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Torrent poisoning is the act of intentionally sharing corrupt data or data with misleading file names using the BitTorrent protocol. This practice of uploading fake torrents is sometimes carried out by anti-piracy organisations as an attempt to prevent the peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing of copyrighted content, and to gather the IP addresses of downloaders.[1]

1 Methods of Attack
1.1 Decoy Insertion
1.2 Index Poisoning
1.3 Spoofing
1.4 Interdiction
1.5 Selective Content Poisoning
1.6 Eclipse Attack
1.7 Uncooperative-Peer Attack
2 Barriers to Torrent Poisoning
2.1 Countermeasures
2.2 Legal Issues
3 High Profile Cases
4 See also
5 References
6 External links
Methods of Attack[edit]
Decoy Insertion[edit]
Decoy insertion (or content pollution) is a method by which corrupted versions of a particular file are inserted into the network. This deters users from finding an uncorrupted version and also increases distribution of the corrupted file.[2] A malicious user pollutes the file by converting it into another format that is indistinguishable from uncorrupted files (e.g. it may have similar or same metadata). In order to entice users to download the decoys, malicious users may make the corrupted file available via high bandwidth connections.[3] This method consumes a large amount of computing resources since the malicious server must respond to a large quantity of requests.[4] As a result, queries return principally corrupted copies such as a blank file or executable files infected with a virus.[5]

Index Poisoning[edit]
This method targets the index found in P2P file sharing systems. The index allows users to locate the IP addresses of desired content. Thus, this method of attack makes searching difficult for network users. The attacker inserts a large amount of invalid information into the index to prevent users from finding the correct resource.[3] Invalid information could include random content identifiers or fake IP addresses and port numbers.[5] When a user attempts to download the corrupted content, the server will fail to establish a connection due to the large volume of invalid information. Users will then waste time trying to establish a connection with bogus users thus increasing the average time it takes to download the file.[3] The index poisoning attack requires less bandwidth and server resources than decoy insertion. Furthermore, the attacker does not have to transfer files nor respond to requests. For this reason, index poisoning requires less effort than other methods of attack.[4]

Some companies that disrupt P2P file sharing on behalf of content providers create their own software in order to launch attacks. MediaDefender have written their own program which directs users to non-existent locations via bogus search results. As users typically select one of the top five search results only, this method requires users to persevere beyond their initial failed attempts to locate the desired file.[6] The idea is that many users will simply give up their search because of frustration.