As BitTorrent ecosystem is full of doubts and uncertainty, researchers from Delft University of Technology created the very first version of anonymous and decentralized BitTorrent Network. According to lead researcher Professor Pauwelse, “Tribler makes BitTorrent anonymous and impossible to shut down.”
The current shut down of Pirate Bay shows how weak is the landscape of BitTorrent to intrusions.
With a single attack, the biggest torrent site online was dragged offline, pulling down numerous BitTorrent services with it.
The researchers from Delft University of Technology find their way to resolve this problem. With Tribler, the researchers have developed strong BitTorretn Client, which do not depend on the central services. As an alternative, it is designed for keeping BitTorrent alive even if all the torrent search engines, trackers and indexes are being dragged offline.
The recent happenings show that government will never hesitate to block social media, raid the websites, take domain names and confiscate servers. The good thing is that Tribler team has been researching 10 years back in preparation for the server-less solution.
To make the story short, the latest version of Tribler released today is also offering anonymity to the users by this custom-built Tor network. This permits users to publish and share files without distributing their IP address.
Professor Pouwelse said, “The public was beginning to lose battle for internet freedom, but today we are proud to be able to present an attack-resilient and censorship-resilient infrastructure to the rest of the world.
This latest BitTorrent is now released with End-to-End encryption, right after its thorough tests of anonymity feature early this year. Tribler has executed a Tor onion-like routing network that can hide who ever seed or share files. The users may change the “hops” number they use to increase the anonymity.
According to Professor Pouwelse, “Tribler creates a new dedicated network for anonymity that is no way connected to the main Tor Network. By Using Tribler, you became part of a Tor-like network and help others become anonymous.” “That means you no longer have any exposure in any swarm, either downloading or seeding,’ he added.
The disadvantage of this increasing privacy is the using of a higher bandwidth. This is because users themselves are becoming proxies and they also have to relay the other users’ transfers. To add more, this anonymity feature can also slowdown the transfer speeds depending to the other users’ willingness to share.
Professor Pouwelse said that “We are very curious to see how fast anonymous downloads will be. It all depends on how social people are, meaning, if they leave Tribler running and help others automatically to become anonymous. If a lot of Tribler users turn out to be sharing and caring, the speed will be sufficient for a nice downloading experience.
One major feature of Tribler is the decentralization. The users may search files just within the app that finds torrents by other pears instead of using the central server. Once the tracker goes offline, this new BitTorrent can continue downloading with the other users help.
Similar decentralization principles do apply with spam control, which most of the torrent sites are having moderator teams for deleting viruses, fake files and malware. Tribler is utilizing user-generated ‘channels’ that might be liked by other users. More and more people to like this channel, the more torrents will get places to the search engine results.
To top it all, the major goal of Delft University of Technology project is to propose a counterbalance the increasing suppressions and violations of privacy the online world is facing. Maintained by millions of Euros from taxpayer money, Tribler is very confident that they could make internet a little safer for the torrent users.
“The Internet is turning into a privacy nightmare. There are very few initiatives that use strong encryption and onion routing to offer real privacy. Even fewer teams have the resources, the energy, technical skills and scientific know-how to take on the Big and Powerful for a few years,” Pouwelse says.
Following the Pirate raid last week, the Tribler experienced 30% increase of users and hoping that they will grow bigger in the future.