3.1 Rational Attacks

For P2P services to be effective, participating nodes must cooperate, but in most
scenarios a node represents a self-interested party and cooperation can neither
be expected nor enforced. A reasonable assumption is that a large fraction
of P2P nodes are rational and will attempt to maximize their consumption of
system resources while minimizing the use of their own.
For example nodes might realize that by not sharing, they save precious upload
bandwidth. In the case of copyrighted material, file sharing can have worst
outcomes. As it is illegal and quite easy for authorities to find out who is sharing
specific files, it can lead to a very big fine. These are good enough reasons to
motivate nodes in becoming “self-interested”. If a large number of nodes are
self-interested and refuse to contribute, the system may destabilize. Successful
P2P systems must be designed to be robust against this class of failure.

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