One of the most popular activities on the Internet is file sharing. For this, the cloud or P2P programs are usually used. In this case we are going to focus on the seconds, in which the files that are shared and downloaded will be on our computers. Some of the most popular P2P programs are Torrents or eMule. However, although they work well, privacy is not their strong point. In this tutorial we are going to talk about Surge, a platform for sharing encrypted files based on Blockchain and that can protect our anonymity.
We are going to start by explaining what a P2P program is, then we will continue explaining what Surge offers us, how it is installed and we will also see how to use it.
What is a P2P program
A P2P program could be defined as the software we use to connect to such networks. In that sense, it is English P2P peer to peer , and network refers peer network , peer network or peer network .
Thus, we find a computer network in which it works without fixed clients or servers, we find a series of nodes that behave as equals between them. Therefore, these computers will operate simultaneously both as clients and servers with respect to the other nodes on the network. Through the use of P2P networks we can proceed to the direct exchange of information in any format and between the various connected computers.
If we want to use a P2P network we will need to install its corresponding software. Currently, the most used are those based on torrents such as BitTorrent, uTorrent and qBittorrent. Another that is still used a lot is eMule and to put the name of some historical one that is no longer used, Kazaa and eDonkey 2000. Currently the use of P2P programs is legal, but files should be shared and downloaded without copyright. Another problem with these programs is that they can currently see what downloads we are downloading, so you lose privacy. To try to improve the situation, Surge, the P2P program that we talk about below, was born.
What does the use of Surge contribute when downloading
Surge can be defined as a P2P file exchange program that is designed to use blockchain technologies, with the aim of making completely anonymous file transfers. In that regard, Surge operates with an end-to-end, decentralized and open source encryption that is available on GitHub .
In addition, it is made with the latest and most modern technology available. For this they use Golang as a backend, vue.js and wails for the interface and NKN blockchain to make transactions. The P2P Surge program works as follows:
- Decentralized and without downtime or maintenance.
- Secure as transactions are end-to-end encrypted and make interception impossible.
- Anonymous , in which no client can determine the origin of the file being shared. Its way of working is by sending ID to ID without an IP being involved.
It is currently in a public beta state in which improvements will be added. With Surge we can easily add and manage our file library. In the near future they will implement support for their own magnet link format. Regarding the way of working, Surge uses the NKN blockchain network for all communications. This includes both the transmission of data and the announcement of file lists.
Regarding the difference with a traditional P2P program like BitTorrent, by using the NKN blockchain network, you will totally avoid the use of a direct TCP / IP connection between the recipient and the sender. This ensures that neither those involved in the exchange nor anyone else can know where a file comes from and where it is going.
Program installation and start-up
The first thing we have to do is go to the project website by clicking on the following link . Then you will see the following:
Here what we have to do is click on the Download button (public beta) . Then we will go to GitHub where we will download the latest version available.
In that sense, we are going to have Surge for Windows, Linux and macOS along with its source code. For the elaboration of this tutorial I am going to use version 0.3.2 beta for Windows.
Once the file is downloaded, we unzip it and run the installer that comes inside. Then, a screen like this will appear where we can choose the folder where we want Surge to be installed.
Generally, except for some special reason of lack of space or organization, it is advisable to leave it like that and click on the Next button . If we want it to create a shortcut on the desktop, we activate the box in the red box above and if not, we click directly on Next .
Then we will proceed to install the program by clicking on Install .
When the installation is finished, a screen like this will appear:
Then we press the Finish button , and if we leave the Launch Surge box activated, it will execute the program, which in this case is what we are going to do.
Getting started and handling the P2P Surge program
This is the main screen of this P2P program.
If you look at the bell icon, it is offering us a notification. If we click on it, you will get this message:
Here we are told that Surge has successfully connected to the NKN network, which is the one that will provide us with anonymity. On the left you have two other icons:
- Gear wheel : to access the program settings. There we can put the dark mode, go to the program’s website, see if we have the latest version of the program on and also obtain documentation.
- Moon icon : it is used to activate the dark mode directly.
This is an example of how you see the dark mode applied in the settings screen.
Now, if we click on the sun icon we will return to the initial white theme. We are going to explain what the buttons on the left side are for.
The magnifying glass icon refers to the Remote Files section . In this case, it refers to files that have been shared by users on the P2P Surge network. Above in the red box you have a file browser.
On the other hand, the folder icon is the section called File Transfer . There will be both the downloaded files and the ones we want to share.
Then at the bottom we have the status bar of the program.
Thus we have the number of clients connected to the program and the average upload and download speed that we are using from our connection. Finally, to finish Surge with the + button you can add more files from your hard drive to share with others.