Bittorrent Seminar Report by Shyam Prakash


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BitTorrent is the name of a peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution protocol, and is the name of a free software implementation of that protocol. The protocol was originally designed and created by programmer Bram Cohen, and is now maintained by BitTorrent Inc

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Bittorrent Seminar Report by Shyam Prakash

  1. 1. BITTORRENT Seminar Report Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science Engineering of Cochin University Of Science And Technology by SHYAM PRAKASH (12080079) DIVISION OF COMPUTER SCIENCE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING COCHIN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY KOCHI-682022 SEPETEMBER 2010Division of Computer Engineering Page 1
  2. 2. DIVISION OF COMPUTER SCIENCE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING COCHIN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY KOCHI-682022 Certificate Certified that this is a bonafide record of the seminar entitled “BITTORRENT” presented by the following student “SHYAM PRAKASH” of the VII semester, Computer Science and Engineering in the year 2010 in partial fulfillment of the requirements in the award of Degree of Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering of Cochin University of Science and Technology. Ms. SHEKHA S Dr. DAVID PETER S SEMINAR GUIDE HEAD OF DIVISIONDivision of Computer Engineering Page 2
  3. 3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTI thank GOD almighty for guiding me throughout the seminar. I would like to thank all thosewho have contributed to the completion of the seminar and helped me with valuablesuggestions for improvement.I am extremely grateful to Dr. David Peter, Head Of Division, Division of ComputerScience, for providing me with best facilities and atmosphere for the creative work guidanceand encouragement. I would like to thank my coordinator Mr.Sudeep Elayidom andSeminar guide Ms. Shekha S Lecturer, Division of Computer Science, for all help andsupport extend to me. I thank all Staff members of my college and friends for extending theircooperation during my seminar.Above all I would like to thank my parents without whose blessings, I would not have beenable to accomplish my goal. SHYAM PRAKASHDivision of Computer Engineering Page 3
  4. 4. ABSTRACTBitTorrent is the name of a peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution protocol, and isthe name of a free software implementation of that protocol. The protocol wasoriginally designed and created by programmer Bram Cohen, and is nowmaintained by BitTorrent Inc. BitTorrent is designed to distribute large amountsof data widely without incurring the corresponding consumption in costly serverand bandwidth resources. CacheLogic suggests that BitTorrent traffic accountsfor 55% of all traffic on the Internet, while other sources are skeptical.Theoriginal BitTorrent client was written in Python. Its source code, as of versionhas been released under the BitTorrent Open Source License, which is amodified version of the Jabber Open Source License. There are numerouscompatible clients, written in a variety of programming languages, and runningon a variety of computing platforms.Division of Computer Engineering Page 4
  5. 5. Table contents page noCHAPTER 1 ------------------------------------------------------- 1INTRODUCTION -------------------------------------------------------1 1.1 OVERVIEW -------------------------------------------------- 1 1.2 HISTORY ----------------------------------------------------- 1CHAPTER 2 ----------------------------------------------------------- 2BITTORRENT AND OTHER APPROACHES ----------------------- 3 2.1 OTHER P2P METHODS ---------------------------------- 3 2.2 A TYPICAL HTTP FILE TRANSFER ---------------- 3 2.3 THE DAP METHOD -------- ----------------------------------- 4 2.4 THE BITTORRENT APPROACH -------------------- 5CHAPTER 3 ------------------------------------------------------- .6WORKING OF BITTORRENT -------------------------------- 8CHAPTER 4 ----------------------------------------------------------- .8TERMINOLOGY ------------------------------------------------- 12CHAPTER 5 ------------------------------------------------------- 12ARCHITECTURE OF BITTORRENT ---------------------- .14 5.1 METAINFO FILE ------- ------------------------------------ 14 5.1.1 BENCODING : ------- ------------------------------------- 15 5.1.2 METAINFO FILE DISTRIBUTION -----------------------16 5.2 TRACKER . --------- ----------------------------------------17 5.2.1 SCRAPING ---------- --------------------------------------- 18 5.3 PEERS ---------------- ---------------------------------------- 20 5.3.1 PIECE SELECTION ----------------------------------- 21 5.3.2 RANDOM FIRST PIECE ---------------------------- 21 5.3.3 RAREST FIRST ---------------------------------------- 22 5.3.4 ENDGAME MODE - ------------------------------------22 5.3.5 PEER DISTRIBUTION ------------------------------- 22 5.3.6 CHOKING ----------------------------------------------- 22 5.3.7 OPTIMISTIC UNCHOKING ------------------------23 5.3.8 COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PEERS ------- 24 5.3.9 HANDSHAKING -------------------------------------- 24Division of Computer Engineering Page 5
  6. 6. 5.3.10 MESSAGE STREAM ------------------------------- 24 5.4 DATA --------------------------------------------------------- 27 5.4.1 PIECE SIZE --------------------------------------------- 27 5.5 BITTORRENT CLIENTS --------------------------------- 28 5.6 SUB PROTOCOLS : ---------------------------------------- 29 5.6.1 THP: TRACKER HTTP PROTOCOL ------------ 29 5.6.2 PWP: PEER WIRE PROTOCOL ------------------- 31CHAPTER 6 ------------------------------------------------------------- .34VULNERABILITIES OF BITTORRENT ------------------------------ .34 6.1ATTACKS ON BITTORRENT --------------------------- 34 6.1.1 POLLUTION ATTACK ------------------------------ 34 6.1.2 DDOS ATTACK --------------------------------------- 34 6.1.3 BANDWIDTH SHAPING --------------------------- 35 6.2 SOLUTIONS ------------------------------------------------ 35 6.2.1 POLLUTION ATTACK ------------------------------ 35 6.2.2 DDOS ATTACK --------------------------------------- 37 6.2.3 BANDWIDTH SHAPING --------------------------- 39CHAPTER 7 -------------------------------------------------------- 40CONCLUSION ----------------------------------------------------- 40CHAPTER 8 --------------------------------------------------------- .41REFERENCES ------------------------------------------------------41Division of Computer Engineering Page 6
  7. 7. Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION1.1 Overview BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used to distribute large amountsof data. BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files. Its mainusage is for the transfer of large sized files. It makes transfer of such files easier byimplementing a different approach. A user can obtain multiple files simultaneously withoutany considerable loss of the transfer rate. It is said to be a lot better than the conventional filetransfer methods because of a different principle that is followed by this protocol. It alsoevens out the way a file is shared by allowing a user not just to obtain it but also to share itwith others. This is what has made a big difference between this and the conventional filetransfer methods. It makes a user to share the file he is obtaining so that the other users whoare trying to obtain the same file would find it easier and also in turn making these users toinvolve themselves in the file sharing process. Thus the larger the number of users the moreis the demand and more easily a file can be transferred between them. BitTorrent protocol has been built on a technology which makes it possible todistribute large amounts of data without the need of a high capacity server, and expensivebandwidth. This is the most striking feature of this file transfer protocol. The transferring offiles will never depend on a single source which is supposed the original copy of the file butinstead the load will be distributed across a number of such sources. Here not just the sourcesare responsible for file transfer but also the clients or users who want to obtain the file areinvolved in this process. This makes the load get distributed evenly across the users and thusmaking the main source partially free from this process which will reduce the network trafficimposed on it. Because of this, BitTorrent has become one of the most popular file transfermechanisms in today’s world. Though the mechanism itself is not as simple as an ordinaryfile transfer protocol, it has gained its popularity because of the sharing policy that it imposeson its users. This fact is quite obvious, since the recent surveys made by variousorganizations show that 35% of the overall internet traffic is because of BitTorrent. Thisshows that the amount of files that are being transferred and shared by users throughBitTorrent is very huge.Division of Computer Engineering Page 7
