Bitcasa - to good to be true?
#1
Hello everyone, I want to discuss the power of Bitcasa and what I believe will be a service that will end up being to good to be true and eventually might get shut down.

So I have been playing with Bitcasa for the past week and have been brainstorming some mind blowing ideas for how powerful this service will become, mainly for sharing files between everyone on the net.

What is Bitcasa? Bitcasa is a cloud service that gives you 10GB for free, or unlimited space for $10 a month. Why is it so powerful? You can share any link to your files with any other Bitcasa user, even if they have the free account. So what does this mean? This means any user that has a free account can have unlimited files (space) linked to them, and can download, stream, even send the link to other users. Their only restriction is when they go over their 10GB limit, they can no longer upload to their free drive, but they can continue to receive links, no matter how big the size is. BUT WHY UPLOAD, when another user can just send you a link to the data you want? Even when the link is deleted they still have access...they can send the link to another account and another...and it will never get taken down as long as they are all getting duplicated links.

Now how does Bitcasa offer unlimited space? It's because they match your files, they technically don't upload anything if the same file is already on their server. They do this in chunks. So if say one file is slightly different than another file they will match as much as they can, and actually upload the difference to their drive. So when you upload your 10TB library of movies, you are NOT uploading your library, you are MATCHING your library to theirs if those files exist. Bitcasa says 60% of data is non unique, so their is a high chance that you are matching. Now when these files get matched, or uploaded they get encrypted from your side, basically a KEY is generated to your username and password that only has access to view these files. But what if millions of users are uploading (matching) the same file? They are all just generating different keys to have access to those files...the originals on Bitcasa's server.

Think of it like this. You start a brand new free Bitcasa account ( similar to a key-chain with no keys ) you upload a file, it never really gets uploaded, just matched. You now generated 1 key on your key-chain to have access to that file. Now if you share a link to your buddy for that file, you actually just generate a key for them, you never give them access to YOUR file, cause it was never YOUR file in the beginning, just a match. Now if you delete the link, they will permanently have access to that file. Now they can stream, download, even send the link to someone else, like a spreading virus.

Now the crazy idea I had. Imagine one person starts a collection, about 1TB of media, they share it to 1000s of people, all those people add to it, they keep sharing, it builds and builds and builds, like a snowball growing while rolling down a snowy hill. Then this link file is about 1 Petabyte, 2-5-10- 100 Petabytes. Remember you never send the actually files when you send a link, just KEYS to all the files. It spreads so much that it's uncontrollable, and this is when action takes place, and Bitcasa comes to an end.

Now some people will say, well don't give out links, or keep everything tight and secure. But who are we kidding! It doesn't matter because your FILES are not your FILES, they are matched to the server. When in-experienced people find out how easy this is, they will share everything. Post links on facebook, twitter, etc... Then those people will share everything they want. In example, I shared my 800GB collection to my friend today, it was the fastest 800GB I've ever transferred took 1 minute. He can now stream, download, and also share that with whoever, no matter if I delete my account! I've been reading about people talking about Bitcasa and how they have uploaded their 40TB movies collection. They are NOT uploading anything! All they are doing is just verifying their files with what is on Bitcasa's server. The funny thing is, if that person were to just send a link of his (but not his) 40TB of movies to someone else, then someone else would have that collection in less than 1 minute or he could just search for other Bitcasa users that have movies like his that they could retrieve the link for. Now imagine everyone sharing this, and how fast it can spread! Think of a website just hosting Bitcasa links or people just constantly posting on facebook....you dont need to go to your regular site and download 720P 5GB movies you can just get a link for it, you would have a movie ready to stream in 1 minute. Then you can share that with anyone you want. You don't actually have that movie, but the KEY to the movie that is on Bitcasa's server.

To end, because this is an XBMC forum, I wanted to share that I have streamed many videos from Bitcasa on my windows PC using XBMC pretty flawlessly, and so has my friend, and brother, and his friend who are all at different locations using my link that I gave them. Also I have no idea if they have shared the links I gave them. Heck, I can delete my account permanently and they will continue to stream all those files, because they have the keys to the files Bitcasa has on their server. Never MINE. When people start sharing links, its just going to grow and grow and grow. If everyone were to upload 1 file and start sending links it would grow insanely fast. I fear what's going to happen when this catches on.

What do you guys think? To good to be true, or what?
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#2
to long didn't read
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#3
I hope that those links are all home movies and none are actually pirated content, we wouldn't want to bin this thread now
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#4
Of course it's all legitimate, legal content. Wink
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#5
yeah yeah.. that was just a friendly warning Smile
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#6
Well, besides my content, which is legal, the main issue was more so how others are going to abuse the service. I just believe when people find out how easy it is to share, it will spread like a wild fire. If you haven't tried it out, give it a shot, its shocking how easy it is to send a giant collection to anyone you want, and then from there just start streaming.
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#7
Well, unlimited is now 999 dollars, so that was that.
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#8
Hmm. They say all your data is encrypted on the client side, the client has the keys, and they don't have access/can't decrypt or examine your data. (See https://support.bitcasa.com/entries/23573406).

So how the heck are they matching it?

I don't understand how they can be doing this without knowing the contents. And if they know the contents, how can it be secure? Also, assume that we are actually talking about legal, legitimate, ie personal and unique, digital content... family videos, family photos, recordings of school events... how on earth can 60% of that be not-unique? I didn't find any technical explanation in a casual perusal of their site, either.

Anyone understand this technology?
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#9
They must check the file for a match with a hash or something before they encrypt it, if they find a match they just create a pointer to the existing file. Pretty clever, but its not going to save space for privately created content. I suppose backups of your own music and movies would be somewhat legit content that others may also upload, even though technically not legal. Seems that abuse is not only likely, but somewhat expected.
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#10
Am using BOX.com myself as they give 50gb free about a month ago.
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#11
I can understand pointers to duplicate, 20TB gets uploaded quickly as duplicates of previous uploads, but uploading unique material is another matter, some one who wants to grab the 20TB is getting into a very long download. With most systems uploading is a fraction of the download speed, days would turn into weeks and longer. The encrypted keys are great, but I doubt the content is stored in that fashion otherwise it would be too difficult to pattern match. I'm sure Bitcasa knows what is going on, and the content it's users upload and I'm sure they are aware of copyright. At one point this loophole deletion of the original up-loader's contents while still providing access to valid keys will close, and from the tea leaves I can see web storage solutions becoming more accountable to copyright.

This is of similiar nature to what Mega, MegaUpload and a few of the others are doing. Looking at Dropbox and how they started out, and look at them to-day, not a lot of loopholes there, and they are quite active in policing uploads.
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