Google Hangout is Going Peer-to-Peer

Google hangout is used for work and personal use, often fighting against Skype for dominant market use. With tweaks and improvements over the horizon, the next change is going to be fundamental to how Hangouts will communicate with each other.

Hangouts suffers from the fundamental flaw that most video and audio communications technology suffer from, the connections. A bad connection often means that video services have to lower the quality of your video and even the audio. Remember when you’re watching Netflix and suddenly realise you are staring at coloured blocks and crackly audio? That’s because the connection you’ve got to the Netflix library is a little bumpy. This is even worse with services like Skype and Hangout when the connection goes from yourself to your contact/s via the service’s own servers, this means you are running through a busy junction in order to reach your destination. Hangouts looks to change this though by going Peer to Peer (this means you will only ever create a connection to your intended contact/s when possible.

If you often use Hangouts you will notice a small change, possibly a large one if you frequently get a bad connection. Could this be the first step to Hangouts becoming the go to communications service for people over the likes of its competition?

How to Stop Windows 10 From Sharing Your Bandwidth

The Windows 10 upgrade procedure is remarkably simple and easily reversed if you prefer an older operating system. To manage the bandwidth demands, Microsoft uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) system which allows your network to host the data for additional machines. However, a number of Reddit users discovered the P2P update delivery protocol extended to computers outside of your network and across the globe. Subsequently, this can reduce your download and upload bandwidth as you seed the data to other Windows users.

Currently, there’s no substantial evidence which estimates the impact of the worldwide P2P delivery. It’s clear this has caused some concern and can be manually disabled via the following process:

Firstly, click the “Start Menu” and select the “Settings” tab.

This should open a new window and you need to click on the “Update & Security” sub-menu.

Navigate to the “Windows Update” option on the left side panel, and click “Advanced Options”.

This next menu simply involves scrolling down to the bottom and clicking on “Choose how updates are delivered”.

Once complete, change the highlighted option to “PCs on my local network”. Doing so will disable network sharing across the internet and restrict your bandwidth to a local connection.

In real terms, I’m not entirely convinced the network sharing will have a major impact on the average user’s internet connection. Although, some people may oppose the idea of using their own network to manage traffic instead of Microsoft building a greater networking infrastructure.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

BitTorrent Wants to Offer More P2P Freedom on Mobile Devices With New App

BitTorrent just announced a new mobile app named Shoot that is based around P2P connectivity between individuals. While this sounds good to some people, others may think that this is a new means to start a piracy war on mobile devices. I mean, come on? Secure Peer-to-Peer connectivity on mobile devices and BitTorrent? What’s next, The Mobile Bay?

The company may have good intentions for releasing their new Shoot app to anyone looking to transfer photos and some big videos on the go, but I’m fairly sure the app will not be used exactly for what they have in mind. BitTorrent Shoot is said to be based on their Sync technology already available on all major mobile devices.

“Shoot allows you to send photos or videos directly between mobile devices, no matter what device you use or what network you’re on. Based on BitTorrent Sync technology, large items are no problem. And since files move directly between people without going through the cloud, it’s all fully private to you and the recipient.”

BitTorrent Shoot is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone and allows 3 sends for free. If you like to send more, you have to couch up $1.99. A good thing about it is that you can receive an unlimited number of files, even if you haven’t bought it. So what do you think? Is it really worth its price?

Image courtesy of BitTorrent

Hola CEO Responds to Botnet Controversy

Hola, the peer-to-peer (P2P) VPN provider, was recently accused of allowing its customers’ network to be used to form botnets to launch malicious cyber-attacks. A group of researchers, under the banner Adios, discovered that up to 47 million people could have been inadvertently providing hackers with enough bandwidth to launch massive DDoS attacks. Now, Hola’s CEO Ofer Vilenski has spoken out about the controversy, insisting that accusations of negligence against the company are unfair, denying that its customers form part of a botnet, and that its policy for sharing user bandwidth through P2P was transparent from the start.

“There have been some terrible accusations against Hola which we feel are unjustified,” Vilenski said in a post on Hola’s website. He went on to explain what he calls the “three issues” regarding the allegations:

1. Hola is about sharing resources

We assumed that by stating that Hola is a P2P network, it was clear that people were sharing their bandwidth with the community network in return for their free service. After all, people have been doing that for years with services like Skype. It was not clear to all our users, and we want it to be completely clear.

We have changed our site and product installation flows to make it crystal clear that Hola is P2P, and that you are sharing your resources with others. This information is now “in your face” – and no longer appears only in the FAQ.

