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Torrentheads Know How To Identify Trackers

It is now a well established fact that torrent files are the primary suspects in any sort of copyright infringement case. This is why the authorities and several private tracking agencies have come up with a way to monitor popular files on the internet and identify if they are in violation of copyright laws or not. If found to be illegal, the copyright holder has all the freedom to take any course of action that he/she feels is necessary. Copyright laws are very strict and legal procedure will most likely mean the shutting down of the torrent site.

However, researchers in a leading state university, the University of Birmingham, have come up with a way of identifying the trackers, or monitors, from the downloader group. Although this is a good way of ensuring that copyright laws are not broken, we can see that this finding benefits the pirates more.

Download IP is Logged In a Database Within Three Hours Of A Download

Researchers identified in their study that IP addresses of the users of file sharing sites are stored in a database for a number of reasons including targeting, email DB building, number tracking, etc. These are not necessarily intrusion of privacy as there is no record of the logs being used for other purposes.

While you may feel that this is a cause of concern for torrent sites as their data is being collected somewhere and might be used against them, it is in fact an advantage for them. The researchers said that in what apparently is the ‘arms race’ between the copyright law enforcers and the pirates, this procedure benefits the pirates more.

Security Monitors Pose As Downloader But There Are Apparent Differences

Although this is not a very well known fact, security monitors that are responsible for tracking illegal torrent files actually pose as downloader. They will log into the torrent site and download the data through the torrent clients for verifying is copyright laws are being broken. This is a definitive way of establishing that the law is broken with evidence. But there is a catch here.

Researchers got their hands on the data of some of the leading torrent sites, like The Pirate Bay, and found out that there are many distinguishable differences in regular leechers and trackers. The primary difference that they noticed was that trackers never downloaded the full file. Obviously, this seems like the logical thing to do as all they need is a clip and not the whole file.  Another noteworthy difference was the high frequency of the same IP appearing on multiple latest torrents. This is also a fairly logical thing to do for the security agencies as they have to monitor all the files. But these two differences, along with many other minor ones, have provided a way for the pirates to protect themselves.

If Smart, Pirates Can Protect Themselves

The conclusion of this study was that if pirates were smart enough to notice these trends, they could effectively protect themselves from the tracking computers. These worry free torrents sites have all the liberty to either bar that IP, or redirect it to a mirror site, feed it fake data, or any other means of stealth technique can be employed.

It is clear from this research that the techniques used by the tracking companies are not foolproof and there is a lot of work to be done in developing a more comprehensive monitoring system. Piracy still continues in spite of all these efforts by the government and copyright holders and there is a good chance that it has grown to a level where it cannot be brought down.

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