File sharers beware: there’s nowhere to hide, even in supposedly ‘anonymous’ filesharing networks. The NewScientist.com news service reports that Japanese police have arrested two people suspected of distributing pirated films and computer games through a program called “Winny”, which is meant to hide the identity of a user from everyone else on the network.
It is unclear how the two suspects were traced but their arrests have raised concerns about the security of the Winny network. According to the Japanese Association of Copyright for Computer Software around 250,000 regularly use it to trade files. Interest in anonymous file sharing networks has grown rapidly since the US music industry began taking legal action against individual users as part of a controversial attempt to stamp out illicit online music trading.
This is the first time anyone has been arrested in relation to use of this type of secretive trading network. The most popular file-sharing networks provide little or no secrecy for users who can easily be traced through their computer’s internet protocol (IP) address.