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BitTorrent Sync Beta Released

Soulskill posted 1 year,6 days | from the capitalizing-on-unrest dept.

Data Storage 69

Nerval's Lobster writes "BitTorrent Sync has reached its Beta milestone. The tool, which allows for secure file-syncing between devices, has been under development for quite some time: BitTorrent released a limited pre-Alpha program in January, planning to use any feedback to refine the software before release. Key features include the use of peer-to-peer technology for direct synchronization, rather than storing files in the cloud—a key differentiator from similar storage services on the market. 'It fits into our overall goal of making a better Internet using P2P,' BitTorrent Inc. told TorrentFreak when that pre-Alpha rolled out. In the intervening months, of course, former federal contractor Edward Snowden leaked a variety of top-secret documents about NSA surveillance to The Guardian, kicking off several weeks' worth of discussions and handwringing over government snooping. Several of those documents suggested that an NSA program codenamed PRISM siphoned user data from nine major technology companies, including Google and Microsoft; the named companies have stridently denied any involvement. Those revelations about the NSA—even if totally unsurprising to the paranoid—could kick off renewed interest in software tools capable of securing data against prying eyes. In other words, this could be just the moment for something like BitTorrent Sync to hit the market. 'Sync is a response to what we see as real, fundamental challenges to personal data movement: the limitations on speed, size, space, privacy, and security that come with cloud dependency,' read a July 17 note on the BitTorrent Blog."

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69 comments

Slashdot = faget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44310721)

Are you fukkers ghey? Do u fagets even lift?

Open source it. (5, Insightful)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,6 days | (#44310775)

The BTSync team has been perfectly clear that they do not intend at any time to open BTSync to the public. We were told that when we were using Skype, that it was safe and encrypted. Now we learned that it wasn't. Open source Sync and we will trust you.

Re:Open source it. (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | 1 year,6 days | (#44310785)

Why would you trust a company who makes backroom deals with the MPAA and adds tons of adware in their software?

Re:Open source it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44310847)

Has someone already tried to reverse engineer the protocol?

Re:Open source it. (2, Insightful)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | 1 year,6 days | (#44310877)

The BTSync team has been perfectly clear that they do not intend at any time to open BTSync to the public. We were told that when we were using Skype, that it was safe and encrypted. Now we learned that it wasn't. Open source Sync and we will trust you.

You are perfectly right; but I tend to have a bit more trust in BitTorrent than DropBox, SkyDrive, Google Docs or iCloud.

Re:Open source it. (2, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311043)

Why?

Re:Open source it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#44344273)

Because:
1. Your data doesn't reside on their servers
2. You can configure your clients to disable any communication outside of your peers (by default it has a "helper" tracker configured which can be used for peers to find each other, but isn't required)
3. You can easily verify point 2

Re:Open source it. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311099)

Thats backwards. google, dropbox, skydrive, icloud etc... are after money. pure simple motives.

the folks behind the mpaa however are trying to make an example and a statement vs. those evil nasty pirates.

thats dangerous...

Re:Open source it. (4, Insightful)

hobarrera (2008506) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311141)

Just like people used to trust Google more than Microsoft. Times change, and so do companies.

There's also the fact that open sourcing it allows implementations for ANY architecture and platform, not just those they choose.

Re:Open source it. (3, Interesting)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311213)

There's also the fact that open sourcing it allows implementations for ANY architecture and platform, not just those they choose.

Yes, but I would be more interested in their protocol to be published, in order to be able to implement interoperable solutions between BT Sync and other competing products (free as in free beer, free as in free speech or closed/commercial).

Re:Open source it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44313147)

You could use git-annex right now instead of asking them to open source their software (btw the dev is crowdfunding for new features).

Re:Open source it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44315315)

I'm one of those who discarded the idea of ever using Sync when I realized it would never be f/oss but I didn't know about git-annex and while it wasn't exactly what I was looking for it's still awesome and valuable simply to be aware of --thank you AC!

AC's rock :)

Re:Open source it. (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311199)

I tend to have a bit more trust in BitTorrent

No, actually you simply have a preference. There is no way to verify the trust of Bit Torrent Sync by simply looking at the six sides of a locked box.

Re:Open source it. (1)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311253)

I tend to have a bit more trust in BitTorrent

No, actually you simply have a preference.

I agree, it's a preference, based on past history.

It might change in the future, but I think that BT Sync's architecture is very promising. If they refuse to provide an open source implementation, then somebody else might implement a very similar solution based on the very same architecture.

