For the last few weeks, torrent groups who offer and help seed torrents for television episodes have been on the receiving end of a technological attack to slow the distribution of television episodes.
have all reportedly been affected.
In the past, the television studios have shut down popular television show torrent sites using legal means. Seven sites closed under legal pressure in April
of this year, although a few have since re-emerged and others have taken a different form.
In a further bid to minimize the mass-distribution of unauthorized content, a technological attack has been launched by either hired guns working for the industry, or a group who sympathizes with their cause.
Two tactics are being used, both aimed at wasting network bandwidth.
Reports started two weeks ago when a huge amount of seeding bandwidth was being lost.
“[The unknown group are] trying to soak up all the seeders bandwidth,” an EZTV administrator, who wishes to remain anonymous, explained to Slyck. “They seem to have some fast connections constantly downloading the data from the seed, trying to saturate the torrent so they use all the speed and make the torrent incredibly slow for other users.”
Asked if this has been detrimental to the file distribution, EZTV replied, “not at all,” adding, “they were using around 600mbit at one point I believe, but there is more than enough bandwidth to cover that.”
The groups behind the attacks are also trying to waste the bandwidth of downloaders. According to EZTV, this is a bigger challenge for the groups attempting to distribute their warez.
By distributing fake file segments into a network, leachers bandwidth is wasted on data fit only for the recycling bin.
The BitTorrent protocol includes checking file segments before uploading them, so the burden of uploading corrupt segments will fall entirely on the attacking group. This must be very bandwidth intensive practice and unsustainable as a swarm grows.
BitTorrent clients also generally ban IP addresses responsible for repeatedly sending bad data, but the group behind these attacks is using too many IP addresses for this to be an effective defense.
Other than some general speculation, EZTV do not know who are behind the attacks.
Six Feet Under and Entorage, both on the pay channel HBO, have been the main targets of the attacks. However, the same tactics could easily be employed against other torrents, whether to protect intellectual property, or just to stop the spread of content a group finds objectionable.
In April, a group called Viralg announced
they had applied for a patent for repeatedly sending corrupted file segments, hence slowing downloads and potentially stopping them from ever completing.
With the help of users, EZTV have compiled a list of IP addresses which have been banned by individual clients. Some users are adding these to their IP-blocker list. The group has no contingency plan if the situation deteriorates.
Until a long term solution is found, EZTV request their users, “Join the channel, support the cause and keep downloading.”