  8. 8. 1.2 History BitTorrent was created by a programmer named Bram Cohen. After inventing thisnew technology he said, "I decided I finally wanted to work on a project that people wouldactually use, would actually work and would actually be fun". Before this was invented, therewere other techniques for file sharing but they were not utilizing the bandwidth effectively.The bandwidth had become a bottleneck in such methods. Even other peer to peer file sharingsystems like Napster and Kazaa had the capability of sharing files by making the usersinvolve in the sharing process, but they required only a subset of users to share the files notall. This meant that most of the users can simply download the files without being needed toupload. So this again put a lot of network load on the original sources and on small number ofusers. This led to inefficient usage of bandwidth of the remaining users. This was the mainintention behind Cohen’s invention, i.e., to make the maximum utilization of all the users’bandwidth who are involved in the sharing of files. By doing so, every person who wants todownload a file had to contribute towards the uploading process also. This new and novelconcept of Cohen gave birth to a new peer to peer file sharing protocol called BitTorrent.Cohen invented this protocol in April 2001. The first usable version of BitTorrent appeared inOctober 2002, but the system needed a lot of fine-tuning. BitTorrent really started to take offin early 2003 when it was used to distribute a new version of Linux and fans of Japaneseanime started relying on it to share cartoons. The most important part of this protocol thatmatters a lot about this is that it makes it possible for people with limited bandwidth to supplyvery popular files. This means that if you are a small software developer you can put up apackage, and if it turns out that millions of people want it, they can get it from each other inan automated way. Thus the bandwidth which used to be a bottleneck in previous systems nolonger poses a problem.Division of Computer Engineering Page 8
  9. 9. Chapter 2 BITTORRENT AND OTHER APPROACHES2.1 Other P2P methods The most common method by which files are transferred on the Internet is the client-server model. A central server sends the entire file to each client that requests it, this is howboth http and ftp work. The clients only speak to the server, and never to each other. Themain advantages of this method are that its simple to set up, and the files are usually alwaysavailable since the servers tend to be dedicated to the task of serving, and are always on andconnected to the Internet. However, this model has a significant problem with files that arelarge or very popular, or both. Namely, it takes a great deal of bandwidth and serverresources to distribute such a file, since the server must transmit the entire file to each client.Perhaps you may have tried to download a demo of a new game just released, or CD imagesof a new Linux distribution, and found that all the servers report "too many users," or there isa long queue that you have to wait through. The concept of mirrors partially addresses thisshortcoming by distributing the load across multiple servers. But it requires a lot ofcoordination and effort to set up an efficient network of mirrors, and its usually only feasiblefor the busiest of sites. Another method of transferring files has become popular recently: the peer-to-peernetwork, systems such as Kazaa, eDonkey, Gnutella, Direct Connect, etc. In most of thesenetworks, ordinary Internet users trade files by directly connecting one-to-one. The advantagehere is that files can be shared without having access to a proper server, and because of thisthere is little accountability for the contents of the files. Hence, these networks tend to bevery popular for illicit files such as music, movies, pirated software, etc. Typically, adownloader receives a file from a single source, however the newest version of some clientsallow downloading a single file from multiple sources for higher speeds. The problemdiscussed above of popular downloads is somewhat mitigated, because theres a greaterchance that a popular file will be offered by a number of peers. The breadth of files availabletends to be fairly good, though download speeds for obscure files tend to be low. Anothercommon problem sometimes associated with these systems is the significant protocoloverhead for passing search queries amongst the peers, and the number of peers that one canreach is often limited as a result. Partially downloaded files are usually not available to otherpeers, although some newer clients may offer this functionality. Availability is generallyDivision of Computer Engineering Page 9
  10. 10. dependent on the goodwill of the users, to the extent that some of these networks have tried toenforce rules or restrictions regarding send/receive ratios.Use of the Usenet binarynewsgroups is yet another method of file distribution, one that is substantially different fromthe other methods. Files transferred over Usenet are often subject to miniscule windows ofopportunity. Typical retention time of binary news servers are often as low as 24 hours, andhaving a posted file available for a week is considered a long time. However, the Usenetmodel is relatively efficient, in that the messages are passed around a large web of peers fromone news server to another, and finally fanned out to the end user from there. Often the enduser connects to a server provided by his or her ISP, resulting in further bandwidth savings.Usenet is also one of the more anonymous forms of file sharing, and it too is often used forillicit files of almost any nature. Due to the nature of NNTP, a files popularity has little to dowith its availability and hence downloads from Usenet tend to be quite fast regardless ofcontent. The downsides of this method include a set of rules and procedures, and requires acertain amount of effort and understanding from the user. Patience is often required to get acomplete file due to the nature of splitting big files into a huge number of smaller posts.Finally, access to Usenet often must be purchased due to the extremely high volume ofmessages in the binary groups. BitTorrent is closest to Usenet. It is best suited to newer files, of which a number ofpeople have interest in. Obscure or older files tend to not be available. Perhaps as thesoftware matures a more suitable means of keeping torrents seeded will emerge, but currentlythe client is quite resource-intensive, making it cumbersome to share a number of files.BitTorrent also deals well with files that are in high demand, especially compared to the othermethods.2.2 A Typical HTTP File Transfer The most common type of file transfer is through a HTTP server. In this method, a HTTPserver listens to the client’s requests and serves them. Here the client can only depend on thelone server that is providing the file. The overall download scheme will be limited to thelimitations of that server. Also this kind of transfer of file is subjected to single point offailure, where if the server crashes then the whole download process will seize. A singleserver can handle many such clients and serve the requested file simultaneously to all theclients. The file being served will be available as one single piece, which means that if thedownload process stops abruptly in the middle the whole file has to be downloaded again.Division of Computer Engineering Page 10
