How to avoid fake torrents

Posted on 06/24/14 No Comments

Gullible torrent downloaders are often misled by surreptitious sites and hoodwinked into clicking at supposedly attractive torrent links which yield nothing but spyware. Keen youngsters looking for music and movie torrents are the most likely victims. Tech savvy and serious users of the internet are aware of this problem and are very cautious while downloading torrents for personal use. Users looking for illegal software packages, yet to be released movies and pornography are most likely to come across sites with fake torrent links. Ideally, one should avoid looking for illegal stuff as it is subject to prosecution by law as well liable to compromise one’s machine with viruses, Trojans and other spyware.

One can avoid fake torrents by using browser add-ons and anti spyware/virus programs which warn the users whenever a link to a suspicious site is clicked. Add.ons like WOT (Web of Trust), McAfee, Kaspersky, TrendMicro , Norton and other antivirus programs have inbuilt software which warns the user of the reliability of a site. Such reliability data is usually gathered, analyzed and prepared by experts through online tests’ and user reviews’, and is mostly trustworthy.

As a general rule of the thumb, a person can avoid a fake torrent when a hyperlink leads to other sites repeatedly instead of linking directly to the torrent. This is a sure shot indication that the torrent is fake. Such sites usually lead the net user to other sites which promise the moon, after the gullible user has provided personal data for registration, or paid a registration fee for downloading torrents. The user gets nothing in return except Trojans and spyware which might leech user profile for selling to internet marketers or criminals. Blogs and user reviews are fairly indicative of the good health of a torrent file. One can carefully read the blogs and the reputation of a torrent as established by feedback from other users before actually downloading it. Another way to avoid a fake torrent is to search by its full name or hash value on Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines. Such searches immediately yield information and reviews’ about a particular file and one can make a choice to download or not based upon the reputation. Hash check websites like ‘FakeFinder’ are also available on the internet which assists in checking the health and validity of a torrent or other file. If one gets no information at all after looking for information on search engines, one can best avoid downloading such torrents as they are likely to be fakes. Using torrent clients with inbuilt checks for detecting fakes is another way of avoiding fake torrents. Such clients have a rating scale which pinpoints the health and reputation of a torrent file. Generally, torrent clients employing the Bit Torrent technology are more reliable as most of the junk and fake torrents are associated with the Gnutella network. The latter being the older technology, was the one most exploited by surreptitious providers to spam internet users. It is therefore healthier to choose a torrent client based on Bit Torrent technology.

The type of file extensions is also a good indicator of detecting fake torrents. Generally music and movie files with *.avi and *.mkv extensions are healthier as compared to those with *.wma and *.wmv extensions. If a large torrent file is compressed in a zip format, it is best avoided as such torrents are usually accompanied by spyware and viruses incorporated along with the actual file one aims to download, or none at all. Such files are usually accompanied by *.exe files, passwords, ‘read me first’ or ‘instructions’ which are a dead giveaway of them being fakes. Finally, some sites verify the validity and rate the torrents and can be made use of while looking for healthy torrent files.

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