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Please help me understand PeerBlock...?

Posted by 4Jax 
Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
February 18, 2010 08:05PM
Hi,

I'm new to PeerBlock and got onto it after reading a post on a Torrent site a comment about being contacted by the IP Police after downloading from a particular torrent site. This caught my eye as their location is very near my home town in Toronto, Canada.

1st off... I thought file sharing was NOT illegal in Canada? I download flicks for free. I can, and do get those same DVD's from the public library for free as well and that's not illegal! Unbeknownst to many, but your public library (like mine does) has racks and racks of DVD tittles and many very new releases. I also borrow or loan the DVD's I've purchased to friends and family for no charge. My point is; what's the difference if it's for personal use and not for resale profit? But that's not my question/s.

So, all this leads me to installing PeerBlock and reading up on it for several hours and my frustration I still don't understand "why" or "how" it does what it does? Everything I read tells me over and over "what" it does. It block IP addresses. OK.

So, after reviewing the log I find to my surprise that Sony, companies from Dubai, UK, on-and-on have been knocking on my digital door. I just installed PeerBlock...I wonder what has been happening all this time up until then?

Questions:

1. PeerBlock seems to be blocking these companies IP's but what IS being stopped?

I have a firewall with my ports are Stealthed (100% tested and all ports closed). So without PB what could and has been going on. Is my hard drive being accesses for info? Are my torrents being monitored... and HOW?

I have HIPS protection from PCTools Firewall and am notified if any software is trying connect to the net.


If someone could tell me in a nut shell with details but not too complicated "what" , "why" and "how" PeerBlock is stopping, then I'd greatly appreciate it. I'd like to know what the worst case scenario is and how these companies are doing it?

To all that leave a comment ... I thank you in advance for taking the time to write a reply.
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
February 18, 2010 10:17PM
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i'll attempt to answer the best, and you've asked a bunch of questions

1) what does it block:
it blocks ALL ip traffic (meaning all udp/tcp/multicast) to and from IP's that are in the block list

2) you have a firewall with ports stealthed:
that is one of those things that people get a false sense of protection from. once you open uTorrent, or Azures, Limewire, or whatever you open IT will open a port to allow connections, that is when companies like sony, disney, etc will connect and see what it is that you are sharing. Also, you are opening ports to THEM to download files, in the case of limewire you'll get bad music (loops, static, etc)




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Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
February 21, 2010 04:15PM
Thanx for the reply ss18. Unfortunately... I'm a little dense about this and still don't get it?

So, you're saying it's like if I open my Front Door to pay the pizza delivery guy for my cheese wheel, that while my front door is open the mail man (or who ever) can just walk into my house?

Mmmm. I thought my connection to the net worked more like this;

My house has a water spigot outlet for the garden hose that is connected to my house (assume the water can flow in and out like my net connection and instead of the standard one out door faucet there is a row of 100 for example). From inside my house I have a valve that I can turn on or off as I desire to each outlet.

I connect to the net with Firefox, Bittorrent, Thunderbird, etc. I thought that was like allowing them to connect there hose into one of my spigots. If Firefox is connected to one spigot, like the garden hose being screwed in, that no one else can help themselves to a drink on that spigot.

The analogy might suck, but it's all I got.

Based on what you said I did a test. I connected to the net with Bittorent and had PeerBlock running. I then scanned every port with GRC's Shields Up. * All ports where Stealthed.

I then did the same test with PeerBlock Disabled. * All ports where still Stealthed?

Part II
From your answers... It seems like PB is blocking the "monitoring" of my data content and that they do not have access to my hard drive and data?

My concern is that if "They" can monitor and intercept my data traffic, then what's stopping anyone from intercepting my banking info when I'm online doing transactions? My guess is encryption... then can't say Bittorent for example encrypt my data traffic?

Lots of questions I know :O)
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
February 22, 2010 04:21AM
Torrenting works this way: you get a small .torrent file, in that file is a description a file/files and a number of checksums and a link to one or more trackers, the .torrent file gets opened by a torrentclient (program on your computer) that reads the info then connects to the tracker(s) and the tracker then informs it what other people (their IP that is) have parts of that file, your client then connects to those people and asks for the parts and once it got a few in return also shares those parts with other people that do not have it yet, and they got your IP from the tracker too, or it could be they are already connected since you try to get parts they already have.
So the program, the torrentclient is accessing your HD to send/receive parts over your network, and does so simultaneously with many people because the combined slow speed of each person makes for a doable speed.

