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New Breed of Corrupt Torrent Infiltrates BitTorrent
September 24, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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myBittorrent is a popular BitTorrent listing site used by tens of thousands of individuals each day. It also has become the focus of an individual or group of individuals looking to undermine the integrity of the BitTorrent community. Although false and corrupt files have been a part of the BitTorrent community since its beginning, a new kind is emerging that aims for maximum exposure.

"I think they are doing this to give BitTorrent a bad name,” Rex, the administrator of myBittorrent told Slyck.com.

Of course the proverbial "they" is the real question. According to Rex, about 50 new torrents have been released from what he calls "fake" trackers (~31 in total.) These trackers are seemingly part of an elaborate plot to infiltrate the BitTorrent community with intentionally corrupt files. These movie and film titles are specifically designed to report false information to trackers, thereby gaining artificially inflated popularity.

“In a very short period of time, these false torrents have become most of my top downloads,” Rex told Slyck.com. “I’ve never seen anything else before like it.”

Those who download these torrents are unable to complete a full download, as the file transfer stops at approximately 97%-98%.

Here’s how this clever plot works.

These trackers have published about 50 variant torrents of only three titles, "The Wedding Crashers", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", and the first three episodes of "The O.C." Some titles are published as "DVD-rips" while others are pushed as "XviDs". Others are presented as an English or French releases.

This is done to disguise the origin of the torrent, and also to present a diverse array of choices. For example, if all were DVD-rips, their exposure would be limited to those only with enough bandwidth to download such large films. Having DVD-rips and XviDs exposes the torrent to a wider market.

According to Rex, the torrent originating from false trackers are intentionally reporting false information. For example, a corrupt torrent will report 400 seeds with 3000 leeches. Since the more individuals having a file are indicative of the file’s download speed, it becomes a highly downloaded torrent and aids in its popularity.

The ruse is additionally disguised by spreading the torrent release from over 31 different trackers. Interestingly enough, although the identified trackers have different sub domains, they all originate from the same IP address.

It appears myBittorrent has borne the brunt of this attack; however these types of corrupt torrents have begun to appear on Mininova as well. Since the threat has been identified, the administration of myBittorrent has begun eliminating any torrent files originating from the identified trackers. At this time, the origins of the attack are unknown. But their initial goal of gaining maximum exposure certainly did work, if only for a short while.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: Independent/Other Development

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