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posted by takyon on Sunday April 05 2015, @01:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the centralized-decentralization dept.

Strike is a new BitTorrent search engine with a clean, no-ads interface and an "AI bot" presenting the results, which combines public torrent indexing with DHT scraping. As explained to TorrentFreak by the developer Andrew Sampson himself:

"DHT basically is a second P2P protocol aiming to replace trackers. It stores pairs of info hashes and updates the swarm if it receives announce messages. When it comes to DHT every [torrent] client is announcing themselves as being present. Because of this I'm able to scrape millions of torrents in a decentralized manner; not having to rely on trackers themselves," the dev told TF.

Unfortunately, the search engine has come under attack from multiple vectors, including a flood of DMCA notices and a DDoS attack. The situation went downhill from there, forcing the site to change hosting providers at least three times.

The developer says that the majority of complaints against his site were filed by anti-piracy company Entura International. Sampson says he tried to explain that his site carries no content and no torrents but simply extracts these from DHT upon user request but the company wasn't particularly interested.

In response to the DMCA issues, Sampson says he has now taken things a step further. During the past few days the dev took the decision to stop storing any data whatsoever on Strike's servers "except for search phrases for learning purposes."

This presents an intriguing situation. Aside from some disk caching, Sampson says that Strike now operates purely on demand. When a user types in a search the site pulls the results from its usual sources and presents them in the browser window. When that browser is closed the data effectively disappears, meaning that there is nothing for anti-piracy companies to take down because it's already gone.

I haven't used the site myself yet, but it sounds like a great project and I'd hate to see it disappear.

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by chewbacon on Sunday April 05 2015, @02:59AM

    by chewbacon (1032) on Sunday April 05 2015, @02:59AM (#166556)

    ...as to who is doing the DDOS. Who is MPAA? RIAA? Oh, wait I said one guess.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05 2015, @08:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05 2015, @08:34AM (#166591)

      How is that not illegal? I remember previously hearing about the MPAA/RIAA/some other copyright thug hiring companies in other countries to DDOS websites they don't like.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05 2015, @11:10AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05 2015, @11:10AM (#166628)

        Legality only matters if you get caught. See every crime ever committed.

        And while I am totally willing to blame the MAFIA. I'm also willing to blame other groups too, like some *chan doing it for the lulx or some authoritarian copyright maximalist hackers.

      • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05 2015, @04:20PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05 2015, @04:20PM (#166687)

        It is. And ISP's will pay a hefty reward for persons able to provide evidence resulting in a conviction. Obviously the MPAA/RIAA hasn't thought this through. The script kiddie doing the DDoS is probably foreign, and can therefore me' culpa to ISP's and get payed a SECOND time for the same DDoS. The ISP then sues the MPAA/RIAA to recoup damages, while the script kiddie stays happily outside of U.S. jurisdiction testifying by video conference. Cheers!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05 2015, @07:17PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05 2015, @07:17PM (#166749)

          > And ISP's will pay a hefty reward for persons able to provide evidence resulting in a conviction.

          Citation needed. Seriously.

          A google search for isp ddos bounty [google.com] doesn't turn up an such examples in the first two pages of hits. Searching on just ddos bounty [google.com] does find hits, but not from ISPs, just specific services that have been targeted.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06 2015, @02:53PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06 2015, @02:53PM (#166990)

            If you have solid actionable evidence, and can reasonably determine a list of effected networks, shop the evidence around to the security or legal departments of the respective networks. The amount of damage done to ISP's by DDoS is immense. There are a number of reasons they don't advertise this. That isn't to say they aren't motivated to stop the bleeding.

      • (Score: 2) by chewbacon on Sunday April 05 2015, @11:01PM

        by chewbacon (1032) on Sunday April 05 2015, @11:01PM (#166791)

        Exactly my point. They have done it before.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by KiloByte on Sunday April 05 2015, @04:57AM

    by KiloByte (375) on Sunday April 05 2015, @04:57AM (#166566)

    But isn't a service that has to do the whole search from scratch on demand far more susceptible to DDOS than the current version, with all the data already there?

    I understand the change is done to avoid legal trolling, but since facts aren't swaying the MAFIAA, why even bother trying to placate them further?

