[BitTorrent] preventing unauthorized bittorrent peers?

David Wilburn dwilburn at mitre.org
Mon Jan 24 11:19:39 EST 2005

I have a funny security question regarding the bittorrent protocol that 
I hope you will answer.

If an organization decided to internally share sensitive documents and 
data via a private bittorrent tracker, would it be possible for an 
outsider to download that file from peers even when they can't connect 
to the tracker?

Such a scenario might happen when you have a laptop user in the 
workplace who downloads several sensitive documents, then goes home and 
happens to have the bittorrent client up while connected to his home 
ISP.  What's to stop a malicious person from taking an educated guess at 
the IP address, client listening port, and file indexes, and then 
connecting and downloading the files?  Is there any way to restrict 
unwanted peers to prevent this, such as some sort of mutually 
authenticating kerberos-like token given to each peer by the tracker?

David Wilburn

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