See peer-to-peer in Webster''s New World Hacker Dictionary
A controversial tool for P2P communications is known as Skype, an encrypted Internet telephony system allowing for the swapping of files; it interconnects with the publicly switched telephone system. Skype is controversial and a headache for enterprises, because it can easily Âpenetrate firewalls; however, businesses can implement safeguards by, for example, placing Skype on a separate, dedicated segment of their network.
Released in 2004 by the makers of KaZaA, Skype scans the Internet searching for a superÂnode (by definition, other users running the software and, therefore, not being screened by firewalls). An unknown quantity of supernodes links to other supernodes, eventually looping back to SkypeÂ’s servers, thus allowing users on the Internet to send and receive files.
Skype is marketed as having communications encrypted with a 256-bit encryption standard, and keys are exchanged with the RSA encryption algorithm. Unlike other, nonproprietary Voice Over Internet protocols (VoIP), Skype uses a proprietary, secret protocol. So, for financial and health institutions required by law to monitor the communications between their employees and their clients, they need to be aware that Skype is unmonitorable. Skype appears to be more secure than cell phones having their encryption disabled or landlines having zero encryption. With Skype, even large files of 100MB size can be sent without contending with server size restrictions.
In recent years, the P2P abbreviation has taken on another meaning Â“People-to-People.Â”Â Thus, P2P (or People-to-People) has become a marketing abbreviation for selling P2P software and for creating businesses that can help individuals on the Internet to meet one another or to share some common interests.
See peer-to-peer in Computer
From user to user. Peer-to-peer implies that either side can initiate a session and has equal responsibility. Peer-to-peer is a somewhat confusing term, because it has always been contrasted to a central system that initiates and controls everything. But in practice, two users on a peer-to-peer system often require data from a third computer. For example, the infamous Napster file sharing service was always called a "peer-to-peer network," but its use of a central server to store the public directory made it both centralized and peer-to-peer.
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