Spying the world from your laptop

identifying and profiling content providers and big downloaders in BitTorrent

Stevens Le Blond, Arnaud Legout, Fabrice Lefessant, Walid Dabbous, Mohamed Ali Kaafar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a set of exploits an adversary can use to continuously spy on most BitTorrent users of the Internet from a single machine and for a long period of time. Using these exploits for a period of 103 days, we collected 148 million IPs downloading 2 billion copies of contents.

We identify the IP address of the content providers for 70% of the BitTorrent contents we spied on. We show that a few content providers inject most contents into BitTorrent and that those content providers are located in foreign data centers. We also show that an adversary can compromise the privacy of any peer in BitTorrent and identify the big downloaders that we define as the peers who subscribe to a large number of contents. This infringement on users' privacy poses a significant impediment to the legal adoption of BitTorrent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd USENIX Conference on Large-scale Exploits and Emergent Threats: Botnets, Spyware, Worms, and More
Place of PublicationBerkeley, CA, USA
PublisherUSENIX Association
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

PublisherUSENIX Association

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