Hounding the filesharers
Your average canine lives in a world of smell: they have nearly 220 million smell-sensitive cells over an area about the size of a pocket handkerchief (compared to 5 million over an area the size of a postage stamp for humans). Needless to say, this facility has been put to use in so-called sniffer dogs, such as Lucky and Flo, a pair of black Labrador Retrievers, the first animals trained to detect optical discs by scent. Lucky and Flo are sponsored by the MPAA and FACT, as part of an initiative to combat copyright infringement of films and DVDs.
By now you may be thinking what this all has to do with IT and community networking, apart from the fact that DVDs are digital technology? Well, the likes of Lucky and Flo are sniffer dogs and the concept of sniffing packets is not unknown in network engineering. At this point it’s time to introduce you to the product of exhaustive Bristol Wireless research, Jaffa, the world’s first (to our knowledge) packet sniffing dog.
Jaffa is owned by Bristol Wireless volunteer Dom and is a close companion of Chloe, who gets into pubs as a spelling dog for the dyslexic. 😉
Anyway, Jaffa has undergone extensive surgery for implants à la Captain Cyborg and can now be connected to a network wirelessly or via Cat5 cable (don’t ask where!) and uses his immense canine olfactory capacity to monitor network traffic. “We’ve trialled Jaffa extensively on our network in recent months,” says Bristol Wireless spokesperson Avril, “and he has proved very effective at distinguishing different types of network traffic after intensive training. In particular, Jaffa’s been most proficient in detecting packets illegal filesharing content. This will help safeguard us from the attentions of media company lawyers, as we want to be seen as responsible network operators.”
Avril continues: “When illegal content is detected, software installed on Jaffa’s implants can forward a message containing content type, timestamp, IP address and MAC address to Bristol Wireless network engineers by email and SMS, enabling them to take rapid action and if necessary disable a user’s access to the network”.