Servers at one hub of the file-sharing network get hit by a distributed denial-of-service attack.
A flood of data has hammered several of the tracking servers for BitTorrent downloads, according to LokiTorrent, a Torrent network hub.
The attacks apparently targeted the central BitTorrent directories used by people to find movies, music and other content on the file-swapping network, according to information posted Wednesday on LokiTorrent, a BitTorrent tracking Web site.
"We had a massive DDoS attack lasting almost 10 hours today," said the posting on the site. "It seems we were not alone in this attack, as many other torrent sites also fell victim to them. Us being up again does not mean these attacks may not happen again, but at least it means we had taken steps to prevent further attacks."
BitTorrent technology lets people download files from several member computers in a peer-to-peer network. Once a fragment of a file is cached on a PC, that machine then makes it available to other users, to speed downloads. Though distribution is shared, the technology still relies on central tracking servers to direct a downloader's software to different pieces of a file, which could be hosted on several users' PCs.
The distributed nature of BitTorrent makes the technology somewhat harder to attack but also makes defending the tracking servers that much more important.
This is not the first time online attackers have focused on distributed technologies. Web site caching service Akamai was hit by a massive data attack earlier this year.
It is unknown how widely the BitTorrent attack affected other networks. Neither a representative of LokiTorrent nor the creator of BitTorrent, Bram Cohen, could immediately be reached for comment.