What’s XDCC?

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XDCC is an IRC browser that serves files as a search engine. It uses private message queries and client-to-client protocol commands to transfer large files at high speeds. XDCC has legal uses, such as creating and publishing dictionaries, but is often used for illegal downloading. The RIAA and MPAA investigate the use of compromised computers for illegal purposes.

XDCC was initially a script for use on Internet relay chat (IRC) in the mid-1990s. It is now an IRC browser serving file available as an add-on to an IRC client and functions as a search engine. XDCC is sometimes referred to as Xabi DCC, after its initial developer. XDCC uses two types of commands: private message (msg) queries to an IRC network bot, and client-to-client protocol (CTCP) commands to a bot using an IRC client. XDCC servers typically only handle very large files, such as entire movies, in packages for downloading and uploading at extremely high speeds. XDCC bots are often hacked computers at educational institutions or large corporations, chosen for their extreme transfer speeds above the speed of cable or digital subscriber lines (DSL).

There are legal XDCC uses, and one of them is an XDCC package in client software that allows the creation and publication of dictionaries on compact discs (CD) or digital versatile discs (DVD). These can be monolingual, bilingual or multilingual and can be customized with particular features and formatting to suit the market customer they are sold to, including adding the customer’s logo and branding to the dictionary. These are packed with features like simple and advanced search functionality in a user-friendly interface; and to make dictionaries searchable by other applications, there are application integration features.

This same client software can also be used in a process to produce dictionaries for websites. Dictionary content is indexed and provides search and conversion capabilities consistently, enabling multi-dictionary searching within a website. For example, if a company has both a picture dictionary and a thesaurus, search and indexing commands will be extracted uniformly from all the dictionaries without the need to learn separate commands for each dictionary or delineate separate file paths. Semi-automation allows for updates and rapid re-indexing of these dictionaries with new terms.

When sharing files, XDCC bots use a direct client-to-client (DCC) protocol to enable handshaking and use an IRC server to allow peers to interconnect and exchange files. Use of the IRC server will stop once the connection is established. Users can then request the XDCC bot for a list of its file packs available for download and, from that list, enter a command that will either start the download immediately or put the computer into a download queue.

The majority of XDCC usage is not only using unwitting hacked computers as transfer stations, but also downloading illegal content. XDCC has a versatile interface and simple command structure, making it an attractive choice for some for these illegal purposes. There is this to consider, however: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) are actively and diligently investigating the use of compromised computers to pursue and protect the profits of artists and their industries.

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