  11. 11. BitTorrent protocol has overcome all these shortcomings seen in this type and thus it is morerobust due to which it is chosen by many people over this traditional method of file transfer. Fig 2.1 : HTTP/FTP File Transfer2.3 The DAP method Download Accelerator Plus (DAP) is the worlds most popular download accelerator.DAPs key features include the ability to accelerate downloading of files in FTP and HTTPprotocols, to pause and resume downloads, and to recover from dropped internet connections.On the Internet the same file is often hosted on numerous mirror sites, such as at universitiesand on ISP servers. DAPimmediately senses when a user begins downloading a file andidentifies available mirror sites that host the requested file. As soon as it istriggered, DAPs client side optimization begins to determine - in real time - which mirrorsites offer the fastest response for the specific users location. The file is downloaded inseveral segments simultaneously through multiple connections from the most responsiveserver(s) and reassembled at the users PC. This results in better utilization of the usersavailable bandwidth. This ensures that each available mirror server is utilized to serve the users that mostbenefit. This in turn effects an efficient balancing of the load among availableservers across the entire World Wide Web, and reduces download times for users whileallowing them to receive maximum benefit from their available bandwidth. DAPsResumeDivision of Computer Engineering Page 11
  12. 12. functionality and the ability to continue downloading even when one of the participatingconnections has dropped also provides users with a more reliable download experience.2.4 The BitTorrent Approach In BitTorrent, the data to be shared is divided into many equal-sized portions calledpieces. Each piece is further sub-divided into equal-sized sub-pieces called blocks. All clientsinterested in sharing this data are grouped into a swarm, each of which is managed by acentral entity called the tracker. BitTorrent has revolutionized the way files are sharedbetween people. It does not require a user to download a file completely from a single server.Instead a file can be downloaded from many such users who are indeed downloading thesame file. A user who has the complete file, called the seed will initiate the download bytransferring pieces of file to the users. Once a user has some considerable number of suchpieces of a file then even he can start sharing them with other users who are yet to receivethose pieces. This concept enables a client not to depend on a server completely and also itreduces overall load on the server. Fig 2.2 : BitTorrent File Transfer Each client independently sends a file, called a torrent, that contains the location ofthe tracker along with a hash of each piece. Clients keep each other updated on the status oftheir download. Clients download blocks from other (randomly chosen) clients who claimthey have the corresponding data. Accordingly, clients also send data that they havepreviously downloaded to other clients. Once a client receives all the blocks for a givenDivision of Computer Engineering Page 12
  13. 13. piece, he can verify the hash of that piece against the provided hash in the torrent. Thus oncea client has downloaded and verified all pieces, he can be confident that he has the completedata. Both BitTorrent and DAP download files from multiple sources. Also the files aredivided into pieces in both approaches. But BitTorrent has many such features that DAPdoesn’t, which has made it the most popular one. In BitTorrent the users participate activelyin sharing files along with servers. This is the uniqueness of this protocol. Also this needs animplementation of a dedicated server called tracker to handle the peers connected in thenetwork. The file transfer in DAP takes place through the traditional HTTP or FTP protocolwhich means that the transfer rate will always be limited by the server’s bandwidth. If theseservers are flooded with requests then the breakdown and the transaction will terminate. Thisis not the case in BitTorrent since the whole process is not depending on servers alone. Theload is distributed across the network between peers and servers. This makes BitTorrent farbetter than its competing peers like DAP and others.Division of Computer Engineering Page 13
  14. 14. Chapter 3 WORKING OF BITTORRENT As previously explained, BitTorrent’s design makes it extremely efficient in thesharing of large data files among interested peers. Looking under the hood, BitTorrent is aprotocol with some complexity where modeling is useful to gain a better understanding of itsperformance. BitTorrent scales well and is a superior method for transferring anddisseminating files between interested peers while limiting free riding (peers who downloadbut do not upload) between those same peers. BitTorrent’s is based on a “tit for tat”reciprocity agreement between users that ultimately results in pareto efficiency. Paretoefficiency is an important economic concept that maximizes resource allocation among peersto their mutual advantage. Pareto efficiency is the crown jewel of BitTorrent and is thedriving force behind the protocol’s popularity and success. Cohen’s vision of peerssimultaneously helping each other by uploading and downloading has been realized by theBitTorrent system. Fig 3.1 : A Typical BitTorrent System The protocol shares data through what are known as torrents. For a torrent to be aliveor active it must have several key components to function. These components include atracker server, a .torrent file, a web server where the .torrent file is stored and a completecopy of the file being exchanged. Each of these components is described in the followingDivision of Computer Engineering Page 14
  15. 15. paragraphs.The file being exchanged is the essence of the torrent and a complete copy isreferred to as a seed. A seed is a peer in the BitTorrent network willing to share a file withother peers in the network. Why seed owners choose to share their files is debatable, as theBitTorrent protocol does not reward seed behavior. In fact, some researchers believe theprotocol lacks any incentive mechanism for encouraging seeds to remain in torrents. Someargue that the lack of incentive in the protocol is a fundamental design flaw that leads to thepunishment of seeds. Peers lacking the file and seeking it from seeds are called leechers. While seeds onlyupload to leechers, leechers may both download from seeds and upload to other leechers.BitTorrent’s protocol is designed so leeching peers seek each other out for data transfer in aprocess known as “optimistic unchoking”. Together seeds and leechers engaged in filetransfer are referred to as a swarm. A swarm is coordinated by a tracker server serving theparticular torrent and interested peers find the tracker via metadata known as a .torrent file.Since BitTorrent has no built in search functionality, .torrent files are usually located viaHTTP through search engines or trackers. The first step in the BitTorrent exchange occurs when a peer downloads a .torrent filefrom a server. The role of .torrent files is to provide the metadata that allows the protocol tofunction; .torrent files can be viewed as surrogates for the files being shared. These .torrentfiles contain key pieces of data to function correctly including file