Staying Safe Using uTorrent

| Posted in , , , | Posted on Friday, February 19, 2010

Though I dont condone pirating copyright material I am discussed by the way big business has been pursuing those who violate it. The recent imprisonment of the pirate bay founders is one of the more recent examples. Why we should fill the worlds jails with non-violent offenders is a mystery to me, seems like the world has alot of problems more pressing than peer to peer issues.

At any rate I feel the need to protect myself while online which is why I have previously used peerguardian as a firewall. Peerguardian uses ip blocklists hosted by bluetrack to prevent known anti-piracy groups from connection to you(see: Do p2p Blocklists keep You Safe?).There are also lists for spyware and ads which work the same way. Unfortunately peerguardian tends to be VERY buggy and common issues arent addressed as quickly as I would like. This isnt to ding the peerguardian developers - after all their giving the product away for free - but I'm not using 64 bit windows 7 and peerguardian barely works AT ALL. Thus I've had to look towards alternative programs to block malicious ip ranges.

If you use uTorrent (which is one of the most popular torrent clients right now. If you havent tried it I highly recommend it) has a built in ability to read .dat files and block ip addresses in them. Newer versions of uTorrent ship with the ipfilter.enable setting on so you most likely wont have to worry about that. Most guides to cover enabling the option though, so if you need to head over to this article and follow the steps. The thread on digiex describes a script that should update the .dat files so uTorrent always blocks the ip to date lists. I have never used that script so I cannot speak to its effectiveness.

Ultimately you'll want to download (or create, see next paragraph) a .dat file of a blocklist and place it in the C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\uTorrent folder and reload uTorrent. The logger tab should show 'ipfilter.dat' loaded or something similar. You can compile your own custum blocklist using bluetracks blocklist manager.

This guide covers the process in detail. I would highly suggest using the blocklist manager method since it generated the most comprehensive list and allows you to quickly update the .dat file.
Note: Unfortunately it seems that ipfilter.dat is the ONLY file uTorrent will load (I tried other blocklists with different names but uTorrent would only load the list if it was names ipfilter).

After creating and enabling a block list in uTorrent I stumbled across a peerguardian spin off named peer block. Peer block is based off the peerguardian code but its in active development and is far less buggy. I plan to write a more detailed review later. To download and try peer block head over to http://www.peerblock.com/releases

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