What is BitTorrent? | Is Torrenting Safe? | Kaspersky
BitTorrent is an internet transfer protocol. Much like (hypertext transfer protocol) and ftp (file transfer protocol), BitTorrent is a way to download files from the internet. However, unlike and ftp, BitTorrent is a distributed transfer protocol.
BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol finds users with files other users want and then downloads pieces of the files from those users simultaneously. Consequently, transmission rates are faster than with and ftp, which both download files sequentially from only one source.
In 2005, estimates indicated BitTorrent accounted for about 35 percent of all internet traffic. After spiking in early 2008, BitTorrent’s popularity gradually declined as internet speeds increased.
During the same time frame, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime dominated the market with low-cost downloads. As a result, BitTorrent’s 10 percent share of all download traffic in North America in 2010 dropped to 3 percent by 2015.
Is Torrenting Legal?
BitTorrent is a legitimate file transfer protocol, and using it — called torrenting — is legal as long as the content can be downloaded or uploaded legally. However, using it to download copyrighted material — like a brand-new movie — without the copyright owner’s permission is not legal. More than 200, 000 users were sued in the United States between 2010 and 2011 for downloading copyrighted material using BitTorrent.
Since that time, lawsuits have been replaced by copyright trolls who are authorized to act on behalf of copyright holders.
Because the BitTorrent technology reveals the IP addresses of devices connected to its data stream — called a torrent — trolls can identify which addresses download files.
The trolls send settlement letters to the internet service providers (ISPs), who then forward the letters to their clients.
A typical 2017 settlement request by the group known as Rights Enforcement was $300. Because IP addresses aren’t considered legal entities, however, the trolls rarely have individuals’ names and therefore can’t pursue collection.
Is there a Legitimate Case for Torrenting?
Downloading patches, modifications, and updates for older, unsupported video games and user-generated modifications for supported games is a compelling reason for accessing BitTorrent.
Accessing classic movies, B movies, indie music, books, and software in the public domain or available through Creative Commons licenses is another legitimate case for using BitTorrent. Examples of legal sites include Public Domain Torrents and the indie site Vodo, among others.
Is It Safe?
Torrenting should be approached with caution. BitTorrent has a reputation as a technology used to pirate movies, games, and other copyrighted content. ISPs know this and often send warning letters and anti-piracy educational materials to BitTorrent users.
Repeat offenders could find their bandwidth reduced or their accounts suspended. ISPs may not differentiate between legitimate BitTorrent sites distributing material with Creative Commons licenses from those sharing pirated content.
Additionally, hackers often use free content as a malware-laden lure to wreak havoc on users’ computers or launch attacks. To minimize the risk, BitTorrent streaming sites that claim to check files for viruses and other malware have emerged.
Visibility is another danger. The ISP addresses of users and the content they transmit are visible to all BitTorrent users — and this information is often tracked by copyright holders, law enforcement, advertisers, and hackers. It’s important for torrent users to maintain complete internet security by using internet security software, keeping malware definitions up to date, and installing operating system patches as soon as they become available. Encrypting an internet connection by using a virtual private network (VPN) to mask the IP address also helps, but it isn’t foolproof.
How to Use BitTorrent
As noted above, make sure you have a robust internet security tool, and connect to a VPN to mask your IP address. Then download and set up a BitTorrent client. To find content, use your web browser to visit popular BitTorrent tracker sites. Use the BitTorrent client to actually download the files you need.
Remember, although BitTorrent itself is legal, a lot of the content available through other users is pirated. Be careful to download only legal content, and always scan all files for malware.
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What Is BitTorrent and Is It Safe? BitTorrent is a distributed protocol transfer that allows users to download files from others. Before torrenting, be sure learn about its legality and safety.
Why BitTorrent Sites Are a Malware Cesspool – Intego
Recommended + Security & Privacy
July 20th, 2017 by
Often when people hear “BitTorrent, ” they assume it’s illegal and dangerous. While it can be used as a perfectly legitimate system for sharing files, syncing files, and messaging—in fact, I use it myself every day—BitTorrent sites in general have a bad rap, but why is that? One word: Malware.
A lot of apps available through BitTorrent websites are paid products that have either been cracked or that come with a crack that turns it into a fully functional application, without having to pay a penny. “Cracked” software means it has been modified to bypass the registration process or unlock paid-only functionality, so it can be used without paying anything for it. In many cases, demo or trial versions of apps are cracked, so they are extended indefinitely, and the licensing process is cracked to accept any details as valid, or the software may come with a key generator that spits out a name and password that can be used to unlock it.
These cracks, patches, and key generators are also more often than not the source of malware and, in some cases, the software itself has been modified to deliver malware.