2. Does Hola make you part of a botnet?

No! Hola makes its money by selling its VPN service to businesses for legitimate commercial purposes, such as brand monitoring (checking the prices of their products in various stores), self test (checking how their corporate site looks from multiple countries), anti ad fraud (ensuring that the adverts are not inserted enroute to use), etc.

There was some concern that by selling our VPN services to enterprise customers, we were possibly exposing our users to cyber criminal traffic that could get them in trouble (Thus the ‘botnet’ accusation). The reality is that we have a record of the real identification and traffic of the Luminati [Hola’s commercial name] users, such that if a crime is committed, we can report this to the authorities, and thus the criminal is immediately identified. This makes the Hola/Luminati network unattractive to criminals – as opposed to Tor for example, which provides them complete anonymity for free.

Last week a spammer used Luminati by posing as a corporation. He passed through our filters and was able to take advantage of our network. We analyzed the incident, and built the necessary measures in our processes to ensure that such incidents do not occur, and deactivated his service. We will cooperate with any investigation of the incident to ensure that he will be punished to the fullest extent.

3. Vulnerability of the Hola client

Part of the growing pains of creating a new service can be vulnerability to attack. It has happened to everyone (Apple iCloud, Snapchat, Skype, Sony, Evernote, Microsoft…), and now, to Hola. Two vulnerabilities were found in our product this past week. This means that there was a risk of a hacker being able to operate remote code on some devices that Hola is installed on. The hackers who identified these issues did their job, and we did our job by fixing them. In fact, we fixed both vulnerabilities within a few hours of them being published and pushed an update to all our community. We are now undergoing an internal security review, as well as an external audit we have committed to with one of the big 4 auditing companies’ cyber auditing team.

It’s a strong defence, but is contradicted by the findings of numerous security firms that the VPN is still riddled with security holes that can be easily exploited by hackers.

Image courtesy of TechRadar.

Is Netflix Planning to Implement P2P Streaming?

Inspired perhaps by pirate home cinema app Popcorn Time, it seems Netflix is considering peer-to-peer (P2P) support for its video streaming service. A recent job post by the company for a Senior Software Engineer suggests that it sees P2P as the latest technological step for its media platform, which specifically lists BitTorrent and P2P as desirable skills.

The job listing reads:

We are looking for an experienced, talented and highly-motivated Senior Software Engineer with a strong background in networking and full-stack web application development. Our team is evaluating up-and-coming content distribution technologies, and we are seeking a highly talented senior engineer to grow the knowledge base in the area of peer-to-peer technologies and lead the technology design and prototyping effort.

As a senior member of the team, you will be expected to drive the requirements of the project throughout its lifecycle: architecture/design, implementation, testing, release (for internal use), evaluation and support. You will need to exhibit strong leadership and communication skills, while successfully setting and executing on the engineering and release priorities in a dynamic application development environment. This is a great opportunity to enhance your full-stack development skills, and simultaneously grow your knowledge of the state of the art in peer-to-peer content distribution and network optimization techniques.

Minimum Job Qualifications:

– You are curious about and analyze systems that other people take for granted

– You like to figure out how systems work and how you can improve them

– You have at least five years of full-stack web application software development experience

– You have a solid understanding of how to make systems and software more secure

– You have a successful track record of delivering quality results in cross-functional projects

– You have solid understanding of the software development process and the task involved 

– You have experience with peer-to-peer protocols such as the BitTorrent protocol

The move to P2P makes a lot of sense, increasing streaming quality while reducing overheads, priming Netflix to launch more 4K content to even more customers.

Thank you Torrent Freak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

UK Solicitor Will Defend You Free Against Copyright Trolls

More and more customers of UK ISPs have received letters from copyright trolls in recent weeks, demanding settlement fees for alleged illegal downloads and threatening with lawsuits if not paid. Both Sky Broadband and Virgin Media customers are affected, but not exclusively.

The companies behind it all, GoldenEye International also known as Mircom, had monitored torrents and then forced the ISPs to hand out the personal details based on those logs and now they hope that the people receiving the letters will be too scared to go to court and just pay up to get peace. But that’s generally a bad idea, as paying is the same as admitting guilt and they’ll drag you into the courtroom anyway.

