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Peer to Peer and Spam in the Internet 147

RobertDHaskins writes "A very interesting series of papers from Helsinki University of Technology on the topics of P2P and spam. Written by PhD students they are a little long, but some very good coverage of the state of the art."
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Peer to Peer and Spam in the Internet

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  • Google HTML Link... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bc90021 ( 43730 ) * <bc90021&bc90021,net> on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:24PM (#8512325) Homepage
    ...for those that don't wanna read the PDF:

    Here [google.com].
    • ...for those that don't wanna read the PDF:

      Got another link? That HTML version yer pointing to only goes up to page 49 out of well over 100 pages. I guess google's automatic PDF to HTML conversion caps itself at 49 pages.
    • And what is wrong with reading a PDF?
      • by kwenda ( 644349 )
        And what is wrong with reading a PDF?

        Well, for starters, it takes longer to download the file and then to have the viewer application open than it should.

        Secondly, the text in Adobe Acrobat is, by default, harder to read than whatever font you have your browser set to, and isn't possible to change the font in Acrobat Reader. This is annoying.

        Thirdly, try to use the oh-so-intuitive text-select tool in Acrobat reader to select a paragraph from this document. When you reach the end of the line, the
      • ..those lazy people over at Adobe won't port AdobeReader to his self written 1337nix maybe...???
      • I hate PDF's. Hit page-down, wait 5 seconds (sometimes longer) for the next page to show. Hit page-up, wait again. They drive me crazy.
    • Dammit, I wish the /. editors would put something like [warning, freaking slow-to-load PDF link] next to PDF links!

      It's not quite as bad as stealthy goatse links, but damn, it's close.


      • I get around this by MANUALLY TURNING OFF THE FREAKING STUPID ACROBAT BROWSER PLUGIN INTEGRATION which, unfortunately, actually works for FireFox.

        Maybe they'll 'fix' that problem with the next Firefox release - I can't for the life of me figure out why you'd want to look at a PDF in a window rather than download and save it, but that's just my opinion.
  • Just a head's up...
    • I don't even open PDF's with my browser anymore, for precisely that reason. It will hang until it's finished downloading. If it's a big file, you'll being waiting for a response for a very long time. Just save the link to your hard drive, and open it with your reader.
  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <<pig.hogger> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:28PM (#8512360) Journal
    • Follow the money
    • Block networks who let spammers send traffic on them, no matter if it's SMTP, DNS, FTP or HTTP
    Once a few big guys find themselves turned into intranets, they'll start paying attention.
    • by ron_ivi ( 607351 ) <sdotno@@@cheapcomplexdevices...com> on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:31PM (#8512400)
      Or use a "sender pays but only if the recipient wants to charge" scheme.

      For example, every email has a button saying "charge the sender $0.10". It's at the recipient's option whether or not to charge the guy.

      For emails from friends I'd never hit the button. For spams I would.

      • For emails from friends I'd never hit the button. For spams I would.
        Yeah, but some people would just make everyone pay. I'm sure it's a supportline operators dream. It may not pay much, but it would definitely recoup some expenses. The minute there's a possibility that I'll have to pay for every e-mail I send is the day I stop sending them.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Parent wrote: "Yeah, but some people would just make everyone pay."

          Some people make their friends pay when they every time they go out to lunch too. Those people end up with fewer friends.

          (Oh and if they're poor, I don't mind if I pay for emails or lunches.)

      • by IamGarageGuy 2 ( 687655 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:39PM (#8512516) Journal
        I don't think that will work. You will end up having to hit that stupid "charge sender" button repeatedly, the same way you delete spam now. Also what makes you think you will get a dime from a spammer, how would he pay without havng a Big Brother approach to all email? I wish I had a good idea instead of just shooting your idea down. I would love to see you come up with a way to make that work though.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Parent wrote: "You will end up having to hit that stupid "charge sender" button repeatedly, the same way you delete spam now. "

          Raise the price to $0.50 / email, I'd actually enjoy it.

          If I can get through 5 spams / minute I'd be making and extra $100/hour just for reading email.

        • No, this is not the case. The way it would work is this: The sender deposits say $10 in a private (i.e., non-government) escrow account. When the sender sends e-mail, they would get a key from the escrow agency (certifying that the funds are present) and include it in the e-mail.

          The recipient's e-mail client on the other hand would look to see if a valid key is present. If it is, then it would let the e-mail through and the user could decide if the e-mail is spam or not and whether to ding the sender s

      • by powerpuffgirls ( 758362 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:43PM (#8512567)
        That'll probably create another 'profession' after the Spam-Boom.

