Researchers from Delft University of Technology have unveiled a new torrent client that they claim is “impossible to shut down,” TorrentFreak reports.
BitTorrent is the internet file-sharing technology that virtually all illegal file-sharing sites use to let people download stolen movies and music. It works by distributing the download of a file between lots of computers, meaning that no single server hosts all of the content.
The way BitTorrent works at the moment might sound like the perfect way to shares files online, but it’s actually vulnerable to police raids and and websites being seized. There are two parts to downloading a torrent file: Browsing a torrent site to find what you want, and then using a torrent client to download the file. If a torrent site goes down, then no matter how distributed the download network is, people are still going to have problems downloading content.
On December 9, The Pirate Bay was taken offline after a police raid in Stockholm. Despite being one of the biggest file-sharing sites on the internet, it was still vulnerable to something as simple as a police raid on the location where it hosts part of its servers.
As TorrentFreak reports, university researchers have developed a new kind of torrent client that is, in theory, impossible to take offline. Tribler, as it’s called, is a torrent client, a program used to download files. But what’s different about it is that it doesn’t need to connect to a website to search for files: It all takes place within the program.
Another reason why Tribler is more secure than normal torrent sites is that it uses an anonymous network, similar to Tor, to mask its users’ real identities. When you use a standard torrent client, your IP address (the number tied to your real-life location) is shown publicly. But Tribler uses onion routing, meaning it wraps data with multiple layers of encryption.
Dr. Pouwelse, one of the researchers who developed the program, praised Tribler as “an attack-resilient and censorship-resilient infrastructure for publishing.” Interestingly, he also claimed that Tribler saw a 30% increase in users after the Pirate Bay was shut down.