Copy Culture that developed in the latest generations of computer users. The Copy Culture that is more common today than it has ever been before. “For the last 15 years, P2P networks have served as a great resource for mainstream content, but also for valuable rarities and unknown content that is hardly accessible otherwise,†Maigret says “File-sharing has been central in the access to culture worldwide. The Pirate Cinema tends to make those activities and dynamics tangible,†he adds. Aside from the online display there is also a live audio-visual performance. This live show is composed of 6 acts that each monitor a specific selection of torrents, such as the rise of porn on BitTorrent and the oldest torrent alive. Those interested in learning more about the project can check out the official site. Taking part in the online art project is also an option, but that comes at a risk.
  6. KickassTorrents is the first large torrent site to bump up its security and force SSL encryption for all visitors. This makes it impossible for outsiders, Internet providers included, to monitor page visits or snoop on data being sent. KATLike most Internet users, torrent site visitors prefer not to have their browsing habits exposed to third parties. One way to prevent this from happening is by using SSL encryption. This is supported by more and more sites, and last year Google even went as far as encrypting all searches by default. Most of the larger torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and Torrentz also offer SSL support. However, KickassTorrents is the first to force encryption. This means that everyone who visits the site will now be sending data over a secure https connection. TorrentFreak spoke with the KickassTorrents team who told us that the new feature was implemented by popular demand. “We’re just thinking about those people who will feel safer when they know all the data transferred between them and KAT is completely encrypted. People requested it, so we respond,†the KAT team informs TF. SSL encryption will prevent one’s boss, school, or ISP from monitoring what pages are visited what data is sent or retrieved from the site. However, it’s still possible to see that the KickassTorrents domain was accessed, and how much time was spent there. Also, it’s worth emphasizing that it doesn’t anonymize the visitor’s IP-addresses in any way, as a VPN or proxy might. That said, enabling encryption is a good way for KickassTorrents to offer its users a little more security. On top of that, Google recently noted that it would prioritize SSL encrypted sites in its search results, something the site’s operators probably wont mind either.
  7. Def Con presentation unveils OPSEC tool for the rest of us—some assembly required. The news over the past few years has been spattered with cases of Internet anonymity being stripped away, despite (or because) of the use of privacy tools. Tor, the anonymizing “darknet†service, has especially been in the crosshairs—and even some of its most paranoid users have made a significant operational security (OPSEC) faux pas or two. Hector “Sabu†Monsegur, for example, forgot to turn Tor on just once before using IRC, and that was all it took to de-anonymize him. (It also didn’t help that he used a stolen credit card to buy car parts sent to his home address.) If hard-core hacktivists trip up on OPSEC, how are the rest of us supposed to keep ourselves hidden from prying eyes? At Def Con, Ryan Lackey of CloudFlare and Marc Rogers of Lookout took to the stage (short their collaborator, the security researcher known as “the grugq,†who could not attend due to unspecified travel difficulties) to discuss common OPSEC fails and ways to avoid them. They also discussed their collaboration on a set of tools that promises to make OPSEC easy—or at least easier—for everyone. Called Personal Onion Router To Assure Liberty (PORTAL), the project is a pre-built software image for an inexpensive pocket-sized “travel router†to automatically protect its owner’s Internet traffic. Portal provides always-on Tor routing, as well as “pluggable†transports for Tor that can hide the service’s traffic signature from some deep packet inspection systems. Counter-surveilance for everyone There are plenty of reasons why an average person should care about OPSEC today, Lackey explained in his introduction to the session. “We're not really talking about people hiding while doing lots of bad stuff,†he said. “There are a lot of reasons why you'd want to hide. Especially post-Snowden. Part of it is to avoid global dragnets- you want to make sure if someone is monitoring everything, you don't want to get caught up in that.†Monitoring also could result in profiling based on “somebody living next door to you making a phone call," Lackey added, “which because of the way the software works could end up flagging or profiling you…but it’s also just an issue of ‘none of your damned business.’†Even encrypted connections provide metadata about an individual’s activities, as do patterns in an individual’s Internet traffic—which Ars found when we monitored the Internet traffic of NPR’s Steve Henn. But there’s a great deal of traffic that remains unencrypted, as Rogers noted during the presentation. “Before the Snowden leaks, about one percent of Internet traffic was SSL protected,†he said. “Now it’s about three percent.