At school today my computer privileges were revoked after the IT department determined that I had been torrenting while at school. The only thing they could show me as proof was a chart displaying the amount I had downloaded/uploaded (did not specify up or down). It was roughly 3 GB/day. I am using windows 7 and had previously been using a version of utorrent I had downloaded about three weeks ago (it has been uninstalled and I don't remember the version).
I find their story hard to believe because I regularly check my Internet usage through my ISP's website (data cap) and have never seen the patterns they describe. My desktop computer is set up the exact same way as my laptop and I never see 6 GB/day of traffic unaccounted for. This being said, I have no idea why something like this would be fabricated by the school.
My question is this: what is utorrent uploading/downloading while all torrents are removed? I remove the torrents before I go to school, so there is nothing seeding. There were .torrent files both in my downloads and in the C:users/username/appdata/roaming/utorrent folder, but shouldn't they be prevented from seeding if I have removed them using the utorrent interface? Why haven't I observed the patterns described by the IT department in my own household?
First off the program is not illegal. If they say it is they're full of shit. Second, make sure you're computer has NOT been compromised, malware or other underlings might use utorrent for dirty deeds due to the fact that its p2p. Third, you might have noticed that always there will be a slight up/down traffic, llike 0.1 KB/s, thats normal because thats just the establishing of the tracker lists and other ip addresses. Its normal and certainly wouldn't account for 3GB of data.And if that was just the chart for how much data you're using then how do they know that it was all from torrenting? Torrenting uses something called a UDP protocal, which is basically the exact same thing that youtube uses for fast streaming. UDP is like a server just throwing data at random and when it reaches you downstream it is reorganized into something usable. Google it later. So if I were you, I'd just tell them, "Hey look, its not illegal to have it, I was just streaming content from youtube, lay off." Because IT these days shit their pants when ever they see utorrent. They assume you're up to no good, which is stupid. Honestly the only real fear from torrenting is if the traffic has been hijacked by a rogue DNS server. So you should be fine.
I'm running a virus/malware scan now. I expect my privileges to be restored within some arbitrary suspension period, so I'm not really worried there. My theory is that they wanted people at my school to get rid of torrenting software (this happened to about ten people) because they are liable for anything illegal on the computers. It happened to be convenient for them to blame the slow Internet speeds on torrenting, so they did. That is the only logical thing I can think of.
Note: by illegal I meant copyrighted stuff, not utorrent.
If you want to see what your laptop is sending and receiving over your school's network, you should download and learn to use and understand wireshark. If you're school's IT department is at all competent they'll be able to see you are using the bittorrent protocol via wireshark.
Your home computer and network usage is pretty irrelevant in measuring your school network usage with your laptop; you're not using the same computer or the same network and you're not doing the same things with the computer.
UDP is a connectionless/unreliable protocol use to transfer data quickly. It does not check to see if packet segments have been successfully received (acknowledged)by the recipient before sending the next ones like TCP does. UDP is not "throwing data at random". There is an IP recipient, but the recipient does not need to acknowledge receipt of packet segments before continuing transmission.
I'll check this out. Thanks for the informative response. Let me clarify about the home network. I use the laptop both at home and at school. At home the desktop is an additional device. If they are saying that the 8 hours I spend at school results in 3GB, then why does that same laptop not send/receive that much when I'm at home?
You probably aren't doing the exact same things for the exact same amount of time with your laptop at home as you do at school.