Now the anti-p2p people try to discourage that, to do so they also connect to the tracker to get the IP's of people connected, but being connected isn't a crime so they need to get you to send them files as proof, now what peerblockers do is collect the IP's of organizations and people that aren't friendly and blocks those, then they cannot get parts of the file and so there is no proof.
Another trick the anti-p2p people do is trying to send lots of fake parts, but most torrentclients once a number of parts that failed the checksum have been noticed automatically block the offending IP themselves, at least during that session, so that is already solved largely, but they also try to send malformed stuff and lots of requests and all kinds of crap to make your torrentclient confused or choke trying to deal with it, that would also not reach the client if a peerblocker already blocks it all though.
Plus there are flaws in many operating systems and programs including ones other than torrentclients they can abuse to flood your system and make it unresponsive, and that would also help them since when your connection is superslow then torrenting or other sharing isn't fun and people then give up

That's it as far as torrenting is concerned, but of course there are also thousands of flawed programs and not updated operating systems out there and other nasty people are scanning for those to get into people's system (most often to make them into unwilling spam bots without them knowing), and that too can be reduced by blocking known IP's of baddies people learned about.

So the point is that just because you see IP's trying that doesn't mean they can get into your system even if the ports weren't blocked, you need an active program on your computer deliberately connecting, or a flaw in your software that lets them abuse it and install stuff, or often the abuse possible is only to flood your connections to make torrenting or other sharing a pain and so make you feel you are better of buying stuff legally.

Now to know what IP's to block, lists are compiled, and that's done by people that work at places where they have access to them, or by people noticing they are being flooded or attacked or scanned or sued etcetera, and by known published IP ranges of police/companies/governments, but the problem is that they can hire yet other people or even use regular home connections and constantly have new IP's, so the protection isn't foolproof, it just helps, and you can hope they go bother the next sucker rather than jumping through hoops to focus on you smiling smiley

As for canada, they now have a law there I read that forces ISP's to look for suspicious traffic (not sure it's national but I think so), so it can happen there that your ISP sees you are very active and then looks and sees torrent-like traffic and then has to lean on you, but they will then just send a warning and won't sue you or anything so that's a blessing, and they might slow your connection down or close the contract and leave you with no internet.
Luckily more and more regular traffic is intensive, like HD video and offline storage and game servers and what not so it's not as easy for them to see suspicious activity as it used to be, plus torrentclients now all have the option to encrypt and obscure it's a torrentclient running too.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2010 04:23AM by Nitty.
Re: Please help me understand Peer Block...?
February 27, 2010 02:55PM
I have read all of the messages and understand...I think. I just have one question. I have just installed peer Block and I just want to know when I'm on a site downloading something is there anything that I need to do with peer block or does it just run in the back ground,
Thanks
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
February 28, 2010 08:28PM
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as long as it's running then that's all you have to do!




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Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
February 28, 2010 08:46PM
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Wow you guys watch to much House... lol

Its a simple chain of events. [You, The tracker, The Peer's, and The Other's.] You use PeerBlock to block The Others...

Vary simple.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2010 08:47PM by DarC.
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
March 18, 2010 05:39PM
Well, that was a lot of info and I appreciate everyone who tried to help me understand.

I have a follow up issue if someone could please comment with suggestions:

I received an email from my internet service provider / IP Police saying I am distributing Copy Write materials. I'm seeding a movie download and someone, somewhere doesn't like it ?

I thought PB was to neutralize this problem. Is there anymore I can do? How did I even get sniffed out if I'm running PeerBlock?

Suggestions: Running through a proxy, encrypting my torrents...? I found a post here that offers a solution, but it's $17/month.

Anyone with a solution to anonymity on torrenting would be greatly appreciated.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2010 05:40PM by 4Jax.
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
March 18, 2010 06:56PM
1. The PeerBlock developers do NOT encourage/recommend copyright infringement.

[www.peerblock.com]

This is from my understanding of Canadian Law, regarding P2P downloading, If I was you, I would talk with a local lawyer regarding this as they know more information as I am located in America and my information may NOT be accurate.
It is not illegal to download copyrighted material in Canada
It is illegal to upload copyrighted material Canada

Please read this [en.wikipedia.org] also



1. PeerBlock seems to be blocking these companies IP's but what IS being stopped?

What is being stopped is the communications, its preventing your computer and the computer being blocked from ' talking ' to each other.
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
March 19, 2010 01:42PM
avatar
ineedalifetoday Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 1. The PeerBlock developers do NOT
> encourage/recommend copyright infringement.
>
> [www.peerblock.com]
>
> This is from my understanding of Canadian Law,
> regarding P2P downloading, If I was you, I would
> talk with a local lawyer regarding this as they
> know more information as I am located in America
> and my information may NOT be accurate.
> It is not illegal to download copyrighted material
> in Canada
> It is illegal to upload copyrighted material
> Canada
>
> Please read this
> [en.wikipedia.org]
> a also
>
>
>
> 1. PeerBlock seems to be blocking these companies
> IP's but what IS being stopped?
>
> What is being stopped is the communications, its
> preventing your computer and the computer being
> blocked from ' talking ' to each other.