†The tools in PORTAL aren’t rocket science, Rogers told the Def Con audience. “The difference is that we’re packaging [tools] together and showing you how you can use these tools so you don’t have to think about it, and you can avoid the problems caused by human error.†Virtual private networks provide some privacy, Lackey and Rogers said, but they don’t provide real anonymity—some VPN providers (particularly those in the US) keep logs of traffic, and they don’t provide end-to-end protection. Tor protects traffic for much of the trip—at least until they reach the exit node used to access the website or Internet service being requested. But Tor has hazards as well—in its basic form, it alerts those doing the monitoring that Tor is being used, and can result in the user being targeted or blocked. While there are other Tor-based tools to help protect anonymity, such as the Tor Browser bundle and the TAILS “live†CD and USB-bootable operating system, these are prone to accidental errors—like not waiting for Tor to be ready for traffic, or simple misconfiguration. TAILS is restrictive, because it isolates the user within a Linux environment without access to local storage—not a great option for people who want to work with the operating system and software they use for their work. “TAILS is a great project and piece of software, but it makes security assumptions about hardware which are probably not true today,†Lackey told Ars in an email interview after Def Con. Privacy in your pocket That's where the “travel router†comes in. Lackey said that a customized, secure router that allows people to just connect with their existing device over Ethernet or Wi-Fi is the “sweet spot†for maintaining anonymity. It isolates encryption and obfuscation from the user’s computer, and eliminates the risk of the user forgetting to turn protection on. “The big advantage of something like PORTALl is being able to isolate failures to a dedicated outboard device, and with a conceptually simple UI/UX,†Lackey told Ars. “It's a physical device, and when it's present and connected in line, traffic must pass through it. It never has your sensitive information on it.†There are other low-cost routers available for privacy, such as the PogoPlug Safeplug. But Safeplug only offers basic Tor protection—making it impractical for use in countries such as China, where Internet surveillance systems watch for and shut down Tor traffic. The same goes for Onion Pi, a Raspberry Pi-based Tor appliance. Portal includes the full capabilities of Tor—including pluggable transports for Tor, which can conceal Tor traffic from many of the network monitoring tools that look for patterns in packet data. There is an ever-expanding collection of pluggable transports, including: Bananaphone, which turns Tor traffic into “natural language†streams of words. Obfs4 and Scramblesuit, which obfuscate Tor by encrypting everything in Tor Transport Layer Security packets, eliminating the plaintext headers that identify the traffic. Flashproxy, which wraps Tor traffic in WebSocket format, disguises it with an XOR cipher, and bounces it through short-lived JavaScript proxies running in other computers’ browsers. Format-Transforming Encryption (FTE), which encodes Tor traffic to look like another protocol, such as SSH—avoiding detection by “regular expression†network filtering. Meek, which disguises Tor as ordinary web traffic sent to Google, then forwards it through a third-party server. The main drawback of PORTAL is that it currently isn’t a hardware product—it’s a Github download that must be “flashed†onto a TP-Link compatible pocket router. “The whole build process, management, etc. wasn't available at Def Con,†Lackey said. “Turning this into a tool directly usable by end users, or at least "power users" or sysadmins responsible for a group of users, is important, and something we're working on. Watch this space. Being able to flash your own devices is great, but for [more than] 95 percent of users today, they don't even want to do that much (nor should they be expected to!), so we're working on a solution.â€
  8. OVH, a French hosting company with datacenters all around the world, has been sued for copyright infringement at a federal court in California. The complaint filed by adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 accuses the hosting provider of servicing several "pirate" websites as well as allowing infringing traffic to pass through its Internet backbone. Perfect 10 are no strangers to lawsuits. From 2005 to the present day they have sued several huge companies for either allegedly using their images without permission or somehow being connected to infringements. Notable among them are Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Giganews, Megaupload, Depositfiles Mastercard, Visa and Leaseweb. While Perfect 10 lacks a clear victory, it has achieved several settlements which has motivated the company to continue its legal crusade. Late last week the publisher moved on to its next target, hosting company OVH. In their complaint Perfect 10 accuses the French company of providing hosting services to several websites that store pirated copies of their images. “Defendants host and provide Internet connectivity and other essential services