Re:Open source it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44310991)

The BTSync team has been perfectly clear that they do not intend at any time to open BTSync to the public.

I'm sorry, what? That kills it right there. Dead on arrival.

How *stupid* are they??

But anyway, it's a trivial piece of software. If you have programmed a BT client before... e.g. using libtorrent... it's probably one evening of work. (Fuck GUIs. This is a daemon. All it needs is a text config file. Maybe some permission changes.)

Re:Open source it. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311841)

uTorrent, was never open source. Guess what's the most popular torrent client in use by a huge margin? Also guess who the guys behind utorrent currently work for?

Re:Open source it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311029)

Git-annex does the same thing without using bittorrent to transfer files. It also has a lot more features, such as encrypting files for using cloud providers as a special remote, file integrity checks, and repo balancing so that you have a specified number of redundant copies while using space efficiently.

Unlikely (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311079)

I doubt BitTorrent will open source this, as it's a for-profit company that hasn't had luck monetizing open source in the past.

Re:Open source it. (3, Insightful)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311187)

Open source Sync and we will trust you.

I think that opening BT Sync's code is neither sufficient neither necessary :

  1. - BT Sync seems to be a protocol, which can be observed. It should be easy to check that Sync is only sending files to expected places and not the NSA, independently from the licence of its source code.
  2. - Even if DropBox or Apple would release the source code of their cloud application, your files are sent to a centralized place, from where anything can happen. This does not seem to be the case with BT Sync

Re:Open source it. (1)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,6 days | (#44313765)

Sort of.

Theoretically if the NSA had keys to decrypt the traffic coming over the wire, then they could get access to that. However, because of the way that bittorrent works, it would be challenging for them to gain access to the full files after the first time that a full sync was completed for a given file.

I'd be more concerned with them just breaking into my house and slurping down the contents of my HDD when I wasn't home.

Re:Open source it. (2)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | 1 year,6 days | (#44315311)

I'd be more concerned with them just breaking into my house and slurping down the contents of my HDD when I wasn't home.

Luckily, this is not scalable.

Re:Open source it. (1)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,6 days | (#44317577)

Fortunately, they would never do that without a valid warrant issued based upon probable cause...

Re:Open source it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311255)

Precisely. Trusting closed source software made by Companies is just plain stupid in times of NSA back-end access.

Re:Open source it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44312055)

I knew the NSA had a backdoor into Skype when they offered a $1 million reward for anyone who broke its encryption in 2009. It was such an obvious ploy to make people think it was actually secure to encourage people to use it over communication methods the NSA couldn't access.

How legal is an unsnoopable claim? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44310861)

If you're told a service is unsnoopable and you get prosecuted because it turns out to be highly snoopable, is the company liable for any charges?

Re:How legal is an unsnoopable claim? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,6 days | (#44310885)

Yup! They have to serve your sentence for you.

Re:How legal is an unsnoopable claim? (1)

mcl630 (1839996) | 1 year,6 days | (#44313283)

EULAs generally idemnify the company from liability do to the program's use (although it's questionable how legally enforcable EULAs are). False advertising might be a better way to go after companies making claims like that. That said, what company or software makes the ridiculous claim of be unsnoopable and/or having unbreakable encryption?

Pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44310917)

You'd be a fool to install any software made by a company publicly in cooperation with the MPAA.
(who knows what kind of backroom deals are going ontop of that)

(:)copyrighted movie found in sync folder. contacting the lawyers.

Synching and sharing with random peers (1)

kye4u (2686257) | 1 year,6 days | (#44310943)

I know this might be a bit more difficult, but It would be neat if you could distribute your files with random peers. Of course, the files stored with a random peer would be encrypted. It would be something similar to Buddybackup [buddybackup.com] .

The advantage of synching and sharing with random peers is increased bandwidth and more redundancy in case one or more of your devices are not working or have limited network connectivity.

Re:Synching and sharing with random peers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311045)

TOR? Is that you?

Re:Synching and sharing with random peers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311237)

Isn't that what Freenet does?

Re:Synching and sharing with random peers (1)

Phil Hands (2365) | 1 year,6 days | (#44312933)

Tahoe-LAFS [tahoe-lafs.org] may be something like what you're after:

Can't trust this (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44310951)

Closed specification, closed client AND no apparent business model?

I don't see any reason to trust this with synchronizing any data.