Is BitTorrent safe to use?
The short answer is that the BitTorrent program itself is relatively safe, but like any software that connects to the Internet, it is susceptible to attacks. However, do not confuse the safety of peer-to-peer programs like BitTorrent with the files that are shared through those programs. These files are the real threat. But are some of them safe?
How safe are files shared through BitTorrent?
To find out the risks of BitTorrent and whether or not files shared through the program are as bad as its reputation is made out to be, I browsed a few BitTorrent sites and downloaded the popular software they had available (strictly for testing purposes, all of which I promptly deleted after testing).
If every piece of software from BitTorrent programs are malware laden, why would it still be around? Do vast numbers of ordinary people risk malware attacks, possible fines and jail time (downloading these kinds of files is illegal in most countries) by downloading cracked software from BitTorrent? Surely it can’t be that bad.
Malware like SilverInstaller, and ransomware like KeyRanger and Patcher must be the rare exception. So I took it upon myself to find out, and here’s what I discovered.
After pulling in several gigabytes of software shared through BitTorrent, I fired up Intego VirusBarrier and let it loose on the Downloads folder. The results were shocking.
Every crack, patch and key generator included in these downloads was flagged!
Here is a screenshot showing just a small part of the results:
And it’s not just the downloaded software from BitTorrent that poses a risk, the torrent websites themselves try very hard to get extra stuff installed on your system as well. Most time spent on those websites is spent fighting off pop-ups and redirects, each presenting you with tons of fake Flash Player update alerts, scare tactics and more.
Just a few examples of the things that popped up can be seen in the graphic below:
Merely two minutes torrenting lands you in a malware cesspool.
This is just what popped up after merely two minutes of browsing torrent sites, not including duplicates! It’s exhausting, and it certainly makes you wonder how people get around to downloading anything at all from these sites. Seriously.
Each and every cracked software shared on BitTorrent will download malware to your Mac, if clicked. A quick sampling showed several Bundlore, Genieo, AMC installers, and even the recently covered SilverInstaller popped up. Quite a few PUA’s also popping up. Each of these sites also asked me to activate Flash Player in my browser, no doubt looking for vulnerabilities to exploit.
Some of these fake warnings and messages look better than others. All it takes is one to successfully trick a user into installing it, and malware will be brought onto the system.
The good, bad, and ugly of BitTorrent downloads
There are good reasons for using BitTorrent, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, but the bad news is it is by far mostly used for the downloading of illegal software, TV shows and games. Both the websites that offer up this content and the content itself are a major risk to the security of your Mac and your data.
Furthermore, your Internet service provider may also disconnect you if they see that you’re downloading illegal software. The ugly truth is you could even get sued by the developer of the software or producer of the show/movie/music. Trust me, they keep a close eye on these downloads to see exactly who is infringing on their copyright.
So is it worth the risk? You decide. But take heed: Every user should take extra precautions when using BitTorrent sites. Do you have a different opinion or perhaps a BitTorrent horror story of your own? Drop us a comment below!
As for the test software I downloaded from BitTorrent:
About Jay Vrijenhoek
Jay Vrijenhoek is an IT consultant with a passion for Mac security research. He conducts independent malware protection tests, and also writes about privacy and security related matters on his blog Security Spread. Follow him on Twitter at @SecuritySpread.
View all posts by Jay Vrijenhoek →
BitTorrent vs uTorrent – Which One will Dominate in 2020? – STechies
uTorrent or BitTorrent
Two of the most popular software used for downloading torrents are – BitTorrent and Utorrent. Both of them have similar utilities and user interfaces. However, to make the torrent downloading experience better and faster, let’s examine both to determine which is better.
Torrenting is one of the most popular internet activities. It comprises of more than 3. 35% of the total internet traffic. People use it for downloading movies, games, music, e-books, and much more.
In this method, you need not downloading the entire file from a single point but multiple sources simultaneously. The references will have bits and pieces of the data you need. This way, the network load is shared among the sources, which will faster the downloading.
What is BitTorrent?
Bram Cohen and Ashwin Navin developed BitTorrent in 2001. It is a software that lets you download the software using a peer-to-peer file sharing method. It uses a protocol called BitTorrent clients. This distributes the sharing of files across the users who have downloaded the file. It also connects you with the users who are currently downloading the file.
The software breaks down and distributes the file in many small chunks. So, if a downloading source is slow, there are other sources from which you will get the fragments of your file.
This file distribution process allows the original server to handle multiple file requests.
Furthermore, the process does not need massive bandwidth. As a result, you can download files faster.
The software runs on all major software platforms like Windows and Mac.
What is uTorrent?
