Torrent repositories are fertile ground for malware. Due to the nature of P2P networks, they represent an effective way to infect a large group of computers. Since these are usually very small files, they download quickly and infect your device stealthily. This is why we’ve decided to bring you a short but helpful guide on how to spot fake torrents. Keep on reading to learn more.
Disclaimer: TechNadu does not condone illegal file sharing or copyright infringement. Even though P2P file sharing technology is legal, many of the files exchanged via P2P are indeed copyrighted. Uploading these copyrighted files can put you at risk of a civil lawsuit. While these lawsuits are often class-action cases, some have been targeted at individual users in an attempt to make an example of them.
Secure Your Torrent Downloads
Many of you will be surprised to know that your Internet browsing is fully visible by ISPs (Internet Service Providers). These companies have the power to collect your personal data and hand it over to third parties. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep your data protected and inaccessible to anyone who tries to collect it. This is especially important if you plan on downloading and sharing torrent files.
TechNadu strongly recommends using ExpressVPN to encrypt your Internet connection, change your IP, and make your device impenetrable to malware. This particular VPN software scored the highest in our tests, which can be seen in our ExpressVPN review. Use the provided link to read all you need to know about this easy to use and highly powerful application.
Make sure to sign-up for ExpressVPN and enjoy the Internet as it should be – open and without any privacy concerns.
How to Spot Fake Torrents – Tell-Tale Signs
First, we’d like you to know that you don’t have to be afraid of using popular torrent websites. In fact, it’s always better to use a popular site than the one whose reputation is unknown to you. There are many ways to identify fake torrents, so here are some of the common tell-tale signs.
Tip #1: Check the Seeder/Leecher Ratio
In general, you should always pick healthy torrents. These torrents have a large number of seeders and a smaller number of leechers. For example, it’s a good sign when a torrent has around 3,000 seeders and 1,500 leechers. This means that you’ll be able to download it quickly, as fast as your Internet connection allows for that.
Occasionally, you will see torrents with a massive number of seeders but only a few leechers. Naturally, you might think that you’re downloading a new torrent and people need to catch up. However, you should also know that the majority of those who download torrents become seeders automatically. So, if a torrent has let’s say 10,000 seeders but only 500 or 1,000 leechers – you can see that something is just not right.
Tip #2: Download ‘Verified’ Torrents
The most popular websites have a team of administrators who check torrents. Their role is to make sure that torrents come without malware, and that you’ll end up with the files you’re looking for. Upon checking torrents, they will appear as ‘verified’ which is a good sign. Some torrent websites use a different terminology. For example, verified uploaders are called ‘VIP uploaders’ on The Pirate Bay and you can see a green skull icon next to their username.
The only downside is that you won’t find plenty of verified torrents. There are dozens of millions of torrents files out there, so it would be impossible to check all of them.
Tip #3: Avoid Downloading the Latest Movies
We all have been there. You’re browsing torrents online, and you accidentally stumble upon a torrent of a brand-new movie release. Naturally, you feel tempted and you think about downloading that movie. First of all, this is copyright infringement. Second, you will probably end up with a virus.
This is actually a common technique for abusive uploaders to spread malware. If there’s a movie coming out in the next few days, you will always find a bunch of torrents that say that they bring a leaked version. In 99.99% of the cases, these are fake torrents.
Tip #4: Stay Away from WMA and WMV Files
These days, almost all of the video files that you download via torrents come as MKV, MP4, or AVI files. There are many reasons for this. The most important one is that these video file formats can be relatively small in size without affecting the quality. Therefore, they are very suitable for online transfers.
In case you stumble upon a movie file consisted of WMA or WMV files, consider them as fake. These are outdated video formats and these torrents will ask you to visit some websites to download codecs. As you can see, these websites won’t be so friendly. This is an easy way to fake malware torrents.
Tip #5: Double-Check RAR, TAR, and ZIP Files
A certain number of torrents come as a single RAR file. These files are archives that you need to open and extract from the archive. If there’s a malware included in the archive, this can be a very easy way for your computer to get infected.
However, not all RAR or ZIP files are viruses. This only applies to movies. Since movie files are already compressed, they don’t need to be further compressed into RAR files. On the other hand, the majority of software comes already archived – so you need to use an antivirus to check the contents of those archives.
Tip #6: Double-Check EXE Files
EXE (executable) files are a direct way for malware to hide deep into your PC’s registry. That’s why malicious torrents use EXE files to hide malicious code. Still, you should know when this type of files is safe and when it isn’t.
When it comes to games and software, you need an executable file to start the installation. In many cases, these files will be named ‘setup.exe’. However, EXE files don’t have any role when it comes to movies and music. If you find such file when you download video or music files, the chances are that you should delete the entire torrent altogether.
Tip #7: Make Sure to Read the Comments
As you’re browsing torrent websites, you will see that most of them bring a comments section. These comments are more valuable than you think.
The community of torrent users is very friendly, as individuals like to share their thoughts on files that download. You will often read if a movie file is of bad quality, if there’s malware included, or if a user received a copyright infringement notice. Make sure to absolutely always take a look at the comments.
Tip #8: Beware of Password-Protected Torrents
Once fully downloaded, certain torrents will be password-protected. To unlock those files, you might be asked to visit some websites. Simply said – don’t! There is absolutely no need to protect torrents with passwords, and there’s no need to visit some website to unlock them. The safest thing you can do to delete those files as soon as you can. We’re sure you’ll find an alternative online that’s perfectly safe.
Tip #9: Always Use Safe Torrent Clients
There are many reports online about malicious torrent clients that seed fraudulent software, keyloggers, and viruses. Some of these are BitThief, Get-Torrent, TorrentQ, and Torrent101. We strongly recommend sticking to our list of popular torrent clients, where uTorrent is one of the most popular ones. Here are some of the safe torrent clients for Mac.
Tip #10: Always Use Trusted Applications
When you download a torrent, you should stick to your set of trusted applications. For example, you might have your favorite video player or music player. There’s no need to listen to instructions found in some torrents and to download third-party software.
Additional Resources: What’s Next?
That’s all when it comes to how to spot fake torrents. Before we let you go, we’d like to recommend a few useful articles found on TechNadu. These might help you expand your knowledge about torrents a bit more.
- Did you know that using a VPN is a bulletproof way to keep yourself protected online? Learn more about the best VPNs for torrenting by using the provided link;
- Then, here’s how to safely download torrents. This is where you can learn additional techniques for avoiding potentially dangerous files.
- Finally, maybe you want to be reminded of the basics. Read our article on how to use torrents to get to know the basic terms.
We sincerely hope that now you know how to spot fake torrents. If you have any tips and tricks, don’t hesitate to post a comment below.
If you’d like to warn other users about spotting malicious torrents, make sure to share this article online. Thanks!