Re: (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | 1 year,6 days | (#44310957)

Please people, seed my personal files that you can't see!

I don't care if they open their source (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,6 days | (#44310981)

as long as they open their standard. If I can choose an open-source implementation written by someone else, I'm much more interested and inclined to really use the service.

Re:I don't care if they open their source (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,6 days | (#44314277)

as long as they open their standard. If I can choose an open-source implementation written by someone else, I'm much more interested and inclined to really use the service.

It will be interesting to see if they document the protocol when it comes out of beta. If they don't I doubt very many people will trust that it does what they say it does, all the time.

Paranoid? (4, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | 1 year,6 days | (#44310997)

>Those revelations about the NSA—even if totally unsurprising to the paranoid

Don't those revelations imply that the people labelled as paranoid were in fact not paranoid at all?

Re:Paranoid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311057)

Clairvoyant or prescient would be better words, depending on when they were called paranoid.

Re:Paranoid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44312127)

The word you're looking for is "delusional." They have obviously been paranoid. They have, now provably, not been delusional in their paranoia.

Re:Paranoid? (1)

ADRA (37398) | 1 year,6 days | (#44313723)

No, it means when the paranoid are ultimately proven right in one case, it doesn't support their generally unfounded belief system. Take aliens for a good example. Aliens very well can and most likely do exist. The possiblity of aliens visiting earth and leaving basically no trace of themselves is very unlikely.

If one day an alien visits easrt are we to believe that all the roswell / other various conspiracy nut jobs had a leg to stand on? No, it just means that a belief in the unknown ended up being correct, even though that fear / paranoia ended up being truth.

Do I have a fear that someone's watching me when I'm sleeping? Maybe, but unless I can prove it one way or another, its just rampant speculation. Scientific process friend, it'll get you a long way in life.

Re:Paranoid? (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,6 days | (#44315019)

Semantics. Meh.

It depends entirely on the context. If you're referring to the generally paranoid, this is true. But if, on the other hand, those being referred to were those who were "paranoid" about THIS thing, then in fact they weren't paranoid at all.

Is there an open-source alternative? (3, Interesting)

darkHanzz (2579493) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311033)

So it's basically a distributed, but private dropbox thingie, sounds nice.
Is there any open-source that does a similar thing ? (as in: works on linux and android, and is fairly lightweight)
Owncloud is the closest I could find, but it requires a central server, I think.

Re:Is there an open-source alternative? (1)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311091)

Yeah, its requires an Apache server with php. Which if you have that you can just use webdav. It would be nice to get a decentralized, easy to use client for multiple platforms.

Re:Is there an open-source alternative? (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311757)

There's http://sparkleshare.org/ [sparkleshare.org] if you don't mind using git to track changes. The only problem is git needs a bare repository to push and pull from, so you're still tied to a central server.

I don't mind using a central server to coordinate everything, but I don't want to store my data on it. VPS disk space is really expensive compared to dropbox after all.

Re:Is there an open-source alternative? (2)

Zidel (1687822) | 1 year,6 days | (#44312433)

The only problem is git needs a bare repository to push and pull from, so you're still tied to a central server.

git can push and pull to normal repos as well (though it won't push to the checked out branch), so it works perfectly fine without a central server. You still need access to the repo you want to pull from which can be annoying for things behind NAT/firewalls etc. BT Sync can do NAT traversal so it could work better I guess. git annex sounds similar to what you want

Re:Is there an open-source alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44312071)

http://retroshare.sourceforge.net/

No apps for android or ios though.

Re:Is there an open-source alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44312485)

git-annex http://git-annex.branchable.com/

Re:Is there an open-source alternative? (1)

Phil Hands (2365) | 1 year,6 days | (#44313009)

git-annex (and git-annex assistant for those that don't like CLI):

    https://git-annex.branchable.com/assistant/ [branchable.com]
    https://git-annex.branchable.com/ [branchable.com]

does lots more than just sync you files, and can do that with proper encryption (GPG) to a load of cloud providers, or to your own servers, or without needing a server at all. I could go on, but it would be better to just follow the links.

I must be missing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311109)

The ONLY security that works is end-point encryption under the control of the user. This old "don't worry, we'll take care of it for you" approach is just another NSA scam.

Man-in-the-middle attacks, and in-built back-doors by companies like BitTorrent (remember, BitTorrent is a COMPANY, and nothing to do now with bittorrent the protocol used for ordinary torrents) render such services worse than useless.