to websites, including infringing websites operated in California that have infringed tens of thousands of Perfect 10 Copyrighted Works,†the complaint states. According to Perfect 10, OVH currently hosts over a dozen websites which store their work without permission, including celeb.to, celebforum.to, daily-ladies.com, gallery-dump.com, erooups.com, gophoto.us, hatuncenter.net, imagechunk.com, sualize.us, imgmaster.net, imagerise.com, ohfree.net, pixhost.eu and redblow.com. The magazine publisher argues that OVH is directly responsible for these copyright infringements committed by its customers. The company says it sent 17 DMCA notices to OVH since 2011, identifying more than 12,000 infringing images, and believes the hosting provider should have taken the URLs in question offline. “Defendants could have and should have ended the infringement by processing Perfect 10’s DMCA notices and removing the infringing images or by refusing to host the identified allegedly infringing websites, among other things,†the complaint explains. “Defendants have failed to take such action and have failed to remove the infringing material that Perfect 10 has identified in its DMCA notices. Defendants’ conduct has caused, and continues to cause, severe and irreparable harm to Perfect 10,†they add. The allegation doesn’t come as a surprise as hosting providers generally don’t take action based on DMCA takedown notices. Instead, they forward them to their clients, who are then responsible for resolving the issue. However, it appears that Perfect 10 wants to challenge this safe harbor principle. Interestingly, OVH’s hosting services are not the only problem. In addition to the pirate sites, the company is also accused of passing on copyright-infringing Internet traffic of Google and other third-party sites through its American backbone. “Third-party websites located in the United States, including Google.com, msn.com, yahoo.com, and blekko.com, among many others, have copied, distributed, and/or displayed thousands of infringing Perfect 10 Copyrighted Works hosted by Defendants. Defendants host and provide Internet connectivity and other essential services for these websites,†the complaint reads. In an accusation that pretty much targets the core of the Internet, Perfect 10 believes that OVH should have taken action against the infringing files that pass through or are hosted in its network. Because OVH failed to do so, the publisher claims that it suffered significant losses and is now demanding the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement. In theory this could get quite expensive. With a total of 1256 listed infringements OVH is facing up to $188 million in damages. However, considering Perfect 10′s track record in court the magazine publisher will probably be happy to settle for a tiny fraction of that.
  9. In recent years the entertainment industries have pushed hard to get The Pirate Bay blocked in various countries. Despite these efforts the notorious torrent site has managed to double its visitors. The United States remains the most popular traffic source while roughly 9% of all users access the site through a proxy. The Pirate Bay is without doubt one of the most censored websites on the Internet. Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site and this list continues to expand. Denmark was one of the first countries to block The Pirate Bay, but the biggest impact came in 2012 when major ISPs in the UK and the Netherlands were ordered to deny their users access to the site. The entertainment industries have characterized these blockades as a major victory and claim they’re an efficient tool to deter piracy. The question that has thus far remained unanswered, however, is how Pirate Bay’s traffic numbers are being affected. Is the site on the verge of collapsing? As it turns out, The Pirate Bay hasn’t stopped growing at all. On the contrary, The Pirate Bay informs TorrentFreak that visitor numbers have doubled since 2011. The graph below shows the growth in unique visitors and pageviews over the past three years. The Pirate Bay chose not to share actual visitor numbers, but monthly pageviews are believed to run into the hundreds of millions. Pirate Bay traffic These numbers reveal that the torrent site is still doing quite well, but that doesn’t mean that the blockades are not working. After all, the additional traffic could simply come from other countries. A better indication for the effectiveness of the blockades are the number of visitors that access the site through proxies. The Pirate Bay told TorrentFreak that roughly 9% of all visitors use proxies. This percentage doesn’t include sites that cache pages. In other words, a significant percentage of users who don’t have direct access to the site are bypassing court-ordered blockades though proxies. Interestingly, the United States is by far the biggest traffic source for the notorious torrent site. This is somewhat ironic, as American record labels and movie studios are the driving force behind the blockades in other countries. All in all it is safe to conclude that censorship is not the silver bullet to stop The Pirate Bay. While it certainly has some impact, there are still millions of people who simply route around the blockades and continue downloading as usual. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-traffic-doubles-despite-isp-blockades-140717/
