Study of Encrypted and Non-Encrypted BitTorrent Traffic

V. Rizza and H. Shi


Peer to Peer (P2P), BitTorrent, Encryption, Protocol, Network Traffic, Internet Service Providers (ISP)


Over recent years, Peer to Peer (P2P) traffic over the Internet has increased dramatically. P2P file sharing applications, such as Napster, Gnutella, KaZaA, BitTorrent, Skype and PPLive, have experienced tremendous success among end users. Recent statistics suggests that P2P traffic accounts towards 70% of Internet traffic. P2P traffic becomes a major concern for Internet Service Provider (ISP). Some ISPs have implemented shaping or blocking techniques in order to stem the flow of P2P traffic over their networks, which not only affect end users, but also the companies who develop P2P applications. Although P2P protocols can be used for transferring illegal content they have great potential for legitimate users, especially those in the business world. In this paper, we examine both encrypted and non-encrypted network traffic from BitTorrent, one of the most popular P2P protocols. First hardware and software requirements for this study are described. Secondly a torrent’s life cycle and data capture from the Internet are explained. Then encrypted and non-encrypted traffic are compared and analysed. Our investigations show that P2P is almost impossible to hide as not every packet is encrypted in the encrypted stream.

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