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U-WIRE: File-sharing of music, movies clogs Internet at Columbia U.

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday October 30, 2002

NEW YORK ¸ College residence halls are known for their blazingly fast Internet access, but lately students at Columbia University have been complaining of lackluster connection speeds and sluggish network performance. An increasing number of individuals are using Columbia's network to download music, movies, and other bandwidth-demanding files from the Internet, creating an adverse ripple effect on the performance of network systems throughout the campus, said Jeff Eldredge, Manager of Computing Support Services for AcIS.

Eldredge attributes the upsurge in bandwidth usage to the proliferation and popularity of file-sharing programs like Morpheus and Kazaa, which allow

individuals to trade files directly with other users.

Vladislav Adzic, SEAS '06, an avid user of a variant of Kazaa, said he does not see file-sharing as problematic.

"File-sharing is revolutionizing Internet usage, because it's becoming easier and easier to download music, movies, and software. I'd go crazy if I couldn't get my music and movie fix." Another problem responsible for performance issues is computer security. Vulnerabilities in file-sharing programs can allow hackers to infiltrate the Columbia network and flood its servers with requests for data.

These so-called denial-of-service attacks are notorious for draining bandwidth, the amount of information that can be exchanged across the network, and wasting computer resources.

"It's insidious," Eldredge said, "because we're not really sure when there's an attack going on or not."

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