Utorrent is a Bittorrent client that is freely available for users. The software released in 2005 and developed by Ludvig Strigeus and owned by Bittorrent Inc. Utorrent has a user base of more than 100 million users. It is the most popular BitTorrent client outside Asia.
It implements the Utorrent protocol. Using the protocol, the Utorrent client can share, download, and distribute files over a network.
Like BitTorrent, this also runs on all major platforms like Mac OX, Windows, and Linux. It is written in the powerful C++ language. Utorrent is available in 67 languages.
So far, you might have got a basic understanding of the two software. Now let us compare the two to understand more about them.
uTorrent vs BitTorrent
There are some similarities between the two. As the same company owns both of them, they are virtually the same product. However, there are some technical differences that you must know:
BitTorrent has four pricing plans. The initial free plan only lets you download a torrent quickly. It offers you with no additional features. The AD-Free plan costs $4. 95 per year and does not display ads during downloading.
The Pro plan offers fast downloading, no ads, virus protection, and file conversion. Additionally, you can watch your downloaded movies on the go. It costs $19. 95 per year.
The Pro+VPN has all the features of the Pro plan along with a Cyber Ghost VPN. This helps you protect your identity online while downloading torrents. This comes at $69. 95 per year.
In the case of Utorrent, the Free version has no additional features. It only offers torrent downloading. It’s Pro version has offers many exciting features. They are:
Playing files in HD
The costlier plans of both software offer similar features. But the VPN feature in Bittorrent’s plan makes it far better an option than Utorrent in terms of protection.
Utorrent is lightweight and is smaller in size than Bittorrent. It has a size capacity of just 1 MB. On the other hand, BitTorrent takes up a little more space and has a size of 3 MB. Due to the size, Utorrent is preferred over Bittorrent.
Download speed is an essential factor while downloading your favorite movies or games. Although both software has a bandwidth management system, BitTorrent is still faster. This is because BitTorrent is better at managing ads. So when the ads pop up, it does not affect the downloading speed of the torrents. As a result, you get an average speed of 76 kb/s while downloading.
On the other hand, Utorrent is not so good at handling ads. So, you might face a significant drop in the downloading speeds when certain ads pop up.
Another important facility that you might yearn for is downloading multiple files together. For example, you might want to download two files at a time using Utorrent. In that case, you have to put the file you are downloading on hold. After pausing it, you can start downloading the other file.
But BitTorrent lets you download multiple files easily. You can open up various torrent links and download them together without pausing any of them.
Utorrent is continuously under development. Its alpha and beta versions are released frequently with newer additions. So, you can access new cutting edge features to make your downloading experience better and smoother.
In the case of BitTorrent, it releases only stable versions with mild additions to its features. So, Utorrent has the upper hand in this case.
This is a problem faced by many users of Utorrent. Users have complained that the newer versions come with bloatware called crypto miners. These additional tools may get installed without the user noticing it. It drains the user’s CPU resources and that too without their permission. Therefore, many users have chosen to download the earlier versions of Utorrent to avoid this.
BitTorrent users have not faced any such problem in the recent past.
Another feature that requires mentioning is the portability of the two software. The Utorrent portable version lets you store the torrent client in your USB. You can then run it directly without installing it on a system.
BitTorrent does not support this functionality yet. So, Utorrent is a clear winner here.
BitTorrent is faster than Utorrent as it is better at blocking ads during a file download. Moreover, you can download multiple files at once without affecting their downloading speeds. However, in terms of size, Bittorrent is not as lightweight as Utorrent. Additionally, Utorrent can be executed directly from an external drive, which is not possible in Bittorrent.
In terms of popularity, Utorrent is the primary choice for beginners in the world of torrent downloading. The developers frequently update the product. So, you can access the latest features. But the primary reason Bittorrent surpasses Utorrent is security. Bittorrent’s Pro+VPN plan comes with the Cyber Ghost that makes your downloading activities secure. Utorrent does not offer this feature.
Frequently Asked Questions about how safe is bittorrent
Can BitTorrent give you viruses?
The short answer is that the BitTorrent program itself is relatively safe, but like any software that connects to the Internet, it is susceptible to attacks. However, do not confuse the safety of peer-to-peer programs like BitTorrent with the files that are shared through those programs.Jul 20, 2017
Is BitTorrent safer than utorrent?
So, you can access the latest features. But the primary reason Bittorrent surpasses Utorrent is security. Bittorrent’s Pro+VPN plan comes with the Cyber Ghost that makes your downloading activities secure. Utorrent does not offer this feature.
Can you get hacked through BitTorrent?
YES it CAN enter/infect your PC through torrent/by downloading torrent but it CANNOT take CONTROL of windows directory or user credentials.Apr 18, 2015