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Monday, December 19, 2011

New Tracking Service Will Reveal Your Downloads

There’s a new portal out there, Youhavedownloaded.com, which was designed to compile the biggest database of all the content downloaded through BitTorrent networks. It operates according to a basic principle: if you have ever visited this site, it would scan for your IP address and if you’ve downloaded any content on BitTorrent, it would reveal that.
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Thus far, over 52 million users and 110,000 torrents, which consist of 2,000,000 individual files, became part of this service’s database. A sample of what Internet users have downloaded is indicated on their main page, like “Spy Kids 4” and show “The Walking Dead”.

The founder of the project, Suren Ter-Saakov, explained to cyber security researcher Brian Krebs that the portal had been launched as a proof-of-concept, which means that Youhavedownloaded.com stops short parsing through dynamic IPs. Despite the fact that the service neither stores nor collects personal identifiable details, Youhavedownloaded.com is still able to provide with a good scare for anyone.

When a user visited the service, he would see a message with his IP address, location and list of content that they’ve recently downloaded. Nevertheless, they can also see a removal request in the right corner of this page, saying that the service only aggregates publicly available data, and therefore doesn’t have to accommodate requests for removal. But since the founder wants to be nice, he offers a “Remove Me!” button over there. This is because Suren Ter-Saakov once received a “remove me!” e-mail from one user who has downloaded pornographic video and was afraid that his parents would know what kind of content he downloaded.

Meanwhile, cyber security researcher Brain Krebs admitted that the website in question only emphasizes an important but often overlooked fact – file-sharing networks became a very common and effortless way to spread malicious software. He reminds all Internet users that regardless of the content you want to download, you have to be always alert for virus attack. Bottom line is to be on the lookout for malicious software and make sure to have an anti-virus started at all times. In other words, everyone has to do their best to protect their own privacy and that of their personal computer. Although this has nothing to do with illegal downloading, it is still about downloading via BitTorrent.

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