Look, let me make this simple. Use Truecrypt or something equally reliable to encrypt a file. Send the file over the Internet. Ensure the receiving user knows the password through a mechanism least likely to be casually and AUTOMATICALLY intercepted by the NSA. If you are an actual named target of the NSA or similar agency, they'll use keyloggers, cameras in your home or whatever, and no security will prove good enough.

True security has different levels of quality. The security we want allows us to prevent Gates and Obama from running mass surveillance on our private data. Like I said, it won't help if heaven forbid we become named targets, but it will reassert the principle that ordinary people are NOT cattle to be tracked and monitored by their 'owners'.

I perhaps need to point out the obvious. When a user is creating secure communication between devices they control, this issue of providing a password or key to a second party is missing, simplifying things to an extraordinary degree. Because the user can create ONE password and be the only person that knows that password, true inter-device security is theoretically possible.

However, take the recent announcement that Tony Blair's goons are legally able to confiscate ANY phone from people passing through UK borders, with no excuse required. Why don't most phones allow user data to be properly encrypted, making Blair's actions useless? And please don't give me crap about forcing passwords from people. That is a tactic that, even in the UK, can only be applied to a VERY small number of people, and even then some court approved suspicion is required. Blair has goons grab so many phones BECAUSE the data they contain is almost always trivially available.

I should also point out that no REAL criminal is going to forget to protect or hide their data. Only ordinary users, with 'nothing to hide' (a very dangerous way of thinking in Blair's police-state) will be so casual about what they keep on their phones.

I'm sorry but finding crooks should require 'work', and not rely on laws that assume we are all criminals. It should be a legal requirement that all devices capable of holding personal data have state-of-the-art encryption systems that not even the NSA can break. If the person becomes a named target, the State should have to make a real effort, like replacing his/her phone with a hacked one whose security is compromised. Pre-crime action by the State against all of us is an OUTRAGE. Microsoft, Google and BitTorrent working with the NSA to compromise ALL software provided to ordinary citizens is a crime against Humanity.

Re:I must be missing something (0)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311193)

>>recent announcement
>>Tony Blair

You realize Tony Blair's been out of office for 6 years, right? Either this is old copypasta or lol troll is lol.

Re:I must be missing something (0)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311539)

However, take the recent announcement that Tony Blair's goons are legally able to confiscate ANY phone from people passing through UK borders, with no excuse required.

Citation needed, not least on when Tony Blair got re-elected.

(F)OSS motherfucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311181)

They can maket it all they want, nobody that actually knows what they're doing and wants their data to be secure would use this. BT Sync is a product from a company known to collaborate with MPAA & co. I wouldn't trust it with anything until we've seen the source. I hope the same thing that happened to torrents will happen, and that is someone will develop an open source client for this protocol.

Love it (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | 1 year,6 days | (#44311295)

I just love when bittorrent is tied into freedom of speech and human rights. It just shows people don't know shit about fuck with regards to freedom of speech and human rights.

First world problems for sure.

rsync over ssh, private cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44311897)

I know it is not exactly the same, but it sure does eliminate a lot of security concerns about third-party keys and such floating around. I have been doing network "dropbox" type drive mounts between my own machines for years this way, including across several countries, cities, and offices. Of all the "vpn" systems I have ever tried, ssh, sftp, and so on is still the easiest to use (in 'it just works' sort of way) with the most flexibility.

I also don't see why someone could not setup there own private torrents between machines, perhaps over ssh tunnel, to create the same effect as this software.

A step in the right direction ... (1)

tsprig (167046) | 1 year,6 days | (#44312645)

but we need to go further. How cool would it be to have an XMPP based initiation protocol instead of a LAMP stack? Place your jabber server credentials of choice into two devices and then have some form of pairing over XMPP. Initiate a direct connection if possible but use XMPP as a fallback. Extra points for communicating over SSL via generated public-private key pairs per device with a graphical fingerprint for pairing the two devices together.

Re:A step in the right direction ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44313177)

https://git-annex.branchable.com/assistant/

Re:A step in the right direction ... (1)

tsprig (167046) | 1 year,5 days | (#44319499)

https://git-annex.branchable.com/assistant/

Wow, that's pretty cool. It even supports storing an encrypted copy on a remote server as well as storage on common cloud platforms.

bittorrent sync fs (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | 1 year,6 days | (#44312753)

Of course the ultimate extension of this is a bittorrent filesystem sync. Imagine you have a lot of music or movies and want to keep them in sync in multiple locations securely. Maybe allow friends to get a read-only sync copy of your media but not your financial data. Maybe sync everything to a NAS in your parents.

