I’d been wondering why our download speeds had halved, and why, for the first time since signing up with Digiweb, we’d exceeded our monthly (20 gig) download limit. I did some back of the envelope calculations and even including generous allotments of guestimation for Quicktime trailers from Apple and flash video from Youtube, it didn’t add up.
I ran a virus scan with AVG, and spyware scans with the old faithfuls AdAware and Spybot, which uncovered nothing. So I just assumed Digiweb were going through a rough patch, and we’d downloaded more than I was accounting for. Then today, IE 7 crashed (forgive me, I occasionally open the beast when I don’t want to risk real work crashing in Firefox from a time wasting flash game), and I Ctrl+Alt+Delete’d to kill the process. Low and behold Veoh, a video sharing service, whose client I had installed – grudgingly, and after checking a couple of spyware databases – to download Japanese cartoons for my girlfriend, was running a service, one not explicitly mentioned in the installer. The Veoh service was not only chewing up bandwidth, but resuscitated itself – Trojan like – every time I killed it, and insisted on being manually deleted.
I’m disgusted, it seems obvious the program uses its client not merely to P2P file requested from user to user, reducing it’s bandwidth overheads, but to serve packets even when apparently shut down; effectively using your computer as part of the networks swap file. This is very different from openly running the client in the taskbar on startup, which though rude behaviour, is obvious, common, and easily fixed. A windows service, is by contrast much more opaque to users, and this is the first time I’ve seen one run like this, effectively stealing system resources.
To quote the Veoh FAQ..
‘In essence, Veoh has designed a globally-hosted video server, capable of transferring enormous amounts of video in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional systems.’
Indeed. A fraction of the cost, to them.
Instead, each user’s computer participates in the network, providing bandwidth for other users. This is the only cost: your unused resources.
Unused resources are things like spare processor cycles. This is not Folding@home, the Veoh service eats bandwidth, at what can become a very real cost to you.
Let this be a warning, if you’re running the program, and don’t have literally tens of gigs of monthly bandwidth to spare (and who does?), uninstall now.
If you really must use Veoh, which does seem to have a wide variety of Anime YouTube lacks (a cynic might speculate the site is seeded from Topsites to build up the user base), follow these instructions to prevent the service from starting with your computer.
- Hit ‘Start’.
- Click ‘Run’.
- Type ‘msconfig’ and click ‘Ok’.
- The ‘System Configuration Utility’ will pop up.
- Click on the ‘Services’ tab.
- Scroll down the ‘Veoh Client Service’.
- Untick the box beside it.
- Click ‘Apply’, then ‘Ok’.
- Now click ‘Restart’.
Your computer will reboot, free of bandwidth stealing nastiness.
I’ve done a little reading and apparently Veoh also has the wonderful habit of deleting files you have already downloaded from your hard drive, if ‘content providers’ decide they violate copyright. What a nasty little outfit.