length, assigned name,hashing information about the file and the URL of the tracker coordinating the torrentactivity. Torrent files can be created using a program such as MakeTorrent, another opensource tool available under the free software model. When a .torrent file is opened by the peer’s client software, the peer then connects tothe tracker server responsible for coordinating activity for that specific torrent. The trackerand client communicate by a protocol layered on top of HTTP and the tracker’s key role is tocoordinate peers seeking the same file for Cohen envisioned “The tracker’s responsibilitiesare strictly limited to helping peers find each other”. In reality the tracker’s role is a bit morecomplex as many trackers collect data about peers engaged in a swarm. Additionally, some ofthe newer tracker software being released has integrated the functions of the tracker and.torrent server. Leechers and seeds are coordinated by the tracker server and the peers periodicallyupdate the tracker on their status allowing the tracker to have a global view of the system.The data monitored by the tracker can include peer IP addresses, amount of datauploaded/downloaded for specific peers, data transfer rates among peers, the percentage ofDivision of Computer Engineering Page 15
  16. 16. the total file downloaded, length of time connected to the tracker, and the ratio of sharingamong peers. Usually a tracker coordinates multiple torrents and the most popular trackersare busy coordinating thousands of swarms simultaneously. It should be noted that .torrent files are not the actual file being shared; rather .torrentfiles are the metadata information which allow which trackers and peers to coordinate theiractivities. As previously mentioned, the complete file is actually stored on peer seed nodesand not the tracker server. Since .torrent files are small and require little space to store, oneserver can easily host thousands of .torrent files without prohibitive server or bandwidthrequirements. There is some issue with bandwidth usage to host a tracker, however,especially if the tracker becomes popular and begins to see heavy usage. Regardless, thetracker’s bandwidth requirements are much less than hosting the complete files in atraditional client-server model such as one would encounter with an FTP site. While trackersand .torrent files serve as mechanisms to assist the BitTorrent protocol, the process ofactually transferring data is handled by the peers engaged in the swarm. Cohen’s vision of “titfor tat” is the sole incentive measure he saw necessary for the protocol’s success. Peers seektit for tat behavior from others and discourage free riding by a “choke/unchoke” policy. Thischoke policy uses a process known as “optimistic unchoking” to constantly seek other swarmpeers who may have more beneficial connections to offer an interested peer. There has beensome research of the tit for tat algorithm by modeling rational users whose behavior is thenstudied. This work defined rational users as those peer nodes manipulating their clientsoftware beyond default settings. The fact that many newer BitTorrent clients allow forcustom tweaking of specific upload or download speed indicates that perhaps the original titfor tat coding was too good, and thus detrimental to other peer node functions such as normalHTTP traffic. Some BitTorrent FAQs recommend limiting uploads to approximately 80% ofknown capacity and personal tests indicate this strategy does benefit download speeds. Thefinal important aspect of the BitTorrent protocol’s architecture is its use of a “rarest piecefirst” algorithm when a peer begins a file download. The rarest first algorithm has as its goalthe uniform distribution of data across peers, also known as the “endgame mode”. A rarestfirst policy requires a seed to upload new file chunks (those not yet uploaded to a swarm) tothe newest peer connecting to a torrent. This policy encourages distribution of the file furtheracross peer nodes.. The rarest first algorithm is an interesting aspect of BitTorrent that whencombined with optimistic unchoking may explain why the protocol has achieved suchsuccess.Division of Computer Engineering Page 16
  17. 17. Chapter 4 TERMINOLOGY These are the common terms that one would come across while making a typicalBitTorrent file transfer. Torrent : this refers to the small metadata file you receive from the web server (the one that ends in .torrent.) Metadata here means that the file contains information about the data you want to download, not the data itself. Peer : A peer is another computer on the internet that you connect to and transfer data. Generally a peer does not have the complete file. Leeches : They are similar to peers in that they won’t have the complete file. But the main difference between the two is that a leech will not upload once the file is downloaded. Seed : A computer that has a complete copy of a certain torrent. Once a client downloads a file completely, he can continue to upload the file which is called as seeding. This is a good practice in the BitTorrent world since it allows other users to have the file easily. Reseed : When there are zero seeds for a given torrent, then eventually all the peers will get stuck with an incomplete file, since no one in the swarm has the missing pieces. When this happens, a seed must connect to the swarm so that those missing pieces can be transferred. This is called reseeding. Swarm : The group of machines that are collectively connected for a particular file. Tracker : A server on the Internet that acts to coordinate the action of BitTorrent clients. The clients are in constant touch with this server to know about the peers in the swarm. Share ratio : This is ratio of amount of a file downloaded to that of uploaded. A ratio of 1 means that one has uploaded the same amount of a file that has been downloaded. Distributed copies : Sometimes the peers in a swarm will collectively have a complete file. Such copies are called distributed copies.Division of Computer Engineering Page 17
  18. 18. Choked : It is a state of an uploader where he does not want to send anything on his link. In such cases, the connection is said to be choked. Interested : This is the state of a downloader which suggests that the other end has some pieces that the downloader wants. Then the downloader is said to be interested in the other end. Snubbed : If the client has not received anything after a certain period, it marks a connection as snubbed, in that the peer on the other end has chosen not to send in a while. Optimistic unchoking : Periodically, the client shakes up the list of uploaders and tries sending on different connections that were previously choked, and choking the connections it was just using. This is called optimistic unchoking.Division of Computer Engineering Page 18
  19. 19. Chapter 5 ARCHITECTURE OF BITTORRENT The BitTorrent protocol can be split into the following five main components: Metainfo File - a file which contains all details necessary for the protocol to operate. Tracker - A server which helps manage the BitTorrent protocol. Peers - Users exchanging data via the BitTorrent protocol. Data - The files being transferred across the protocol. Client - The program which sits on a peers computer and implements the protocol. Peers use TCP (Transport Control Protocol) to communicate and send data. This protocolis preferable over other protocols such as UDP (User Datagram Protocol) because TCPguarantees reliable and in-order delivery of data from sender to receiver. UDP cannot give ordersuch guarantees, and data can become scrambled, or lost all together. h Fig 5.1 : Architecture of a BitTorrent SystemThe tracker allows peers to query which peers have what data, and allows them to begincommunication. Peers communicate with the tracker via the plain text via HTTP (HypertextDivision of Computer Engineering Page 19