Benefits of just using rsync (which I use now) is obviously the torrent part of it, but an additional part is that you can likely do it without punching an extra hole in your network's security if you live behind a couple layers of routers.

Re:bittorrent sync fs (1)

spongman (182339) | 1 year,5 days | (#44320481)

Imagine you have a lot of music or movies and want to keep them in sync in multiple locations securely

isn't this exactly what BTsync does?

ffs /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44313377)

Paranoid is not exactly the right word, considering it was fucking true.

Yup! yup! (1)

sinemadiziorg (2987589) | 1 year,6 days | (#44313615)

Yup! yup! yup! They misGood

Already went with owncloud (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44314325)

As cool as using bittorrent protocol would be, at least owncloud's [owncloud.org] developers do release the source code [github.com] , and there are sync clients too. It may not be distributed (it requires a regular server setup), but I'll take that over not having the code.

I'm a little unsure about this program (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44314883)

I would like to point out that BTSync has some method of knowing which application/machine is associated with a certain secret. That is, when you installed BTSync all you needed to enter was your secret and it automatically knew which program was associated with the device. It automatically connected program A at IP B to program X at IP Y. To accomplish this there has to be some sort of central registry knowing that program A is associated with that particular secret key.

To obtain your files, all someone needs to do is install with that secret (which as I said BTorrent already knows somewhere on their servers). This appears to be all smoke and mirrors and is likely less secure than Dropbox et al.

Re:I'm a little unsure about this program (1)

pwileyii (106242) | 1 year,6 days | (#44317019)

BitTorrent does NOT know your secret. They create a hash that is derived from your secret (and some other information) and use the BitTorrent protocol to publish that hash. When a device sees another device with the same hash, they start to communicate and that is how they ultimately connect with each other, but each one still needs to have the same secret key.

Can't files be cracked, like passwords? (1)

Knutsi (959723) | 1 year,6 days | (#44315001)

So this thing stores segments of your synced stuff in a distributed fashion across multiple unknowns computers. right? I've been following a recent article series on Arstechnica about cracking passwords, and that left me worried. Now, what is to stop anyone participating in my sync from forcefully cracking and viewing encrypted parts of my files?

Re:Can't files be cracked, like passwords? (1)

cs96and (896123) | 1 year,6 days | (#44316071)

No, the files are only sync'd to computers that you give your secret key out to.

Re:Can't files be cracked, like passwords? (1)

Knutsi (959723) | 1 year,6 days | (#44316131)

No, the files are only sync'd to computers that you give your secret key out to.

So if I have not shared the key with anyone else, at the very least two of my computers needs to be online at any given time, and of those at least one with the most current version?

Re:Can't files be cracked, like passwords? (1)

pwileyii (106242) | 1 year,6 days | (#44316955)

So if I have not shared the key with anyone else, at the very least two of my computers needs to be online at any given time, and of those at least one with the most current version?

In there being no third-party, yes, you have to have the two computers on at the same time in order for the files to sync with each other.

What I've Been Looking For (1)

pwileyii (106242) | 1 year,6 days | (#44316929)

I've been looking for a good solution to "divorce" myself from the cloud storage trend for quite a while and I'll started using BitTorrent Sync as soon as it was announced. They also now have an Android version for testing and it also works quite well. They use a secret key for each folder shared that is generated by the software, or can be created by you. Each folder has a full access and read only key, so you can share files at two different levels. These keys can be changed anytime and it has a key delivery mechanism of one-time keys that can be more easily shared. Obviously, in order to keep your files safe, you need two locations that separate, such as home and work or you could sync your files with a friend. The features have been coming very quickly and I'm pleased by all they have added. You can choose how much you want to use the BitTorrent network (your files are always encrypted with your key though so they cannot be viewed over the network) from using their trackers, a relay server, and the DHT network, to just using the LAN and hardcoding the host IPs into the software configuration. The more of the network you use, the easier it is to access your files from anywhere. So, if you don't trust BitTorrent, then you don't have to use them. The Android application (and the iPhone one when it come out I'm sure) has some additional features, such as the ability to easy transfer files between mobile devices by simply scanning a QR code and things like that. So far, I am very pleased with this software and have been recommending it to everyone.

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