        (Note in all lower cases now in the post-Spam-Boom era)
        work from home and make $3000 a day by clicking the charge button
      • by IthnkImParanoid ( 410494 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:48PM (#8512621)
        So spammers rely even more heavily on hijacked machines, and my grandmother on social security suddenly has a $100,000 bill from her ISP.

        Don't see that happening.
        • So spammers rely even more heavily on hijacked machines, and my grandmother on social security suddenly has a $100,000 bill from her ISP.

          Don't see that happening.

          This concern is way overrated. The potential problems created by this "postage" model is much more tractable and minor (on a grand sclae) than those under the non-market based status quo. Once this "postage" technology is in place, ISPs would be free to enhance it to offer various security protections. For instance, only allow, say, 100 ema

        • After reading the bill your grandmother would probably see no problem with sending spam to all those nice people.
      • For example, every email has a button saying "charge the sender $0.10". It's at the recipient's option whether or not to charge the guy.

        The problem then arises that someone could wage a financial war against any service that sends any sort of e-mail to their users. So, say for instance that someone gets ticked off at slashdot, registers an account, gets a password sent to them and hits the button. Granted, the service could refuse to e-mail anyone that has charged it, but that doesn't stop an army of s

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:55PM (#8512689)
          The other question then is who gets this money?

          Simple. I do. Hand it over.

          Sincerely,
          Darl McBride
        • The idea of optional charging has been floated before, and these objections have been raised before. I don't think that the objections are fatal, however:

          I've *never* been lured into sending someone else an e-mail. The only way I could imagine someone doing it is either (a) sending me an e-mail first, or (b) setting up a website with a "click here to e-mail me about ..." In case (a), if someone charged me, I would turn around and charge them for the original e-mail, and we would be even. Listservs cou

      • "Or use a "sender pays but only if the recipient wants to charge" scheme."

        And find some other way of distributing mailing lists, implement it, and migrate all the mailing lists to it.
      • Or use a "sender pays but only if the recipient wants to charge" scheme.

        It is currently not possible to tell who sent the mail. Spammers send mail claiming to be from my domain quite often. Are you planning to charge me when they spam you? Screw that.

        Until email has a way to verify who actually sent it, you can't even start talking about billing for it. Once you can verify who sent it, I believe spam gets a lot easier to deal with.

        Even without looking at the problems associated with "who does th

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah. Real easy to fix. That's why it has been fixed. Try that bs. when the spammer is in Russia and is clustered across three different ISPs. So you want to block Russia from the Internet ?

      The current spam law is absolutely going to move spam out of american internet space and into foreign countries. Then it becomes a political issue. You know how quickly political issues get solved.

      Honestly, you sound like a marketing engineer. Stay away from the network mmmmkay ?
      • I've already blocked Russia ip adresses from sending me email.

        I dont know anyone there, yet the security department at Microsoft.ru kept sending me friendly patches attached to their messages.

        • What if some hot Russian girl is totally into you after seeing your picture on the internet, and sends you an email? That's what happened to me, and she's flying over tomorrow using a plane ticket which she bought with the money I transferred to her!

          But wait, I don't have my pic online...
      • So you want to block Russia from the Internet ?

        Having never received legitimate mail from Russia, China, or Korea, I say to hell with all of them. Yeah, I'd block them. They can block me back - won't bother me a bit.

    • This is something I have always said. I think a system where by IPs or ISPs (which ever is more relevant) get temporary bans after spam is logged. At the moment some ISP already bock IPs, for example Demon block all residential IPs, which means we have to use our ISPs smarthost.

      But if a sliding scale of punishments was implemented, say:

      days banned from sending mail = 2^number of offences so far

      By offence that would be one bulk of spam, not each spam :) obviously with well defined definitions of what an o
  • by JohnGrahamCumming ( 684871 ) * <slashdot@@@jgc...org> on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:28PM (#8512361) Homepage Journal
    I don't have time to read a document hundreds of pages long, especially not one that's packed with information: I need a quick summary.

    Could someone post a one line summary? For example,

    Linux good; Microsoft bad; SCO evil; RMS god.

    John.
  • Bias? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gid13 ( 620803 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:28PM (#8512362)
    From the paper: "The idea was to learn about the disruptive and also annoying phenomena that have become very commonplace over the past couple of years in the internet: namely, the Peer-to-Peer traffic and applications and the unsolicited and unwanted e-mail or Spam."

