John Dvorak sure opened up a can of worms for me with his strongly worded story about his theory of a “Conspiracy” to ruin BitTorrent by the media and Microsoft. Since his article came out I’ve gotten more email about my article on this subject than I could have ever imagined. (You can read John’s article here if you haven’t read it yet to see what he has to say http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1829684,00.asp .) Because of this article and the buzz it’s caused I felt that I should reply to John and the others that are pushing this conspiracy theory.
Come on John look around and see who’s writing these stories. It isn’t a bunch of fools that are writing about the Spyware/Adware problem with BitTorrent. Articles have been in every magazine and blog from eWeek to mine talking about the problem. Do you really think that I have any agenda with BitTorrent? I love and read your stories John but they aren’t always right especially when it comes to Microsoft and your conspiracy theories.
No one I know of is saying the problem is within BitTorrent itself but how it's being used by the Spyware/Adware distributors. BitTorrent is a great program and offers an answer to over loaded servers while providing secure data downloads without the possibility of tampering.
But that isn’t my concern!
The facts as I and others have stated them are as follows.
First Microsoft currently has no plans to challenge BitTorrent and all of the avalanche studies were just that studies. It seems that conspiracy theories are like gossip when it comes to Microsoft hard to stop and impossible to trace to their source. Microsoft is truly the company that people love to hate. Sometimes rightfully so but in this case John Microsoft is innocent and there is no conspiracy except in the mind of those who want to see one.
Microsoft has never had plans to release avalanche now or in the future. That’s right in documents on their web site from long before this argument took place. (Of course if they get enough buzz going on the subject that might change.) It was a research project in the beginning and it is still just a research project. Check it out yourself John if you doubt what I’m saying. Just search their information data base and see for yourself.
Second BitTorrent has definitely become a tool of choice to deliver Spyware/Adware programs and such to an unsuspecting public. I don't have to take someone else's word for this John as I have found Spyware/Adware floating around in BitTorrent downloads myself. When I scan my system before and after a BitTorrent download and find Spyware/Adware programs that weren't there before the download then they came in the BitTorrent download.
End of story!
So that’s the reason and the only reason I've quit using BitTorrent for the time being. Not because of some conspiracy, nor because I’ve bought into any false rumors or stories but because I, myself, found Spyware/Adware programs on my system that came in BitTorrent downloads.
And Third few if any Spyware/Adware detection programs are able to look into BitTorrent packets and see the signatures of any Spyware/Adware they may contain. Once the creodonts that produce Spyware/Adware programs found this out they realized that they had a great opportunity to use BitTorrent to distribute their cr*p. By their using a respected, popular program with good security features an unsuspecting public is allowing Spyware/Adware programs to be downloaded to their computers without even suspecting it.
That’s why I have recommended that people either stop using BitTorrent or use it with great care. I based my decision completely upon what I found was happening not on rumor or speculation. I’ve taken a great deal of flack on my article about BitTorrent after your article John but I stand by my statements in this article and in the original.
My advice to those people using p2p software is as it was before your article; Use BitTorrent if you feel you must use a p2p program. None but BitTorrent meets any standard of security that I trust as being very good. Just remember though that having a secure method of transmitting data that prevents tampering doesn't mean anything if the data is corrupted too begin with.
If you want to use BitTorrent or any other p2p program make a full Spyware/Adware scan before and after downloading anything. That will allow you to trace any problems you have back to the source. And while I have been accused of everything from being a co-conspirator with Microsoft (don’t I wish I was that close to Bill and the boys!!) to being a fool, I’m neither. I’m just an honest writer who feels that BitTorrent should be avoided like all of the other p2p programs as being too dangerous to use because of the Spyware/Adware risk.
So my decision to add BitTorrent to the list of programs that are just too much of a risk to use right now still stands. I download data using methods that allow for scanning for Spyware/Adware programs during the download process and thereby avoid the risk that I might not find them later.
So should YOU not use BitTorrent John?
I’ll leave that up to you and let you decide what risk is acceptable in your case.
Why? Because it is your business what you download to your computer.
Just don’t imply that I’m involved in any conspiracy with Microsoft or anyone else to stop you or anyone who wants too from using BitTorrent. I just prefer to stand on the side of security and safety and I feel that should I tell others of my concerns.
John I have too much at risk to take unnecessary chances and I’m too concerned with others not to express my fears to them! If that’s conspiracy then so be it but I call it being careful and avoiding unnecessary risk while meeting a public responsibility to help with safe computing.
Frank Woodman Jr