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?

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.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOaOycHcNO0

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.

Facebook Messenger is Now Available on Web Browsers

It looks like Facebook has brought its Messenger counterpart to web browsers. Though users can chat with their Facebook friends inside Facebook.com as they did up until now, the Messenger.com looks to work and look like a mobile version of Facebook’s Messenger, but for the Web.

A Facebook representative told Re/Code that the Messenger for Web is dedicated towards messaging, having it not display all other News Feed distractions that you would have in the Facebook.com page. The company also does not have plans on removing the messaging feature from Facebook.com, at least for now.

The chat feature was previously removed from the mobile Facebook app and wired to work alongside it with the help of Messenger app in order to add more features, according to Facebook. Since then, the Peer-to-Peer payments feature and a new Developer Platform have cropped up for the messaging app.

It turns out that Messanger.com will include support for all the features available in the mobile version, as well as multiple languages. However, the Web variant of the Messenger currently has support for the English language, with more to come in the near future.

Thank you Re/Code for providing us with this information

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

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’s Peer-To-Peer Chat Will Help Protect Your Identity

Privacy concerns easily made the biggest headlines this year, with NSA spying and well… every other government also spying on everyone else pretty much all the time, security breaches at major companies that effected millions of users and hacking being a bigger problem than ever, it’s easy to see why more and more people want to go the extra mile to making sure their data is safe.

BitTorrent Chat may have a solution to one problem, by offering strong encryption on a messaging service. Instead of a username, you’ll have a cryptographic key pair, effectively making it impossible for other people to guess your identity. Security is further enhanced with the use of distributed hast tables (DHTs), which is similar to the underlying technology used in software such as uTorrent. Message requests are passed securely along the network, negating the need for a central server.

The software doesn’t have a release date just yet, but given that they recently called out for Alpha testers we hope it will not be too long.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Server-Free Internet Could Become A Reality In The Future

Researchers at Cambridge University have developed a proof-of-concept for a new server-free Internet architecture. The prototype was developed as part of the €5.2 million project PURSUIT that comprises representatives from European research institutes, universities and telecommunication companies. The revolutionary new Internet architecture is designed to meet the ever-growing traffic requirements of web services and security concerns of Internet users.

As of today, online data is stored on servers residing at different locations around the globe. Data requests made by client devices like PCs, tablets or smartphones are fulfilled by the geographically closest server, making the information exchange quick but server dependent. This centralized approach opens the door to problems like server attacks and traffic overloading. Also, users have less control over how and when their data is accessed.

PURSUIT users wouldn’t have to face these security and privacy problems as the architecture does away with the need of individual computers connecting to dedicated servers. Instead, it uses a peer-to-peer information sharing technique which enables individual computers to copy and republish data on receipt.

This, if deployed, would replace the existing client-server based TCP/IP networking model and could radically change the way information is stored, searched and shared online. Users would be able to fetch the requested data (or smaller data fragments) from a wide range of computers around the world and online search engines would look for URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) rather than URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).

The project builds upon other successful projects like TRILOGY and PSIRP, and won the Future Internet Award 2013 at FIA (Future Internet Assembly) in Dublin, earlier this year.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information.
Video courtesy of TechSpot