    I think bundling p2p and spam is either totally missing the point, or attempting to influence the opinions of people who don't know better. The users of p2p want what they get for the most part (maybe not viruses and fakes, but the author seems to be targeting p2p due to the copyrighted content).
    • Re:Bias? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by smharr4 ( 709389 )

      Indeed, while p2p applications may share illegally share content, they are probably not as disruptive as laid out.

      Spam is far more disruptive, but is given less coverage in the document.

      I would expect more from PhD's, I hope that these were written post-PhD, and not for a doctoral thesis, they seem to be very ill-informed.

      • Re:Bias? (Score:3, Interesting)

        universities, from what i hear, have enormous problems with the amount of p2p traffic hogging bandwidth.
        • It seems like a large RAID 0 cache server would be really useful for colleges, do they use them often?

          If studentA download file X of 700 megs, and tells 5 of his friends who download that same file, that would save a lot of bandwidth if they could just pull that file of the cache server automatically.
          • maybe, but colleges aren't in the business of supporting p2p apps.
            • agreed.

              They ARE, however, in the business of trying to conserve resources(to an extent, atleast)... So using a web cache server may benefit p2p apps, it will benefit all web use... Downloading a trendy 1meg flash game or the latest linux distro or the.... etc, etc, etc.
    • Re:Bias? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:39PM (#8512501) Homepage Journal
      That wasn't the point being made. The discussion is about the enormous bandwidth requirements of both P2P and Spam on a large scale. Many a college campus network has had it's Internet pipe saturated by both spam and users of P2P software, and many an ISP has been affected in the same manner by both as well.
      • Re:Bias? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Many a college campus network has had it's Internet pipe saturated by both spam and users of P2P software, and many an ISP has been affected in the same manner by both as well.

        Yeah, those poor ISP's having to endure their customers actually using the product they're selling them.
        • As in any business, you have to balance your input costs vs. the price you charge for your product. ISP's do NOT use a model where everyone is going to use their maximum bandwidth at all times. If they did then the cost would go up quite a bit. I have no problem with that, it's how the free market works. What would be interesting would be all the whining that would ensue, much of it from the people who use the most bandwidth.

          I wasn't passing judgement, I was merely pointing out that the parent was inco
          • Re:Bias? (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Araneas ( 175181 )
            The problem is ISP sell a model that tells users they can use their full bandwidth all the time. Except of course if you read the fine print on the AUP buried on some obscure support site.

            What is "sold" is not what is delivered.

          • As in any business, you have to balance your input costs vs. the price you charge for your product. ISP's do NOT use a model where everyone is going to use their maximum bandwidth at all times. If they did then the cost would go up quite a bit.

            Baloney. Prices are only partially based on the costs. Prices are more directly linked with demand and unbiased competition. Who decided that ISPs should make a certain percentage profits while other business work on much larger and smaller margins? The reason we p
            • You obviously know very little about how a business operates. No, they wouldn't automatically lower their prices, but they would as soon as one of their competitors started to steal their business with their lower prices. Of course demand has a lot to do with the equation, but input costs vs. output (profit centers) are the initial definers of the baseline cost to the customer. There are a lot of tradeoffs, and supply and demand can put upwards or downwards pressure on said price of course. However, the
              • No, they wouldn't automatically lower their prices, but they would as soon as one of their competitors started to steal their business with their lower prices.

                Ah, but that's where your ignorance of supply and demand shines through. As long as people are willing to pay a premium for a product, no matter how low it costs, the providers will continue to charge that regardless of the competition. Unless you believe that prices eventually stabilize in the marketplace to be the bare minimum that every company
      • Many a college campus network has had it's Internet pipe saturated by both spam and users of P2P software, and many an ISP has been affected in the same manner by both as well.

        This would be much less of an issue if network bandwidth providers would simply charge for actual amount of this limited resource that each user actually uses. Yes, its a bit more work for the provider to monitor actual usage, but it would more firmly link supply to demand.

        It would also encourage people to demand better security f
    • by Atario ( 673917 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @04:27PM (#8513038) Homepage
      The professor is clearly biased (or purposely acting biased) against P2P, lumping it together with spam as "parasitic and threaten[ing of] the purpose the Internet was designed for". How he figures sending files to one another is a subversion of the Internet's purpose, I dunno.