Essentially because of the fact that no line of communication is being allowed to happen they cant know your even there.
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
July 19, 2010 09:51AM
In response to INEEDALIFETODAY ref. legal advice.

I am in Canada, too, and I had already been warned twice last year by my ISP to stop copyright infringing torrent d/loads, following a complaint by the US copyright holder, who obviously tracked me down.
There is indeed a new, much tougher copyright law now in Canada, which went into effect just last month. From what I hear, not only does it serve the interest of Canadian copyright holders, which is quite understandable, but it is also "U.S. friendly ", in that, possibly by some sort of reciprocity mechanism, it does not exempt Canadians from legal responsabilty and damage suits even when the copyright holder is in the U.S.A.
You can know more by contacting Mr Michael Geist, Law professor at the University of Ottawa, specializing in copyright law. He can be reached at www.michaelgeist.ca/. He is quite available to answer questions from the general public and he has already given me a stern warning not to underestimate the clout of this new Canadian law by continuing to carry out P2P or torrent downloads in Canada with the usual feeling of invulnerability.

After my ISP warnings, I have taken some precautions, not so much to cover up the rare P2P and torrents d/loads I do now , as to be better sheltered against hacksters', fraudsters' , spammers' and snoopers 'intrusions. This is why I have installed Peer Block and I have also set up a SSH proxy sever which is encrypted ( go to [www.linquist.net] for detailed instructions).
If anything, I noticed the proxy server makes Internet navigation much faster. I want to believe that it will also make IP snooping more difficult, but it would be naive to think my IP is invisible. For one thing, it would certainly be naive to believe a simple encrypted proxy server could cripple the vital activities of law enforcement agencies or police forces in their legitimate attempts to prevent or solve crimes by monitoring the Internet . If anybody could make his/her IP invisible at the snap of a finger, then I am sure setting up a proxy server would be submitted to more stringent conditions, if not downright proscribed! Am I wrong?

Maybe somebody can comment on this latter point

Ittiandro

Montreal, Canada



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2010 10:11AM by ittiandro.
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
July 22, 2010 12:17AM
4Jax...New movies and records are actively being pursued by the major companies like Time Warner. This is the most common way people get caught. Wait a year and when downloading do not upload or keep the upload as low as possible. They can only come after you if you download to them a portion of a file. Every week peerblock adds hundreds of bad sites...remember all the big boys have to do is open an office across the street and install a computer. The only other alternative is to buy a laptop, go to starbucks and download there...but soon that may disappear because the big boys want all wifi to be subscription.
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
October 13, 2010 04:17AM
Like 4Jax, I have a mental disconnect with what's going on.
I'm a sort-of power user, but no geek. I look at the log file
and asked myself about all the datagrams (UDPs).

Viz., the 'why' and 'what' of those connection attempts?

I rarely download MP3s. When I do, I usually struggle to
find what I'm after, as it usually old recordings, none of
which are likely to be available in-store.

What are all these connection attempts (and blocking
them) doing to my monthly data allowance?

Q1. I know what a UDP is, by reading up about it. But
I don't know what's being attempted by those trying to
make use of them.

Q2. Blocking HTTP is a bit painful, given the many sites
I may go to, ranging from weather reports, to copies of
national laws. It can get a bit tedious, having to add
URLs to the list, or allowing access for a finite period.

Is it a matter of "toughen up - that's the way it is?"

Or am I doing something amiss?
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
July 15, 2011 02:38AM
Is this for @#$%& real ? This thread was sooooo made by the feds.
Re: Please help me understand PeerBlock...?
March 11, 2012 04:25PM
So my question is should i be concerned about searching the web once i have PeerBlock turned off?

Nitty Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> So the point is that just because you see IP's
> trying that doesn't mean they can get into your
> system even if the ports weren't blocked, you need
> an active program on your computer deliberately
> connecting, or a flaw in your software that lets
> them abuse it and install stuff, or often the
> abuse possible is only to flood your connections
> to make torrenting or other sharing a pain and so
> make you feel you are better of buying stuff
> legally.
>
> Now to know what IP's to block, lists are
> compiled, and that's done by people that work at
> places where they have access to them, or by
> people noticing they are being flooded or attacked
> or scanned or sued etcetera, and by known
> published IP ranges of
> police/companies/governments, but the problem is
> that they can hire yet other people or even use
> regular home connections and constantly have new
> IP's, so the protection isn't foolproof, it just
> helps, and you can hope they go bother the next
> sucker rather than jumping through hoops to focus
> on you smiling smiley
>
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