How To: Avoid Being “Tracked 100% of The Time” When Using P2P and Bittorent (Noob Friendly)

12 10 2007

According to researchers at UC Riverside, “use a blocklist or you will be tracked… 100% of the time“. That’s an awful statistic. It comes from an article found on Ars Technica, so you know its pretty darn reputable information. I recommend you read the whole article (already linked up there). However, here is a small excerpt:

Title: P2P researchers: use a blocklist or you will be tracked… 100% of the time
The old cliché “You’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you” turns out to apply quite nicely to the world of P2P file-sharing. A trio of intrepid researchers from the University of California-Riverside decided to see just how often a P2P user might be tracked by content owners. Their startling conclusion: “naive” users will exchange data with such “fake users” 100 percent of the time.

Sources: ARS TECHNICA via HACK THE PLANET rss

Basically, at the very least, you need to use a blocklist or you are gonna get ThomASS’d (aka sued). I can just imagine many users out there thinking, “What’s a blocklist? Where do I get one? How do I use it? OMG, OMFG, WTF DO I DO?”

CALM DOWN!!! JUST TAKE A DEEP BREATH, TMBBITW is here to help. And by help we mean, offer up some information. Below we will lay out some resources, links and downloads that, when used, will ease you worries.

Now, a blocklist in and of itself is simple, its a list. A list of IP addresses, and some IP ranges, that are known to be essentially bad. By “bad” we mean that those IP’s are people or machines that are either tracking what you are doing or passing data to you that you do not want. An application on your computer uses a blocklist to stop those IP’s from connecting to your computer. Are you getting that warm fuzzy feeling of being informed yet? Well, keep reading.

Here are the most basic blocklist/P2P safety resources:

  • P2PNet: The original daily p2p and digital news site. Always First!
  • Slyck: Great site to learn how to use P2P services safely.
  • PhoenixLabs: These guys have been creating blocklists since forever and they also run blocklist.org.
    • Created (Windows/Mac Only): Peerguardian (app that keeps your blocklists updated and integrates with your P2P app)
  • Blocklist Manager : A free utility to download, merge, sort, and export IP lists in a variety of formats.
  • Protowall: A free utility that blocks undesired connections, to and from your computer via blocklist.
  • Protowall Mods: Cleric’s Protowall Mods

Now you’re wondering what P2P or BitTorent clients should I use. See below:

  • Azureus: BT Client that can update its own blocklists.
  • uTorrent: Small fast BT client with great traffic encryption.
  • BitCommet: BT app, written in C++, best for people behind a school firewall. Encrypts packet headers. This is for those that can not use port forwarding.
  • LimeWire: P2P app using the Gnutella network, that is great for small files. However you will need Peerguardian or Protowall, because it does not natively support any ipfilter or blocklist.
  • FrostWire: Based on LimeWire Pro, a free open source app that comes with some linux distributions. Still need Peerguardian or Protowall.

At the very least, those two lists above contain all you need. Something to go all P2P with, and a way to use a blocklist. You can use peerguardian and uTorrent, or Azureus and set up its IPfiltering option, or if you’re all Gnutella is good BT is hard… you can use FrostWire and peerguardian. As you can see there are lots of options.

For the sake of speed: You will probably need to open a port, via your firewall application or router software, in order for uTorrent or Azureas to let connections in using DHT (distributed hash tables, google it). This WILL speed everything up alot.

So you’re all done, you can go out and not ever be tracked, right? Well, sort of. You are pretty safe. However, there are some applications that you can use to actually try and mask your real IP address. Its an extra measure of security instead of just keeping the bad IPs out. These are the best, free, anonymity apps out there:

  • TOR: The Onion Router – Can help to hide your IP.
  • Privoxy: Helps to secure TOR even more.
  • Putty: Telnet/SSH client that can be used to secure your traffic going out to a Tor node.
    • NOTE: Using Putty and Tor together is a pretty complicated process, so you may want to skip this. If you’re up to it, read this tutorial.
    • Thanks to dBlackshell here are two more links on proxies from InsaneSecurity: one and two
  • JAP: Java based anonymity app. Some like it better than TOR some don’t.

In order for the above applications to work, you need to configure your P2P or BT client to connect to the internet THROUGH them. Tor has great instructions for this on their site. You can also configure your browser to go through those anonymity apps. The big drawback here is loss of speed. Any proxy based application will slow down your internets. Its a trade off that’s totally up to you.

You MUST know by now that you will eventually need more information, but you are afraid. Why? Because search engines like google and yahoo keep tabs on what you are searching for. For anonymous searching use:

As one can see, there are alot of resources out there to TRY and make your P2P life safe from being tracked. However, as with anything you do on the net, you will never be 100% anonymous. Its like having sex, sure there’s no 100% effective safe sex, but a condom is damn close enough to let you go at it. Just remember to keep your lists updated as well as your software. Now go be safe.

Got questions? Post them in the comments. (Note: This needs some Major editing, cause it was late and I got too tired to finish polishing it up)

*TMBBITW does not condone or support illegal file sharing in any form. In fact, TMBBITW and its writers promote, and fully support, Free Open Source Software, legal DRM-free music, Open Music and all sorts of nice legal things. Things that keep programmers employed and running your internets and creating games and all that good stuff.







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