As reported by TorrentFreak, nine widely used anti-virus products are flagging torrent clients such as BitTorrent and uTorrent as a threat. The issue affects both the desktop clients and their web-interface counterparts, and according to the AV vendors, the reason is the advertisements that are pushed through these tools and not the tools themselves. These vendors are Antiy-AVL, Comodo, Cylance, DrWeb, ESET-NOD32, GData, Microsoft, Sangfor Engine Zero, and Sophos AV. Considering the trend that is growing, it is very possible that more vendors will join in and flag uTorrent and BitTorrent soon.
While the torrent client software developers are definitely not satisfied with these cases of what they call “false positives”, they didn’t take any action to resolve the problem yet. These advertisements are undoubtedly annoying for the users, and they are now combined with AV warnings to “continue at their own risk”. Sure, some projects rely on advertising to keep their services free of charge, but maybe getting flagged as “adware” should ring a bell that the situation has gone beyond any acceptable threshold. Many users revert to modded versions that are clean of ads, but this comes with even greater risks of downloading malware or ransomware.
Torrent clients and torrent files are entirely legal, but they have taken up a bad reputation due to the fact that they are extensively used for the sharing of pirated content. It is not the tools that are illegal, but often the ways that we use them. With this flagging from AV tools, users may feel that what they’re doing is dangerous or risky, so it’s adding further to the unjust reputation.
If you are looking for a torrent client that is free of charge, free of advertisements, safe to use, and open-source, you may give qBittorrent a try which gives many reasons to be loved by a lot of people. Another great choice is Deluge, although it is a little bit outdated on Windows and macOS. A third choice is Transmission, which is cross-platform, fairly simple to use, and features a modern user interface. Whatever you do, don’t forget that downloading torrent files always comes with a risk of getting your system infected by malicious software. That said, you should always scan your files before you unpack or execute them.