But there is good news for the receivers of these letters as the Southampton-based Micheal Coyle of the Lawdit Solicitors told TorrentFreak that he would give his time free to defend them. Coyle is one of the most experienced UK-based solicitors in the file-sharing arena. Since 2008 he has spoken with or acted for more than 700 individuals who have received so-called Letters of Claim, including those involved in the infamous ACS:Law case that ended with solicitor Andrew Crossley being severely disciplined.

“I am a Copyright Solicitor and regularly enforce copyright where it has been infringed. People should respect the copyright of third parties. However, are some copyright holders abusing the great British public?” Micheal Coyle questions. “The amounts are quite staggering. In the most recent campaign 2500 letters were sent out. Typical sums demanded are in the range of £500 to £1000. If everyone pays say £700.00 this would generate £1,750,000 which is not bad even for the porn industry.”

There is one minor string attached, but it’s a good one. Coyle is a regular runner of the London Marathon and has raised thousands for children’s charities while doing so. If people want his help in these cases they’re going to have to get generously via this year’s donation page.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of DieTrollDie

Popcorn Time Attempts a new P2P Approach to Slip Past Legal Action

‘Free’ movie sharing service, Popcorn Time, has gone through a number of lawsuits in the past for its attempt to provide its users with pirated movies. However, the service is attempting another comeback and by adopting peer-to-peer based services.

Popcorn Time believes that hosting data directly with its users and no longer relying on domains and centralised servers might slip past legal action that can be taken against them. Reports say that the approach is similar to what BitTorrent is currently using, allowing the service to work even if the main servers are down.

The application is said to also be getting a security update, more specifically, encrypted updates. This is said to prevent malicious code slipping into the community by using a series of cryptographic signatures for its software updates.

While P2P has been used by others in the past and proven to be unsuccessful, the service states that it will be its “sweetest revenge” and “biggest victory” yet.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

Microsoft to Use P2P to Deliver Windows 10 Updates

The latest leaked build of in-development operating system Windows 10 shows that Microsoft is moving towards using peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol to deliver system updates. A new option in the Windows 10 build allows users to enable “updates from more than one place,” applicable to both OS updates and apps, in an effort to expedite downloads.

Ordinarily, Windows updates and apps are downloaded directly from Microsoft’s servers, but activating P2P distribution allows files to, potentially, be made available from a greater volume of sources. The move could have been in the works for the past two years, since Microsoft bought P2P software manufacturers Pando Networks back in 2013.

Microsoft is yet to officially announce its shift towards P2P distribution, but the next Windows 10 Technical Preview, which is due soon, is likely to include the option.

Source: The Verge

iFlix Allows You to Instantly Watch and Listen to Torrents on Android

A new app for Android makes viewing torrents easier than ever before. iFlix takes over after clicking on a magnet link, playing video and music in a clean interface. There’s no need to wait for a torrent to complete and skipping can be achieved in just a few moments.

While this in itself isn’t anything new, there aren’t any complicated settings to make in order to get it to work. It also has both interesting roots and future plans. The base for the idea came from another app by the same developer, one that allows parents to keep an eye on their kids while attending kindergarten.

Having bandwidth issues forced the developers to take a look at distributed systems similar to torrents which then lead to this new app. But it doesn’t stop here:

“iFlix is a product that’s’s based on a platform that I am trying to create. This platform is intended to be a P2P compute grid based on the Bitcoin protocol where instead of computing hashes to mine coins you compute different tasks, e.g ‘fetch the first two chunks from the magnet:x’ which iFlix does at this moment,” the developer Vali explains. “At this moment the engine behind the platform is based on the Google SPDY protocol and the purpose of iFlix is to measure the scalability of the engine.”

Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

AT&T Patents Fast Lane for File-Sharing Traffic

Either AT&T knows something we don’t or they’ve been awarded one of the most pointless – yet useful – patents so far. The new patent granted to AT&T is for a ‘fast lane’ designed to speed up BitTorrent and P2P file transfers while decreasing the impact they have on the infrastructure.

Peer to peer traffic accounts for a lot of petabytes of data, so it seems a logical choice for an ISP to optimize it. However, with the net-neutrality debate which has been going on, it’s unlikely to ever be introduced. Neutrality goes both ways, no traffic is to be treated differently.

The new patent is titled System and Method to Guide Active Participation in Peer-to-Peer Systems with Passive Monitoring Environment and involves both local caching by the ISP and interpretation of the data to server the packets as fast as possible without bottlenecking the own system.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

BitTorrent Unveils Serverless Encrypted Chat App “Bleep”

The market is already flooded with instant messaging and chat applications: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Skype, Google Hangouts….the list goes on. However, what do all those chat applications share? A centralised server system. That is something BitTorrent’s Bleep does not have. Their new alpha messaging service relies on fully encrypted and decentralised messaging, based on peer-to-peer connections. What are the advantages of this? Well there is no risk of the centralised server being hacked, exposing your private details, there’s also no risk of snooping governments being able to read through your messages and spy on you.

