Impacts of IPFS support on Internet usage bills and malware exposure

While running an IPFS node in local mode via Brave Browser, Little Snitch and Virus Barrier (Mac) issue a lot of alerts showing linkages to multiple URLs. Please help this Absolute Newbie by offering your comments about (1) my risks of getting malware into my network via my support for IPFS and (b) chances of growing bandwidth consumption to a level that either causes my ISP to send me a “Dear John” letter or causes my monthly Internet usage bill to become troubling.

Yes, these might seem like silly questions from an IT Neanderthal; but please bear with me. I want to support this great concept, even to the point of getting a cheap and fast computer where all my IPFS support work is isolated from my business projects; but before taking that step I feel the need to get some perspective on the concerns expressed.

Thanks in advance.

BTW — the Forum needs a Newbie Issues/Tutorials section aimed at people who are not IT professionals (other highly IT-educated people). The world needs many thousands of people running nodes in IPFS (or a future better system).

No more than HTTP. If you access malicious content, you receive malicious content.

That’d be a question for your ISP. Sorry, I don’t really understand the question. I think IPFS creates some ambient traffic, but I haven’t had it bother me at all. Looking at my stats over the past 5 days, I have about 15GB “in” and 3.3GB “out”. I’m assuming most of the in was me testing receiving different files/videos over IPFS. I also serve a bunch of content, so that’s likely most of my out.

Nothing’s going to randomly go nuts, so just keep an eye on the stats, figure out what you’re comfortable with.

We’re always working to make IPFS more accessible! Perhaps the docs might be of use? There’s also a Tutorials section on this forum. Feel free to also ask any question about IPFS you’d like in Help as well, we have many helpful and friendly people in this community.

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Thank you for a very welcoming and helpful response Discordian, especially since my questions lacked adequate clarity. Your remarks help me to return to them with better clarity, at least on behalf of my fellow Newbies.

In asking about possible malware exposure arising from my support of IPFS, I did not have in mind problems that will come up from actions that I take to access any particular addresses.

As I watched the highly varied list of IP addresses being flashed on my screen (by Little Snitch and Virus Barrier) in connection with incoming and outgoing communications involving IPFS, I asked myself what is the potential for ‘bad stuff’ to be parked in my environment (for future execution if it is code) or for my sensitive information to be transported away by an out-going communication.

This may seem utterly stupid, once I understand exactly what is going back and forth in the IPFS-related traffic; but it seems like a reasonable Newbie-level concern.

So, if you could send me the URL of (or the route to) a doc. where the nature of the IPFS traffic into and out of my system is described in suitable detail, that would move me along to the hoped-for level of calm about the issue.

Second, apologies for my cloudy remark about my ISP. I assume that my level of usage of their services is being tracked, and if my usage gets into certain ranges of volume or pattern their computer will ‘get upset’ and threaten to shut down service to me due to ‘ inappropriate use’ of their service.

So the question I ask myself is this: to what extent would my support of IPFS create such a volume of usage, or unusual patterns of usage, as to attract that kind of negative response from my ISP’s computer?

I realize that there is no way for anyone to answer the question without knowing what else I’m doing with my computers that involve my ISP! Your note is very helpful here because it suggests that what I need to do is to find some way to measure the usage that is specifically connected with my IPFS support, and then decide whether I get measurement results large enough to possibly get into trouble with my ISP. So your suggestion that I keep an eye on the stats and decide what level would keep me out of trouble is what I should try to implement.

I have a key assumption which may be wrong, and it is this: when a node supports IPFS the related traffic can be broken down into two parts. One part is traffic generated by or on behalf of the node owner. The other part is the usage of my environment (by other people/computers) to further decentralize the IPFS system to make it increasingly hard for ‘powerful interests’ to shut it down. My concerns here are focused on the second part only.

Anyway, thanks for your attention to these Newbie questions.

Finally, thanks for the information concerning the places to which I should go to strengthen my support for the work being done in the ‘IPFS community’.

As for security, the only concern is having your IP address read by peers as your can see with the ipfs swarm peers command.

IPFS unlike HTTP guaranties that what you receive is what you ask, thanks to content addressing.

Also note that running an IPFS node by itself doesn’t do much. Pinning content is helpful.

What content is another question.

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Thanks for your very helpful note, SionoiS.