  10. SEXPAND BitTorrent isn't the quiet haven it once was. These days, everyone's looking to throttle your connection, spy on what you're downloading, or even send you an ominous letter. If you use BitTorrent, you absolutely need to take precautions to hide your identity. Here's how to do that with a simple proxy.P This post originally detailed the setup of a proxy called BTGuard. Since its original publication in 2011, we've changed our recommendation to Private Internet Access due to BTGuard's slow speeds, bad customer service, and other difficulties. If you're still interested in using BTGuard, you can find instructions on their web site.P You have a few different options when it comes to hiding your BitTorrent activity, but we've found that a proxy is the most convenient and easiest to set up, so that's what we're going to cover here. We've talked about proxies a few times before, most notably with our original guide on how to set up BTGuard our guide to safe torrenting post-Demonoid. Unfortunately, BTGuard has never been a great service—it was just the most convenient. Thankfully, Private Internet Access—one of our favorite VPN providers—now provides a proxy very similar to BTGuard, but with faster speeds and better customer service. So we recommend using it instead, using the instructions below. If you don't want to use a proxy, check out the end of the article for a few alternative suggestions.P 4 How Do I Torrent Safely Now That Demonoid Is Down? Dear Lifehacker, My favorite private BitTorrent tracker, Demonoid, has apparently gone down for…Read more How a BitTorrent Proxy WorksP SEXPAND When you download or seed a torrent, you're connecting to a bunch of other people, called a swarm. All of those people can see your computer's IP address—they have to in order to connect. That's all very handy when you're sharing files with other netizens, but file sharers such as yourself aren't necessarily the only people paying attention. Piracy monitoring groups (often paid for by the entertainment industry either before or after they find violators) also join BitTorrent swarms, but instead of sharing files, they're logging the IP addresses of other people in the swarm—including you—so that they can notify your ISP of your doings.P A proxy (like Private Internet Access) funnels traffic—in this case, just your BitTorrent traffic—through another server, so that the BitTorrent swarm will show an IP address from them instead of you. In this case, Private Internet Access' proxy server is in the Netherlands. That way, those anti-piracy groups can't contact your ISP, and your ISP has no cause to send you a harrowing letter.P But wait, can't the piracy groups then go to the anonymizer service and requisition their logs to figure out what you're downloading? Theoretically, yes, but if you're using a truly good anonymizer, they don't keep logs, so there's no paper trail of activity leading back to you. All the piracy monitors see is a proxy service sharing a file, and all your ISP sees is you connecting to a proxy service. If you encrypt your BitTorrent traffic (which we recommend), your ISP won't even be able to see that you're using BitTorrent.P How to Boost Your BitTorrent Speed and Privacy BitTorrent's been around for a whopping ten years, but it continues to evolve and remains one…Read more Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, there are a few downsides. Most notably:P Anonymity isn't free. Well, at least the ones worth using aren't. Private Internet Access costs $6.95 a month or $39.95 a year. That isn't very expensive, though, and it's well worth it for the privacy you get.P You'll get slower download speeds. Running your connection through another server inevitably slows you down, though how much depends on what torrent you're downloading, who from, and a lot of other factors. In my experience, more popular torrents stayed at their top speed of 3.4 MB/s (my bandwidth cap) with a proxy, while other less popular torrents slowed down from 1 MB/s to about 500-600 kB/s. Your mileage may vary. I lost significantly less speed with Private Internet Access than I did with BTGuard, though.P Not every BitTorrent client supports proxies. uTorrent for Windows works great, but Mac and Linux favorite Transmission sadly does not support proxies. You'll have to use something like Vuze or Deluge instead (or try one of the alternatives listed at the end of this article).P Nothing is foolproof. Using a proxy may bring you increased anonymity, but nothing is guaranteed unless you avoid BitTorrent entirely.P Ready to get started? Here's what you need to do.P How to Set Up the Private Internet Access ProxyP Setting up a proxy is actually very simple, and just involves signing up for a service and checking a few boxes in your BitTorrent client. We'll be using Private Internet Access and uTorrent for Windows for this guide, but you can tweak things to fit your own setup pretty easily.P Step One: Sign Up for Private Internet AccessP Private Internet Access is primarily a VPN provider. We'll talk a bit more about VPNs later in this post, but what we really want is the SOCKS5 proxy that comes with their VPN service. So, head to Private Internet Access' web site and sign up for