      But the students' papers are all about how effective and efficient the various P2P architectures out there are and how they might be improved. Heh. Bless you, students.
  • by CrazyJim0 ( 324487 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:29PM (#8512382)
    Its true that a bunch of computers can simulate a server for a game.

    If you have 6 computers transfering information to each of them, you can create almost the same environment that 6 computers feeding off a server is.

    If you place the anti-cheat code on every computer, you form a community to check against cheats.

    If you also store every character's information on every computer, then you can watch for hacks there too.

    Given its extrodinarily complicated, and fails to mob rule(conspiracy of hackers to overwhelm the system)... Its something that could be done.

    I'm sure theres even more complicated things you can do with P2P, such as organizing nodes for filesharing and so on.
    • by jjeffries ( 17675 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:33PM (#8512427)
      I'm sure theres even more complicated things you can do with P2P, such as organizing nodes for filesharing and so on.

      P2P filesharing, what a great idea! I wonder when somebody's going to try to do that...
    • by Dukael_Mikakis ( 686324 ) <andrewfoerster@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:50PM (#8512643)
      What you say is true, and is the perfect solution ... in the same sense that Communism is the perfect government (don't call Homeland Security).

      Communism depends on every person contributing (essentially) equally and taking equally, and the system falls apart if one (or worse, several) individuals decide to take advantage of the community.

      This is why Blizzard had to instigate centralized servers where all the games are run, and all Diablo characters were stored. People were hacking and HexEditing their characters too much to be trusted.

      The trust ring would help, but, like you say, a mob of cheaters can bring the whole thing down by sufficiently fooling the community into believing the hack over the truth.

      I mean, just look at P2P (or filesharing) today. When grabbing something off of Kazaa, music you're downloading could be pr0n, or a different song, or a 30 second sample that the RIAA put on to prevent the real one from being grabbed. However, from a centralized, controlled server (iTunes) you know what you're getting beforehand (essentially) cheat-free.

      Of course, with true P2P everybody gets access to the product mostly free, whereas in the capitalistic model of iTunes, one entity has all the power and control, and hence will be profiting from all of this.

  • Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't it curious that these papers from a Finn university are in english?
    • The Finns decided more than a decade ago that the Lingua Franca of Computer Science was English.
    • Because English is understood by more Computer Sciense people than Finnish, atleast that is my guess.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:43PM (#8512563)
      The Finns have noticed that no-one understands Finnish, so they've become extremely good at putting things in more popular languages. For example you can get the news in Latin [www.yle.fi] courtesy of Finnish Radio (today's headline: Kerry candidatus democratarum.)
      • The Finns have noticed that no-one understands Finnish, so they've become extremely good at putting things in more popular languages. For example you can get the news in Latin courtesy of Finnish Radio

        They want more people to understand, so they go to Latin, a dead language? That's so very sad.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:44PM (#8512569)
      In Northern Europe people can speak generally 3 languages fluently. The have good schools there. They generally have better goverments as well.

      Did I say that ?

      I meant to say that they are a bunch of liberal left-wing socialist radicals who get their english training in order to become terrorists.

      Am I American again ?

      Phew!
      • Yes, you are. If you would really be one of us liberal left-wing socialist radicals who have got our english training in order to become terrorists, you would know that although both Finnish and Swedish are mandatory in Finnish schools only 10 % or so of those 90 % of population who have Finnish as their mother tongue actually are fluent with it. English, on the other hand, is not mandatory for anyone, but practically everyone in schools are actually reading it as their major foreign language.

        The stereotyp
    • by Turing Machine ( 144300 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:47PM (#8512611)
      Nope, not really. Far more scientific papers are written in English than in any other language, because it's the language most scientists have in common (this is different from being the language spoken by the most people; more people speak Chinese than any other language, but relatively few people who aren't Chinese speak it).

      100 years ago, scientific papers were commonly written in German.

      200 years ago, they were commonly written in Latin.

      Times change.
    • If you look at the names of the authors, many of them look e.g. Russian. Not all students in Finnish universities speak Finnish.
    • There are several good reasons. Listed in order of importance:

      1) A good comp. sci paper written in Finnish would have zero circulation; the number of people that could read it is way too small (read: zero references, can't publish in any decent conference/journal).

      2) The Finnish language lacks the necessary terminology in the not-so-well established fields. For example, I've published a couple of computer graphics papers in conferences and journals -- I couldn't have ever written those papers in Finni
    • Just imagine if Linus Torvalds had written everything related to Linux in Swedish or (gasp) Finnish! Would you be using it? Thought not.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Helsinki University of Technology has quite large base of foreign students especially from Japan, China and India. Although the general price level in Finland is a bit higher than in many European countries, the free (no admission or semester fees) university education balances nicely.

