[BitTorrent] UPnP, NATs, and P2P

Bill Cox bill at viasic.com
Mon Feb 14 09:30:17 EST 2005

On Mon, 2005-02-14 at 13:10 +0100, Olaf van der Spek wrote:
> Bill Cox wrote:
> >>From what I can tell, enabling UPnP on NAT enabled gateway is not
> > currently a good idea.  There are too many computers with spy-ware and
> > worse, and allowing those applications to open ports through your fire-
> > wall is risky.
> I hope you don't consider a computer with spyware safe and secure. NAT 
> or no NAT.

No, I don't.  However, the stuff is everywhere, and in particular behind
many (most?) NATs.  A friend of mine had her computer cleaned up by a
networking guy yesterday.  She had > 800 infected registery records, and
over 30 spyware apps.

There are simple schemes to allow a spy-ware program to hide it's
capabilities, but still communicate now and then with the outside world,
thus enabling a hacker to control the infected machine.  However, the
NAT keeps hackers from taking over whenever they want.  They have to
wait for the spy-ware to contact them.  UPnP enabled NAT gateways defeat
that protection, as weak as it is.

Whether or not UPnP is a significant security risk, I suspect that NAT
enabled gateways will continue to be shipped with UPnP turned off by
default (like my new LinkSys router).  The same guys out there who don't
know how to route BT traffic through their firewall will probably not
enable UPnP.


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