their VPN service. We recommend starting out with a monthly plan to see if you like it before buying a whole year's subscription.P Once you've signed up, Private Internet Access will email you your username and password. Log into the system with those credentials, and change your password from the client control panel.P Step Two: Generate a Proxy PasswordP Your account credentials are only to manage your account—we'll need a new set of credentials for the Proxy service. In the client control panel, click the "Generate Password" button under "PPTP/L2TP/SOCKS Password." This is what we'll be using to configure our BitTorrent client. Write down the username and password that appears here (it's different than your regular account credentials) and move on to step two.P Step Three: Configure Your BitTorrent ClientP SEXPAND Next, open up uTorrent and head to Options > Preferences > Connection. Under Proxy Server, choose Socks5 under "Type" and enter the following information:P Proxy Type: Socks5P Proxy Host: proxy-nl.privateinternetaccess.comP Proxy Port: 1080P Username: Your Private Internet Access Proxy username (from step two)P Password: Your Private Internet Access Proxy password (from step two)P Check all of the other boxes under "Proxy" and "Proxy Privacy." Your Connection preferences should look exactly like the image above.P Step Four: See If It's WorkingP SEXPAND To ensure that it's working, head over to CheckMyTorrentIP.com. This site can tell you what your IP address is, and compare it to the IP address of your torrent client, which will let you know whether your proxy is working correctly. To test it, hit the "Generate Torrent" button, and open the resulting torrent in uTorrent. Then, go back to your browser and hit the Refresh button under the "Check IP" tab. If it's the same as your browser IP—which you'll see next to the Refresh button—then your proxy isn't working, and you'll want to double-check all of the above settings. If it shows a different IP address (which should be in the Netherlands), then Private Internet Access is successfully tunneling all your traffic for you.P Other Ways to Anonymize Your BitTorrent TrafficP A proxy like Private Internet Access is the most convenient way to anonymize your traffic, but it isn't the only way. If you want to try something else, here are a few other tricks we recommend.P Use a VPNP A virtual private network (or VPN) is very similar to a proxy, but instead of rerouting just your BitTorrent traffic, it reroutes all your internet traffic. For some people, that's a good thing—it gives you privacy all over the web. However, it can also be inconvenient, navigating you to different web pages for that VPN's country or causing issues with streaming services. If you have a NAS, you can set up your VPN on it to route only your NAS traffic, which is aperfect option for downloading anonymously. VPNs are about the same price as most proxies, and I personally have found that I get better speeds with most VPNs than I do with a proxy.P 4 Why You Should Start Using a VPN (and How to Choose the Best One for Your Needs) You may know what a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is; you probably don't use one. You…Read more So which VPN should you use? Check out TorrentFreak's list of the best VPNs for BitTorrent, as well as our Hive Five on the subject to find a provider that works for you.P 4 Which VPN Providers Really Protect Your File Sharing Activities? In light of all the peer-to-peer file sharing lawsuits that have been thrown around lately, you…Read more Rent a SeedboxP Unlike proxies and VPNs, seedboxes don't route your BitTorrent traffic through another country. Instead, you actually rent a dedicated server that resides in that country, and do all your torrenting through that machine. They usually have insanely fast speeds, and if you're on a private tracker, they'll seed 24/7, giving you a great ratio. Once you download a torrent on your seedbox, you can just connect to it via FTP and download the file as fast as your home connection allows. Note that seedboxes also require a bit of extra setup, and some may require a little command line work to get running.P What's a Private BitTorrent Tracker, and Why Should I Use One? Dear Lifehacker, I've heard people murmur about "private" BitTorrent trackers and…Read more Seedboxes are more expensive than proxies and VPNs, ranging from entry-level boxes at $10 or $20 a month to fast boxes with more storage at $50 or even $100 a month. But, it offers a lot of advantages over proxies and VPNs—if you have the money to spare and want super fast speeds and a good ratio, we highly recommend getting a seedbox. Providers like Whatbox,Feral, and Bytesized come highly recommended, but a bit of searching can provide you with a ton of options. Shop around and see which one's best for you.P Ditch BitTorrent AltogetherP Your last alternative is to try a new file sharing service entirely, like Usenet. It offers encrypted connections and doesn't connect to peers, so others can't track what you're doing. It doesn't always have the selection that BitTorrent has (depending on what you're downloading), but it offers a ton of other advantages, most notably higher speeds and better privacy. Check out our guide to getting started with Usenet to see if it's right for you.
