Most of us have this habit of using the available public internet (e.g Office WiFi or our host's WiFi) for downloading the movies / softwares / TV shows or Porn stuffs via torrents. I am aware that the torrent downloads can be traced by the ISPs but I was under the impression that it can be narrowed down upto the connection on whose name the Internet connection is obtained. But today I got to know a simple way to track / monitor the torrent downloads done by the individual machines.. that too in a simple manner without the need of any additional software installed.
When the computer is connected to internet, it is assigned an unique "address number" which is called as "Internet Protocal (IP) number" that distinguishes the computers and gives an "identity" to that machine. All the emails we send, files we share / upload through websites contain the IP details so because of which we are "exposed" in the Web domain. Nobody is "anonymous" in the internet. So once we get the IP address of a computer, we can trace the activities from that computer, break-in to the computer and access the personal details / files stored in that computer's storage / browser. So it is always better not allowing the browser to save your sensitive details like Email passwords, Bank logins and Credit Card details and to be on safer side let's type them manually everytime and if possible use the virtual keyboards, as the hacker might have installed a keylogger to "read" your passwords.
A website called "IKnowWhatYouDownload" is useful in tracking the torrent downloads. Once we know the IP address of the machine to be tracked, we can do our tracking the torrent downloads. If you want to check with your own machine, go to "Run" command by clicking "Windows + R" and type "cmd" and click "Ok". In the DOS Window, give the command "ipconfig" and get your IP address. Alternately you can type "know my ip" in Google search and get your IP address displayed in the browser.
Once we had got the ip number, go to "IKnowWhatYouDownload (http://iknowwhatyoudownload.com )" site and enter the IP number in the text box given and click "Find IP". This gives you the list of files that had been downloaded in that computer. This website will give you the list of files downloaded via Torrent client only, not browser downloads. However this just proves that you are vulnerable.
How to get the IP of the "victim" using the same website?
Click "Track Downloads" menu in the website and type any valid URL that containes any content (but should start from http://), which looks harmless and click "Transform" button. It will give you a short URL which can be sent to any of your "friend" whose torrent download activity you want to track.
Once your "friend" clicks the link, revist the page and you'll be given the list of torrent downloads if they had done. In my test case I got a message that no torrent downloads were done in that computer, which is true. I'll update this case later when I get any of my friend willing to share the Torrent download list. If there was any downloads, then the hacker can easily get the IP address of the intended computer.
So a major lesson learn in this case..
1. Never click any short URLs you receive from anonymous sources. Even if your close friend sends you a short URL, please call up and ask what was the link all about before clicking the short URL.
2. Try to use VPN services if you want to download files from torrent so that you can hide your IP and be little anonymous on the web.