Bleep is BitTorrent’s more polished version of BitTorrent chat which they announced almost a year ago. BitTorrent offers significant advantages over other messaging apps which claim to be secure, as BitTorrent note:

“Many messaging apps advertising privacy and security by offering end-to-end encryption for messages. But when it comes to handling metadata, they are still leaving their users exposed.”

Not to mention that even secure messaging services have to store some data, even if it is encrypted, and at legal request they can be forced to disclose this information along with the encryption keys required to access them. A P2P service does not suffer from this problem since the information is spread over a massive network, therefore legal notices served to BitTorrent would result in law enforcement agencies acquiring absolutely no information.

Check out more details of the new BitTorrent Bleep software at the source link.

Source: BitTorrent

Image courtesy of BitTorrent

Google Chromecast Receives Support for Pirated Movies through Popcorn-Time

The beta software program dedicated to provide ‘free’ movies, Popcorn-Time, has apparently announced that its software is now Chromecast-compatible for Windows users, having stated that a Chromecast version update is also being worked on for Mac users.

The cheap Chromecast device is Google’s product that allows users to send video from the Chrome browser or Netflix/Youtube service to your TV. Having Google’s announcements of pending updates for the Chromecast device last month, which includes the ability to mirror anything on an Android device to a TV, it makes sense for audio and video software makers to target such devices.

However, Popcorn-Time is an open-source project launched this year. gaining popularity through its easy-to-use interface and free content available. The content itself is basically a collection of video torrent links, which apparently stream the selected movie or video directly onto your device. It is currently compatible with Windows, Mac and Android devices.

Google appears to have not responded immediately to the given news, but its action to take down the Popcorn Time android version from the Google Store within 24h of its launch can only mean that the company will not be thrilled with something like this either.

Thank you CNN for providing us with this information

The Pirate Bay Plans To Beat Censorship For Good This Year

The Pirate Bay had a lot of battles to do last year, having their domains taken down by court-orders and resurfacing around the world with new domains. This did not discourage Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde or Fredrik Neij, the founders of TPD, and furthermore, they plan on beating the censorship for good this time.

They plan on dropping the servers and relying on P2P connections, while the website will serve as an alternative DNS. For those who are not familiar with, The Pirate Bay released a tool named PirateBrowser that lets you access the website and bypass the IPS restrictions. Now they are working in making it create its own P2P network through which sites can be accessed without restrictions.

“The goal is to create a browser-like client to circumvent censorship, including domain blocking, domain confiscation, IP-blocking. This will be accomplished by sharing all of a site’s indexed data as P2P downloadable packages, that are then browsed/rendered locally,” a Pirate Bay insider explains.””It’s basically a browser-like app that uses webkit to render pages, BitTorrent to download the content while storing everything locally,” he adds.

The website updates will be incremental so as not to download the entire site every day. The disk space required is said to vary between a few megabytes up to several gigabytes for larger torrent index. The main idea is that there is no central IP address, therefore it cannot be blocked by any ISP.

TPB has big ideas in the works this year, and given the following information, they can even pull this off and offer a pool of torrents once more, without censorship. Let’s just hope that P2P transfers don’t become illegal through some other law in the works.

Thank you Torrent Freak for providing us with this infomration

BitTorrent Labs Reveal BitTorrent Chat Alpha – Encrypted P2P Messaging Service

If all the recent media coverage of government surveillance and companies handing over bulk data has got you worried then BitTorrent Labs could have something ideal for you. BitTorrent have developed their own chat service called BitTorrent Chat which is currently in alpha stages. The chat service using encrypted peer to peer communications and has no central server where data is stored because files are based on peer to peer transfer. In essence this means all files are sent between the computers of the chat participants and fully encrypted along the way. There is a server that needs to be connected to upon joining the network but this stores no information and simply acts like a BitTorrent Tracker.

BitTorrent chat is currently in a private Alpha phase where you must sign up to get the chance to test the program, you can sign up at the official website here.

BitTorrent chat certainly has the potential to be very popular for those who just want some privacy and security. Maybe the service will even make it into an app form at a later date – we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Image courtesy of BitTorrent Labs