    --
    Ceterum censeo systemd esse delendam.
    • (Score: 2) by pkrasimirov on Sunday April 05 2015, @06:45AM

      by pkrasimirov (3358) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 05 2015, @06:45AM (#166574)

      My thought exactly. I guess he's more afraid from bogus court-order than DoS attack. Too bad they don't care about justice, only profit.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Yog-Yogguth on Sunday April 05 2015, @09:01AM

    by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 05 2015, @09:01AM (#166597) Journal

    I don't know what I'm talking about (and the site was so slow to load —although it got there in the end— I didn't bother trying to use it) but:
    - Why not make Strike distributed instead? Bittorrent itself is distributed. DHT is distributed. Strike centralizes to a site, forget having a site beyond a source code download somewhere (I saw the “Download on Google Play” but consider that a joke and/or an insult).
    - Why not make it F/OSS? Bittorent is F/OSS, DHT is F/OSS.
    - Better yet why not make it a protocol? That's what Bittorrent and DHT are.

    Peer to peer (P2P) was the cloud before “the Cloud” existed and is more cloud than “the Cloud” can ever be. A cloud of user control.

    I don't torrent much (mostly the occasional Linux distribution), instead I let the Canadadadalian Three (well Four) Letter Agency/ies provide my downloads for me (I say that in jest but it would make sense if it was true). Their (possible/suspected) front companies (why wouldn't they want to outcompete everyone else? It gives them all the download information directly. maybe even some dosh) don't even require captchas and the speed is decent even without any kind of sign up.

    P.S. I've found a Soylent Green/News chocolate, it's the metal green Snickers Hazelnut! Did the movie ever mention it tasting good? :3

    --
    Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by esperto123 on Sunday April 05 2015, @01:34PM

      by esperto123 (4303) on Sunday April 05 2015, @01:34PM (#166653)

      - Why not make Strike distributed instead? Bittorrent itself is distributed. DHT is distributed. Strike centralizes to a site, forget having a site beyond a source code download somewhere (I saw the “Download on Google Play” but consider that a joke and/or an insult).
      - Why not make it F/OSS? Bittorent is F/OSS, DHT is F/OSS.
      - Better yet why not make it a protocol? That's what Bittorrent and DHT are.

      and we've circle back to gnutella, eDonkey and the like. I've stopped using those because finding files was hard and the amount of fakes had became unbareble, bittorrent was more reliable, usually had many more sources and fakes were pruned quicklily.

      I wonder if now we can improve those completly distributed protocols in such a way that a listing server is no longer required at all.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Arik on Sunday April 05 2015, @02:10PM

        by Arik (4543) on Sunday April 05 2015, @02:10PM (#166660) Journal
        There were edonkey clients (mldonkey? I think that is the one I am thinking of, and emule of course) that did this as part of the protocol years ago. They seem to be still around. If they are being actively maintained still they might be able to integrate this guys work and expand to search three networks simultaneously.
        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
      • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Sunday April 05 2015, @10:10PM

        by cafebabe (894) on Sunday April 05 2015, @10:10PM (#166789) Journal

        You are asking for completely anonymous sources of information which are trustworthy. This is hard and may be impossible. If they are completely anonymous then any party can create any number of them and/or be as anti-social as they like. (See the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory for further details.) Meanwhile, trust is significantly easier to establish if both parties are known to each other.

        In summary, it may be the case that complete trust and complete anonymity are mutually exclusive.

        --
        1702845791×2
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06 2015, @06:20AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06 2015, @06:20AM (#166860)
          You don't have to have complete anonymity and complete trust. In theory you can keep your "real world" identity hidden while still posting/sending messages that are unforgeable (using digital signatures or similar).

          So after a while, more people could choose to trust you despite not knowing or caring what your "real world" name is.

          In the P2P scene there are a fair number of famous names/brands that aren't their real world names, and people flock to their torrents/seeds.

          So create a way for message senders/submitters to sign stuff, a way to group senders by the messages they are sending and a way to whitelist and blacklist. Then after a while the **AA bunch might have to actually seed real stuff from time to time if they want to build a good enough rep ;).
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday April 06 2015, @02:04PM

          by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Monday April 06 2015, @02:04PM (#166972) Homepage
          Is a public key anonymous enough? If you trust something signed by the matching private key in the past, which is your own personal judgement call, then when you see other things signed by that same key do you not trust it more than something of completely unknown heritage even if you still know nothing about the signer?
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by urza9814 on Monday April 06 2015, @04:25PM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Monday April 06 2015, @04:25PM (#167027) Journal

          Web of Trust or something along those lines. Freenet managed to solve this problem many years ago.

  • (Score: 2) by joshuajon on Sunday April 05 2015, @06:14PM

    by joshuajon (807) on Sunday April 05 2015, @06:14PM (#166719)

    Malware abounds masquerading as legitimate torrents.