  20. 20. Transfer Protocol) The following diagram illustrates how peers interact with each other, andalso communicate with a central tracker5.1 Metainfo File When someone wants to publish data using the BitTorrent protocol, they must create ametainfo file. This file is specific to the data they are publishing, and contains all theinformation about a torrent, such as the data to be included, and IP address of the tracker toconnect to. A tracker is a server which manages a torrent, and is discussed in the nextsection. The file is given a .torrent extension, and the data is extracted from the file by aBitTorrent client. This is a program which runs on the user computer, and implements thebittorrent protocol. Every metainfo file must contain the following information, (or keys): • info: A dictionary which describes the file(s) of the torrent. Either for the single file, or the directory structure for more files. Hashes for every data piece, in SHA 1 format are stored here. • announce: The announce URL of the tracker as a stringThe following are optional keys which can also be used: • announce-list: Used to list backup trackers • creation date: The creation time of the torrent by way of UNIX time stamp (integer seconds since 1-Jan-1970 00:00:00 UTC) • comment: Any comments by the author • created by: Name and Version of programme used to create the metainfo fileThese keys are structured in the metainfo file as follows:{info: {piece length: 131072, length: 38190848L, name:Cory_Doctorow_Microsoft_Research_DRM_talk.mp3, pieces:xcbxfazrx9bxe1x9axe1x83x91~xed@....., } announce:, creation date: 1089749086L }Division of Computer Engineering Page 20
  21. 21. Instead of transmitting the keys in plan text format, the keys contained in the metainfofile are encoded before they are sent. Encoding is done using bittorrent specific methodknown as bencoding.5.1.1 Bencoding : Bencoding is used by bittorrent to send loosely structured data between the BitTorrentclient and a tracker. Bencoding supports byte strings, integers, lists and dictionaries.Bencoding uses the beginning delimiters i / l / d for integers, lists and dictionariesrespectively. Ending delimiters are always e. Delimiters are not used for byte strings.Bencoding Structure: • Byte Strings : <string length in base ten ASCII> : <string data> • Integers: i<base ten ASCII>e • Lists: l<bencoded values>e • Dictionaries: d<bencoded string><bencoded element>e Minus integers are allowed, but prefixing the number with a zero is not permitted.However 0 is allowed.Examples of bencoding:4:spam // represents the string "spam"i3e // represents the integer "3"l4:spam4:eggse // represents the list of two strings: ["spam","eggs"]d4:spaml1:a1:bee // represents the dictionary {"spam" => ["a" , "b"] }5.1.2 Metainfo File Distribution :Because all information which is needed for the torrent is included in a single file, this filecan easily be distributed via other protocols, and as the file is replicated, the number of peerscan increase very quickly. The most popular method of distribution is using a public indexingsite which hosts the metainfo files. A seed will upload the file, and then others can downloada copy of the file over the HTTP protocol and participate in the torrent.Division of Computer Engineering Page 21
  22. 22. 5.2 Tracker A tracker is used to manage users participating in a torrent (know as peers). It storedstatistics about the torrent, but its main role is allow peers to find each other and start Fig 5.2 : Trackercommunication, i.e. to find peers with the data they require. Peers know nothing of each otheruntil a response is received from the tracker. Whenever a peer contacts the tracker, it reportswhich pieces of a file they have. That way, when another peer queries the tracker, it canprovide a random list of peers who are participating in the torrent, and have the requiredpiece. A tracker is a HTTP/HTTPS service and typically works on port 6969. The address of thetracker managing a torrent is specified in the metainfo file, a single tracker can manage singleDivision of Computer Engineering Page 22
  23. 23. multiple torrents. Multiple trackers can also be specified, as backups, which are handled bythe BitTorrent client running on the users computer. BitTorrent clients communicate with thetracker using HTTP GET requests, which is a standard CGI method. This consists ofappending a "?" to the URL, and separating parameters with a "&".The parameters acceptedby the tracker are: • info_hash: 20-byte SHA1 hash of the info key from the metainfo file. • peer_id: 20-byte string used as a unique ID for the client. • port: The port number the client is listed on. • uploaded: The total amount uploaded since the client sent the started event to the tracker in base ten ASCII. • downloaded: The total amount downloaded since the client sent the started event to the tracker in base ten ASCII. • left: The number of bytes the client till has to download, in base ten ASCII. • compact: Indicates that the client accepts compacted responses. The peer list can then be replaced by a 6 bytes per peer. The first 4 bytes are the host, and the last 2 bytes are port. • event: If specified, must be one of the following: started, stopped, completed. • ip: (optional) The IP address of the client machine, in dotted format. • numwant: (optional) The number of peers the client wishes to receive from the tracker. • key: (optional) Allows a client to identify itself if their IP address changes. • trackerid: (optional) If previous announce contained a tracker id, it should be set here.The tracker then responds with a "text/plain" document with the following keys: • failure message: If present, then no other keys are included. The value is a human readable error message as to why the request failed. • warning message: Similar to failure message, but response still gets processed. • interval: The number of seconds a client should wait between sending regular requests to the tracker. • min interval: Minimum announce interval. • tracker id: A string that the client should send back with its next announce. • complete: Number of peers with the complete file.Division of Computer Engineering Page 23
  24. 24. • incomplete: number of non-seeding peers (leechers) • peers: A list of dictionaries including: peer id, IP and ports of all the peers.5.2.1 Scraping Scraping is the process of querying the state of a given torrent (or all torrents) that thetracker is managing. The result is known as a "scrape page". To get the scrape, you must startwith the announce URL, find the last / and if the text immediately following the / isannounce, then this can be substituted for scrape to find the scrape page.Examples: Announce URL Scrape URL tracker then responds with a "text/plain" document with the following bencoded keys: • files: A dictionary containing one key pair for each torrent. Each key is made up of a 20-byte binary hash value. The value of that key is then a nested dictionary with the following keys: • complete: number of peers with the entire file (seeds) • downloaded: total number of times the entire file has been downloaded. • incomplete: the number of active downloaders (lechers) • name: (optional) the torrent nameDivision of Computer Engineering Page 24