  11. Encrypted Internet traffic is surging worldwide according to data published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine. After the Snowden revelations the bandwidth consumed by encrypted traffic doubled in North America, and in Europe and Latin America the share of encrypted traffic quadrupled. Over the years we have been following various reports on Internet traffic changes, mostly focusing on file-sharing traffic. A new report published by Sandvine this morning sheds light on the most recent developments. As in previous years, the trend is one of BitTorrent losing its share of peak Internet traffic in the U.S. while continuing to grow in Europe. However, there is a far more interesting trend hidden in the report, something which the traffic management company itself appears to have missed entirely. Comparing this year’s data to that of last year reveals that encrypted Internet traffic is booming. The change is most pronounced in Europe where the percentage of encrypted Internet traffic during peak hours quadrupled from a measly 1.47% to 6.10% in a year. Since overall Internet traffic increased as well, the increase is even greater for the absolute bandwidth that’s consumed. In North America the percentage of encrypted Internet traffic during peak hours increased as well, from 2.29% early last year to 3.80% this year. Keeping in mind that absolute Internet traffic increases between 20% and 40% each year the bandwidth consumed by encrypted traffic doubled in this period. The increase in encrypted traffic is a global phenomenon. In Latin America the share of bandwidth consumed by SSL shot up from 1.80% to 10.37% in a year. Also, a similar pattern emerges on mobile networks, where encrypted traffic is also booming. The changes in encrypted traffic can be directly linked to the surveillance revelations of Edward Snowden. As a result, the number of users of VPN services and other anonymizers increased sharply. In addition, Google and other web services turned on SSL by default. In previous years we revealed a similar trend among BitTorrent users, who increasingly searched for options to hide their download footprints in response to anti-piracy measures. A survey among Pirate Bay users, for example, revealed that 70% utilize a VPN or proxy, or are interested in doing so in the future. It will be interesting to see how these trends develop in the years to come. In any case, it’s clear that Internet services and their users are becoming more aware of their privacy online, which is generally a good development. Source: TorrentFreak
  12. Anti-Piracy Law Boosted Music Sales , Plunged Internet Traffic A new study on the effects of the IPRED anti-piracy law in Sweden shows that the legislation increased music sales by 36 percent. At the same time, Internet traffic in the country dropped significantly. The results suggest that the law initially had the desired effect, but the researchers also note this didn't last long. It’s been five years since Sweden implemented the controversial anti-piracy legislation, IPRED. The law, which gives rights holders the authority to request the personal details of alleged copyright infringers, was met with fierce resistance from ISPs and the public at large. At the same time, however, there were plenty of signs that the law stopped people from pirating. A day after it went into effect, Netnod Internet Exchange reported a significant drop in Swedish Internet traffic. Inspired by the anecdote, the effectiveness of IPRED has become a topic of interest for economists at Uppsala University in Sweden. In a new paper they report their findings on the effect of the anti-piracy law on Internet traffic and music sales. The main goal of the research is to examine whether the anti-piracy law did indeed have an effect, and to what extent. To make sure that the effect is unique to Sweden, both Norway and Finland were chosen as control groups. The results, which will be published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, confirm that Internet traffic decreased quite a bit after IPRED went into effect, beginning abruptly the very same day. IPRED’s apparent effect on Internet traffic Perhaps even more surprisingly, music sales also skyrocketed compared to the other two Scandinavian countries. “We find that the reform decreased Internet traffic by 16% and increased music sales by 36% during the first six months. Pirated music therefore seems to be a strong substitute to legal music,†the researchers write, summarizing the results. IPRED’s apparent effect on digital music sales Interestingly, however, the overall effect on Internet traffic and music sales vanished after half a year. The only effect that remained was the increase in digital sales. Internet traffic and physical music sales returned to normal, in part because the chance of getting caught is quite low. “The deterrent effect decreased quickly, possibly because of the few and slow legal processes. Law enforcement through convictions therefore seems to be a necessary ingredient for the long-run success of a copyright protection law,†the researchers note. The researchers suggest that if more people are convicted, the effects may last longer. During the first few years only a handful of file-sharers were brought to justice, while hundreds of thousands took steps to circumvent the law. “As the first court cases were only settled recently, it is still possible that further convictions would restore an effect that is more long-lasting,†they write in their conclusion. The question remains, however, whether bankrupting people or throwing them in jail is the ideal strategy in the long run…