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Kansas State U Software Identifies and Then Kills p2p apps
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Kansas State U's Josh Ballard, a computer science senior, is a happy guy.

When students went back to this fall, they discovered they could no longer use their p2p apps. And that's because a kill-em app created by Ballard now blocks exchanges.

"Ballard, a Computing and Network Services employee, created a network-filtering software system that dramatically reduced the amount of Internet bandwidth used by K-State, which in turn reduced K-State's costs significantly," says the February 18 online Kansas State Collegian, going on:

"Ballard said the peer-to-peer file-sharing applications were creating stress on the system, which was limiting people's abilities to do research and academic work."

The story quotes Ballard as saying his software can identify p2p apps as well as 'malicious content' traveling through the network.

"When the software identifies these types of packets, it either drops them or returns them to the sender, saying the connection is no longer valid," says the report.

"Besides relieving stress on the system, Ballard's system also saves K-State more than $100,000 a year on extra Internet service, Harvard Townsend, director of CNS, said.

Townsend went on that early in fall 2002, the residence hall networks were completely saturated, which caused slow performance. Because of this, students had trouble accessing anything on the Internet both off and on campus, said the Collegiate item.

"The problem was entirely due to students in the residence halls using peer-to-peer file sharing applications like KaZaA, Morpheus and Gnutella to exchange copyrighted and licensed music, movies and software," he said. "Once Josh's system was put in place to block those exchanges, the network performance improved dramatically for both on-and off-campus access. The network once again became usable."

Townsend also apparently said the system helps to reduce the number of legal complaints K-State receives for violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"Groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America contact CNS when they find violators of the act at K-State."

"One major U.S. public university said recently they deal with an average of 200 such legal complaints a month," Townsend said. "K-State only deals with about one per month because of Josh's system."

Ballard is quoted as saying of his system, "I'm not going to say it's all original, because it's not. I built on some others' ideas and threw in some original stuff, and that's kinda where it came from."


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