  25. 25. 5.3 Peers Peers are other users participating in a torrent, and have the partial file, or thecomplete file (known as a seed). Pieces are requested from peers, but are not guaranteed to besent, depending on the status of the peer. BitTorrent uses TCP (Transmission ControlProtocol) ports 6881-6889 to send messages and data between peers, and unlike otherprotocols, does not use UDP (User Datagram Protocol)5.3.1 Piece Selection Peers continuously queue up the pieces for download which they require. Thereforethe tracker is constantly replying to the peer with a list of peers who have the requestedpieces. Which piece is requested depends upon the BitTorrent client. There are three stages ofpiece selection, which change depending on which stage of completion a peer is at.5.3.2 Random First Piece When downloading first begins, as the peer has nothing to upload, a piece is selectedat random to get the download started. Random pieces are then chosen until the first piece iscompleted and checked. Once this happens, the rarest first strategy begins.5.3.3 Rarest First When a peer selects which piece to download next, the rarest piece will be chosenfrom the current swarm, i.e. the piece held by the lowest number of peers. This means that themost common pieces are left until later, and focus goes to replication of rarer pieces. At the beginning of a torrent, there will be only one seed with the complete file. Therewould be a possible bottle neck if multiple downloaders were trying to access the same piece.rarest first avoids this because different peers have different pieces. As more peers connect,rarest first will the some load off of the tracker, as peers begin to download from one another. Eventually the original seed will disappear from a torrent. This could be because ofcost reasons, or most commonly because of bandwidth issues. Losing a seed runs the risk ofpieces being lost if no current downloaders have them. Rarest first works to prevent the lossof pieces by replicating the pieces most at risk as quickly as possible. If the original seed goesDivision of Computer Engineering Page 25
  26. 26. before at least one other peer has the complete file, then no one will reach completion, unlessa seed re-connects.5.3.4 Endgame Mode When a download nears completion, and waiting for a piece from a peer with slowtransfer rates, completion may be delayed. To prevent this, the remaining sub-pieces arerequest from all peers in the current swarm.5.3.5 Peer Distribution The role of the tracker ends once peers have found each other. From then on,communication is done directly between peers, and the tracker is not involved. The set ofpeers a BitTorrent client is in communication with is known as a swarm.To maintain theintegrity of the data which has been downloaded, a peer does not report that they have a pieceuntil they have performed a hash check with the one contained in the metainfo file.Peers willcontinue to download data from all available peers that they can, i.e. peers that posses therequired pieces. Peers can block others from downloading data if necessary. This is known aschoking.5.3.6 Choking When a peer receives a request for a piece from another peer, it can opt to refuse totransmit that piece. If this happens, the peer is said to be choked. This can be done fordifferent reasons, but the most common is that by default, a client will only maintain a defaultnumber of simultaneous uploads (max_uploads) All further requests to the client will bemarked as choked. Usually the default for max_uploads is 4.Division of Computer Engineering Page 26
  27. 27. Fig 5.3 : Choking by a peer The peer will then remain choked until an unchoke message is sent. Another exampleof when a peer is choked would be when downloading from a seed, and the seed requires nopieces. To ensure fairness between peers, there is a system in place which rotates which peersare downloading. This is know as optimistic unchoking.5.3.7 Optimistic Unchoking To ensure that connections with the best data transfer rates are not favoured, each peerhas a reserved optimistic unchoke which is left unchoked regardless of the current transferrate. The peer which is assigned to this is rotated every 30 seconds. This is enough time forthe upload / download rates to reach maximum capacity.The peers then cooperate using thetit for tat strategy, where the downloader responds in one period with the same action theuploader used in the last period.5.3.8 Communication Between Peers Peers which are exchanging data are in constant communication. Connections aresymmetrical, and therefore messages can be exchanged in both directions. These messagesare made up of a handshake, followed by a never-ending stream of length-prefixed messages.5.3.9 HandshakingHandshaking is performed as follows:Division of Computer Engineering Page 27
  28. 28. 1. The handshake starts with character 19 (base 10) followed by the string BitTorrent Protocol. 2. A 20 byte SHA1 hash of the bencoded info value from the metainfo is then sent. If this does not match between peers the connection is closed. 3. A 20 byte peer id is sent which is then used in tracker requests and included in peer requests. If the peer id does not match the one expected, the connection is closed.5.3.10 Message Stream This constant stream of messages allows all peers in the swarm to send data, andcontrol interactions with other peers. Additional Prefix Message Structure Information Fixed length, no payload. This enables a peer 0 choke <len=0001><id=0> to block another peers request for data. Fixed length, no payload. Unblock peer, and if they are 1 unchoke <len=0001><id=1> still interested in the data, upload will begin. Fixed length, no payload. A user is interested if a 2 interested <len=0001><id=2> peer has the data they require.Division of Computer Engineering Page 28
  29. 29. Fixed length, no payload. The not 3 <len=0001><id=3> peer does not interested have any data required. Fixed length. Payload is the zero-based index of the 4 have <len=0005><id=4><piece index> piece. Details the pieces that peer currently has. Sent immediately after handshaking. Optional, and only sent if client has pieces. Variable 5 bitfield <len=0001+X><id=5><bitfield> length, X is the length of bitfield. Payload represents pieces that have been successfully downloaded. Fixed length, used to request a block of pieces. The payload 6 request <len=0013><id=6><index><begin><length> contains integer values specifying the index, begin location and length. 7 piece <len=0009+X><id=7><index><begin><block> Sent together with requestDivision of Computer Engineering Page 29
  30. 30. messages. Fixed length, X is the length of the block. The payload contains integer values specifying the index, begin location and length. Fixed length, used to cancel block requests. payload is the 8 cancel <len=13><id=8><index><begin><length> same as ‘request’. Typically used during ‘end game’ mode. A peer will be interested in data if there is a peer which has the required pieces. If thepeer which has this data is not choked, then data will be transferred. After handshaking, bydefault, connections start out as choked, and not interested.5.4 Data BitTorrent is very versatile, and can be used to transfer a single file, of multiple filesof any type, contained within any number of directories. File sizes can vary hugely, fromkilobytes to hundreds of gigabytes.5.4.1 Piece Size Data is split into smaller pieces which sent between peers using the bittorrentprotocol. These pieces are of a fixed size, which enables the tracker to keep tabs on who haswhich pieces of data. This also breaks the file into verifiable pieces, each piece can then beDivision of Computer Engineering Page 30
  31. 31. assigned a hash code, which can be checked by the downloader for data integrity. Thesehashes are stored as part of the metinfo file which is discussed in the next section. The size of the pieces remains constant throughout all files in the torrent except forthe final piece which is irregular. The piece size a torrent is allocated depends on the amountof data. Piece sizes which are too large will cause inefficiency when downloading (larger riskof data corruption in larger pieces due to fewer integrity checks), whereas if the piece sizesare too small, more hash checks will need to be run. As the number of pieces increase, more hash codes need to be stored in the metainfofile. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, pieces should be selected so that the metainfo file is nolarger than 50 - 75kb. The main reason for this is to limit the amount of hosting storage andbandwidth needed by indexing servers. The most common piece sizes are 256kb, 512kb and1mb. The number of pieces is therefore: total length / piece size. Pieces may overlap fileboundaries. For example, a 1.4Mb file could be split into the following pieces. This shows5 * 256kb pieces, and a final piece of 120kb. Fig 5.4 : Pieces of a file5.5 BitTorrent Clients A BitTorrent client is an executable program which implements the BitTorrentprotocol. It runs together with the operating system on a users machine, and handlesinteractions with the tracker and peers. The client is sits on the operating system and isresponsible for controlling the reading / writing of files, opening sockets etc. A metainfo file must be opened by the client to start partaking in a torrent. Once thefile is read, the necessary data is extracted, and a socket must be opened to contact thetracker. BitTorrent clients use TCP ports 6881-6999. To find an available port, the client willDivision of Computer Engineering Page 31
