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BitTorrent Sync Beta Released 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the capitalizing-on-unrest dept.
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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BitTorrent Sync Beta Released

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  • Open source it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stewsters (1406737) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @02:54PM (#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. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @02:56PM (#44310785)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Why?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hobarrera (2008506) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @03:42PM (#44311141) Homepage

        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. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Pascal Sartoretti (454385) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @03:54PM (#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).

        • by Anonymous Coward

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

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

        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.

        • 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.

    • 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. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Pascal Sartoretti (454385) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @03:51PM (#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
      • by hedwards (940851)

        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.

        • 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.

          • by hedwards (940851)

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

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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.

  • 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.

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

  • by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @03:21PM (#44310981) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • 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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @03:23PM (#44310997) Journal

    >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?

    • by ADRA (37398)

      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 correc

      • 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.
  • by darkHanzz (2579493) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @03:27PM (#44311033) Journal
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

      • by Zidel (1687822)

        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

    • by Phil Hands (2365)

      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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 securit

    • by spongman (182339)

      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?

  • Yup! yup! yup! They misGood
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • 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?

    • by cs96and (896123)
      No, the files are only sync'd to computers that you give your secret key out to.
      • by Knutsi (959723)

        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?

        • by pwileyii (106242)

          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.

  • 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 deliv

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