      Because of the large foreign population, most lectures in the ICT programmes are also given in English.

      Actually, if you look at the name list on the report, only 5 of 12 of those PhD students are native Finnish.

      Anyway, it's
    • I study in HUT and today's official strategy of the university is to make studying more international with the emphasis on English. With more and more international students studying here, many courses are held in English (even with native Finnish professors, lecturers and assistents). Plus another problem is that there are no simply adequate Finnish translations for many computer-related words.
  • Simple. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Vo0k ( 760020 )
    The more keywords in the file name the lesser chance it will contain anything that makes sense.

    In EDonkey it's worth looking at other file names of given share, they often offer some insight. You grab ROTK, check and see 3 other names: FOTR-Extended-Edition, and you may be sure it was some moron who can't tell "1" apart from "3" who renamed it and some more morons download it without checking.
    • Oh, I know, it's hilarious.

      One file will be names ROTK-Extended-Edition and another with the same MD5 sum will be some porno name, it's absurdly obvious.

      And other times you can tell just because of the file size. I've seen GTA3, in only 12k!

      A good tool is ShareReactor Fakecheck for those truly tricky files. Help them out, report fake ed2k links. I know I do all the time, mlnet even has a handy little link that does it automatically for you in the web interface.
  • P2P. SPAM. (Score:4, Informative)

    by powerpuffgirls ( 758362 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:36PM (#8512462)
    I think it's worth mentioning this article talks about P2P, then about SPAM.

    While it doesn't imply they are somehow related in their functions, the common nature of these two is the bandwidth consumption, which as stated by the author, can be annoying and disruptive.
    • Re:P2P. SPAM. (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, I'm sure that the frivolous bandwidth consumption is annoying, except to those who get free media, and those hoping to make a buck from massed emails.

      It is a good point that you make, because much of the stuff that they had written (from a brief I'm-at-work perusal) is stuff that we (at least the slashdot community) already know. It's just compiled into one convenient package that will merit an award of a PhD.

      What I feel would have been more interesting (and has been discussed here) would have b
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can we get the RIAA to shut these guys down?
  • Very thorough (Score:5, Informative)

    by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @03:40PM (#8512524) Homepage
    What a massive article, covers gnutella, freenet, napster, NAT Translation, hordes, all the hows and the underlying technology and concepts. But...

    Why isn't there a service where you can get full-speed from behind a firewall without portmapping? College students everywhere would rejoice. When I'm home I port forward and get the full pipe, but when I'm at college the firewall keeps my download speeds nice and slow. I know this because every once and a while I'll get lucky and some BT seed will connect and start sending me 80kb/s for about five minutes and stop. They made Supernodes to make the network more scalable and to make it work with firewalls. Can they make it work at full speed with firewalls?

    • Re:Very thorough (Score:3, Informative)

      by E-Rock ( 84950 )
      If it's like what the Universtiy where I works does, it's using packet analysis and capping your activity. It's forcing you to share and play nice with the other 100 - 100,000 people on the network. Now, why the dorms aren't physcially segmented from the rest of campus I'll never be able to explain.
    • but when I'm at college the firewall keeps my download speeds nice and slow

      Don't feel like you're being singled out. Universities have been paying through the nose for bandwidth over the last 2-4 years because of college students who feel that it is their unalienable right to freely download whatever they want. Putting bandwidth limits in place is the least of your concerns... be happy that they didn't shut down your ability to use P2P on their network at all.

      You could try talking with your universi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @04:10PM (#8512851)
    It looks like a collection of papers from a first-year compsci class assignment.

    For example, this is in the introduction to the Freenet section:

    While censorships are necessary in maintaining law and order in a society
    Um, many people might disagree with that little gem.
    • by jcupitt65 ( 68879 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @04:42PM (#8513196)
      • While censorships are necessary in maintaining law and order in a society
        Um, many people might disagree with that little gem.

      But most sensible people would not. Of course there have to be limits on freedom of expression. That's why we have laws on libel, incitement to racial hatred, etc. etc.

      A reasonable country will choose a good compromise between the freedom of the individual and the needs of society.

  • I'm using Cloudmark's Spamnet, which is essentially what they seem to be talking about (although I didn't read all 109 pages). Seems to work well enough. It tosses about 105 spam a day for me and I have about one or two slip through that I myself block.

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