Downloading torrents is a very easy way of getting all kinds of media. That's why many people rely on it to get their files. But unfortunately, it's also easy to insert a virus in torrent files. On the positive side, there are also ways to protect your device from such infections.
Identify Suspicious Torrent Files
There are a few signs that can make all the difference. Knowing how to identify a good torrent will keep you on the safe side. Here are a few tips on how to spot them.
1. Check the File Format
Some extensions are more common to carry a virus than others. Executable files like .bat, .MSI and .exe are one of the favorite choices to carry a virus. And it makes sense, you execute those and even give permission for them to make changes in your computer. Also, keep an eye on PDF files and make sure your PDF reader is updated before you open them.
But, of course, we do not mean to say that all executable files are infected, nor that other types of files aren't. We are talking about probabilities, for you to know that the risk is higher in those cases.
2. The Torrent Source
The source is also an important detail to check. Always have a look at the uploader. If you are in the torrenting world for some time, some names will be more familiar to you and inspire more trust. Other names will be new to you and although it doesn't necessarily mean it is a bad source, you should definitely investigate a bit more.
3. Number of Peers and Seeds
Have a look at the number of people downloading and sharing the file. If there are many of them, it's probably a good torrent. A great number of users wouldn't share a virus to other users.
If the file has an issue, like containing a virus, people who got infected will often warn other users in the comment section. A torrenting website that has a comment section is always safer and without things to hide.
5. The Website Where You Find Your Torrents
Nowadays, there are a lot of websites where it's possible to download torrents from. As we're sure you have noticed, some of them are quite unpopular and look a bit shady. To make sure you're safe, always use popular torrent websites to find what you are looking for. And this takes us to the next chapter.
Malware in Torrenting Websites
Any online activity that attracts a lot of people also attracts advertising companies and their ads, popups and online games. We understand that the website needs to partner up with some agencies to make money and continue having the means to keep their platform. But there are a couple issues that may compromise the user who is visiting the website.
Some websites cooperate with so many advertisers that they can't control all the ads being shown. In those cases, it really looks like the advertiser has full control and bombs the user with a million popups. Some are even finding ways to bypass adblockers. Our point is that, when such ads are not controlled by the website admin, these shady marketers are free to use malware and spyware. This practice is actually increasing. Even very popular sites are showing a ton of doubtfull ads.
Tools to Block Torrent Virus and Malware
Some tools are capable of doing a great job, maintaining you protected against computer virus and other kinds of malware. When it comes to sharing files, the following are all that you need.
Using a good antivirus for your torrent downloads is probably your safest choice. It will scan the files you download and alert you when it blocks an infected file, usually moving it to quarantine.
There are so many choices, including free ones. It should be easy for you to increase your safety.
That's right! If not properly configured, your browser can accept harmful files. And more than that, the browser can give your identity away, even if you are using a Virtual Private Network. That's why it is imperative that you set it up correctly.
An Extra Note About Safety
As always, we recommend using a VPN when you download torrents. Although a VPN doesn't block viruses, it will make you anonymous. Your connection is encrypted and your IP address changes. That will keep snoopers away from knowing who you are or what you are doing.