Researchers protect P2P networks from attack
There's an interesting article over at New Scientist on rewiring P2P networks to make them less vulnerable to malicious flood attacks.
Daswani points out that anyone can join a peer-to-peer network, so it cannot be run on trust. Instead, the researchers gave each node a set of simple rules to follow when processing requests from other peers. They found that when requests from ordinary nodes were treated in a different way to requests from supernodes the damage caused by a flooding attack was dramatically reduced.
During a flood attack, a malicious P2P client hammers other nodes with fake file requests, clogging the network as a result. It's like a Denial-of-Service attack for P2P networks, and something that proposed laws could let the RIAA unleash at will.
Even if the RIAA doesn't win the right to flood P2P nodes, I imagine that malicious P2P attacks will only become more popular as the networks themselves become more mainstream. Hopefully, we'll see more of this kind of research in the future.