  32. 32. start at the lowest port, and work upwards until it finds one it can use. This means the clientwill only use one port, and opening another BitTorrent client will use another port. A clientcan handle multiple torrents running concurrently. Clients come in many flavours, and can range from basic applications with fewfeatures to very advanced, customisable ones. For example, some advanced features aremetainfo file wizards and inbuilt trackers. These additional features means different clientsbehave very differently, and may use multiple ports, depending on the number of processes itis running. As all applications implement the same protocol, there is no incompatibilityissues, however because of various tweaks and improvements between clients, a peer mayexperience better performance from peers running the same client.5.6 Sub Protocols : BitTorrent can be described in terms of two sub-protocols: one which describesinteractions between the tracker and all clients, and one which describes all client-to-clientinteractions.5.6.1 THP: Tracker HTTP Protocol The tracker protocol is implemented on top of HTTP/HTTPS. This means that themachine running the tracker runs a HTPP or HTTPS server, and has the behaviour describedbelow:1. The client sends a GET request to the tracker URL, with certain CGI variables andvalues added to the URL. This is done in the standard way, i.e., if the base URL is“”, the full URL would be of this form:“”.2. The tracker responds with a “text/plain” document, containing a bencoded dictionary.This dictionary has all the information required for the client.3. The client then sends re-requests, either on regular intervals, or when an event occurs,and the tracker responds.Division of Computer Engineering Page 32
  33. 33. The CGI variables and values added to the base URL by the client sending a GETrequest are: info_hash: The 20 byte SHA1 hash calculated from whatever value the info key maps to in the metainfo file. peer_id: A 20 character long id of the downloading client, random generated at start of every download. There is no formal definition on how to generate this id, but some client applications have adapted some semiformal standards on how to generate this id. ip: This is an optional variable, giving the IP address of the client. This can usually be extracted from the TCP connection, but this field is useful if the client and tracker are on the same machine, or behind the same NAT gateway. In both cases, the tracker then might publish an unroutable IP address to the client. port: The port number that the client is listening on. This is usually in the range 6881- 6889. uploaded: The amount of data uploaded so far by the client. There is no official definition on the unit, but generally bytes are used left: How much the user has left for the download to be complete, in bytes. event: An optional variable, corresponding to one of four possibilities: • started: Sent when the client starts the download • stopped: Sent when the client stops downloading • completed: Sent when the download is complete. If the download is complete at start up, this message should not be sent. • empty: Has the same effect as if the event key is nonexistent. In either case, the message in question is one of the messages sent with regular intervals. There are some optional variables that can be sent along with the GET request that arenot specified in the official description of the protocol, but are implemented by some trackerservers: numwant: The number of peers the client wants in the response. key: An identification key that is not published to other peers. peer_id is public, and is thus useless as authorization. key is used if the peer changes IP number to prove it’s identity to the tracker. trackerid: If a tracker previously gave its trackerid, this should be given here.Division of Computer Engineering Page 33
  34. 34. As mentioned earlier, the response is a “text/plain” response with a bencoded dictionary.This dictionary contains the following keys: failure reason: If this key is present, no other keys are included. The value mapped to this key is a human readable string with the reason to why the connection failed. interval: The number of seconds that the client should wait between regular rerequests. peers: Maps to a list of dictionaries, that each represent a peer, where each dictionary has the keys: • peer_id: The id of the peer in question. The tracker obtained this by the peer_id variable in the GET request sent to the tracker. • ip: The address of the peer, either the IP address or the DNS domain name. • port: The port number that the peer listens on. These are the keys required by the official protocol specification, but here as wellthere are optional extensions: min interval: If present, the client must do rereqests more often than this. warning message: Has the same information as failure reason, but the other keys in the dictionary are present. tracker id: A string identificating the tracker. A client should resend it in the trackerid variable to the tracker. complete: This is the number of peers that have the complete file available for upload. incomplete: The number of peers that not have the complete file yet.5.6.2 PWP: Peer Wire Protocol The peer wire (peer to peer) protocol runs over TCP. Message passing is symmetric,i.e. messages are the same sent in both directions. When a client wants to initiate aconnection, it sets up the TCP connection and sends a handshake message to the other peer. Ifthe message is acceptable, the receiving side sends a handshake message back. If the initiatoraccepts this handshake, message passing can initiate, and continues indefinitely. All integersare encoded as four byte big-endian, except the first length prefix in the handshake.Handshake messageThe handshake message consists of five parts:Division of Computer Engineering Page 34
  35. 35. A single byte, containing the decimal value 19. This is the length of the character string following this byte. A character string “BitTorrent protocol”, which describes the protocol. Newer protocols should follow this convention to facilitate easy identification of protocols. Eight reserved bytes for further extension of the protocol. All bytes are zero in current implementations. A 20 byte SHA1 hash of the value mapping to the info key in the torrent file. This is the same hash sent to the tracker in the info_hash variable. The 20 byte character string representing the peer id. This is the same value sent to the tracker. If a peer is the first recipient to a handshake, and the info_hash doesn’t match anytorrent it is serving, it should break the connection. If the initiator of the connection receives ahandshake where the peer id doesn’t match with the id received from the tracker, theconnection should be dropped. Each peer needs to keep the state of each connection. Thestate consists of two values, interested and choking. A peer can be either interested or not inanother peer, and either choke or not choke the other peer. Choking means that no requestswill be answered, and interested means that the peer is interested in downloading pieces ofthe file from the other peer. This means that each peer needs four Boolean values for each connection to keeptrack of the state. • am_interested • am_choking • peer_interested • peer_choking All connections start out as not interested and choking for both peers. Clients should keepthe am_interested value updated continuously, and report changes to the other peer. Themessages sent after the handshaking are structured as: [message length as an integer] [singlebyte describing message type] [payload] Keep alive messages are sent with regular intervals,and they are simply a message with length 0, and no type or payload. Type 0, 1, 2, 3 are choke, unchoke, interested and not interested respectively. All ofthem have length 1 and no payload. These messages simply describe changes in state. Type 4 is a have. This message has length = 5, and a payload that is a single integer,giving the integer index of which piece of the file the peer has successfully downloaded andverified.Division of Computer Engineering Page 35
  36. 36. Type 5 is bitfield. This message is only sent directly after handshake. It contains abitfield representation of which pieces the peer has. The payload is of variable length, andconsists of a bitmap, where byte 0 corresponds to piece 0-7, byte 1 to piece 8-15 etc. A bit setto 1 represents having the piece. Peers that have no pieces can neglect to send this message. Type 6 is a request. The payload consists of three integers, piece index, begin andlength. The piece index decides within which piece the client wants to download, begin givesthe byte offset within the piece, and length gives the number of bytes the client wants todownload. Length is usually a power of two. Type 7 is a block. This message follows a request. The payload contains piece index,length and the data itself that was requested. Type 8 is cancel. This message has the samepayload as request messages, and it is used to cancel requests made. Peers shouldcontinuously update their interested status to neighbours, so that clients know which peerswill begin downloading when unchoked.Division of Computer Engineering Page 36
  37. 37. Chapter 6 VULNERABILITIES OF BITTORRENT6.1Attacks on BitTorrent As we have seen so far, BitTorrent is one of most favoured file transfer protocol intoday’s world. But it has been exposed to various attacks in the recent past due to thevulnerabilities that are being exploited by the hacker community. Here are some of theattacks that are commonly seen.6.1.1 Pollution attack 1. The peers receive the peer list from the tracker. 2. One peer contacts the attacker for a chunk of the file. 3. The attacker sends back a false chunk. 4. This false chunk will fail its hash and will be discarded. 5. Attacker requests all chunks from swarm and wastes their upload bandwidth. Pollution attacks have become increasingly popular and have been used byanti-piracy groups. In 2005 HBO used pollution attacks to prevent people from downloadingtheir show Rome.6.1.2 DDOS attack DDOS stands for Distributed denial of service. This attack is possible becauseof the fact that BitTorrent Tracker has no mechanism for validating peers. This means there isno way to trace the culprit in these kind of attacks. Also attacks of this stature are possiblebecause of the modifications that can be done to the client software. 1. The attacker downloads a large number of torrent files from a web server. 2. The attacker parses the torrent files with a modified BitTorrent client and spoofs his IP address and port number with the victims as he announces he is joining the swarm.Division of Computer Engineering Page 37
  38. 38. 3. As the tracker receives requests for a list of participating peers from other clients it sends the victims IP and port number. 4. The peers then attempt to connect to the victim to try and download a chunk of the file.6.1.3 Bandwidth Shaping Many ISPs don’t encourage the use of BitTorrent from their users. This is because BitTorrent is usually used to transfer large sized files due to which the traffic over the ISPs increase to a large extent. To avoid such exploding traffic on their servers many ISPs have started to avoid the traffic caused by BitTorrent. This can be done by sniffing the packets that pass through and detecting whether they oblige BitTorrent protocol. ISPs make use of filters to find out such packets and block them from passing their servers. This has resulted in many file transfer breakdowns across the world.6.2 Solutions Many of the attacks that BitTorrent suffers have been dealt with and some measures havebeen taken to avoid such attacks. Here are a few solutions to the attacks that were discussedabove.6.2.1 Pollution attack The peers which perform such attacks are identified by tracing their IPs. Then, suchIPs are blacklisted to avoid further communication with them. These blacklisted IPs areblocked by denying them connections with other peers. This is done by using software likePeer Guardian or moBlock, which download the list of blacklisted IPs from internet6.2.2 DDOS attack The main solution to this kind of attack is to have clients parse the response from thetracker. In the case where a host (tracker) does not respond to a peer’s request with a validBitTorrent protocol message it should be inferred that this host is not running BitTorrent. Thepeer should then exclude hat address from its tracker list, or set a high retry interval for thatspecific tracker. Another fix would be for web sites hosting torrents to check and reportDivision of Computer Engineering Page 38
  39. 39. whether all trackers are active, or even remove the on-responding trackers from the trackerlist in the torrent. Another measure could be to restrict the size of the tracker list to reduce theeffectiveness of such an attack6.2.3 Bandwidth Shaping There are broadly two approaches followed to counter this type of attacks. The firstmethod is to encrypt the packets sent by the means of BitTorrent protocol. By doing this, thefilters that sniff packets will not be able to detect such packets belonging to BitTorrentprotocol. This means that the filters are fooled by the encrypted packets and thus packets cansneak through such filters. Another approach is to make use of tunnels. Tunnels are dedicatedpaths where the filters are avoided by using VPN software which connects to the unfilterednetworks. This results in successfully bypassing the filters and thus the packets areguaranteed to be transmitted across networks.Division of Computer Engineering Page 39
  40. 40. Chapter 7 CONCLUSIONBitTorrent pioneered mesh-based file distribution that effectively utilizes all the uplinks ofparticipating nodes. Most followon research used similar distributed and randomizedalgorithms for peer and piece selection, but with different emphasis or twists. This work takesa different approach to the mesh-based file distribution problem by considering it as ascheduling problem, and strives to derive an optimal schedule that could minimize the totalelapsed time. By comparing the total elapsed time of BitTorrent and CSFD in a wide varietyof scenarios, we are able to determine how close BitTorrent is to the theoretical optimum. Inaddition, the study of applicability of BitTorrent to real-time media streaming applications,shows that with minor modifications, BitTorrent can serve as an effective media streamingtool as well. BitTorrent’s application in this information sharing age is almost priceless.However, it is still not perfected as it is still prone to malicious attacks and acts of misuse.Moreover, the lifespan of each torrent is still not satisfactory, which means that the length offile distribution can only survive for a limited period of time. Thus, further analysis and amore thorough study in the protocol will enable one to discover more ways to improve it.Division of Computer Engineering Page 40
  41. 41. Chapter 8 REFERENCES 1. BitTorrent Inc. (2006) 2. BitTorrent.Org (2006) 3. Cohen, Bram (2003) Incentives Build Robustness in BitTorrent, May 22 2003 4. Cachelogic, BitTorrent bandwidth usage 5. Information on BitTorrent Protocol 6. BitTorrent FAQ: 7. BitTorrent Specifications 8. Other Information of Computer Engineering Page 41