What are the risks for average users who download content via torrent? - Security Boulevard

What are the risks for average users who download content via torrent?

Introduction

Today, it’s very easy to share any kind of content through simplified file-sharing services, making it easy to obtain copyrighted material and pirated copies of popular applications. Peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent leverage a decentralized structure to allow users start sharing files with millions of peers worldwide. Peer-to-peer technologies like eDonkey, BitTorrent and Gnutella allow anyone to connect with those networks and download any kind of media material, as easily as clicking a download button.

The usage of file sharing services had an exponential growth across the years at the same time as the risks for users were dramatically increased.

Torrent

BitTorrent is a protocol for distributing files. It identifies content by URL and is designed to integrate persistently with the Web. Its advantage over plain HTTP is that it allows multiple simultaneous downloads of the same resource. The downloaders upload to each other, making it possible for the file source to support very large numbers of downloaders with only a modest increase in its load.

Today, BitTorrent is the most common technology to share digital materials in spite of any type of limitation imposed by the copyright regulations. Through BitTorrent, it is possible to download every type of files: movies, TV shows, songs, software and games. Unfortunately, the freedom and the ease of downloading desired content could pose serious risks for unaware users. They often get infected with malicious code hidden behind a torrent.

Before starting with the analysis of the content that could be downloaded by users, let’s introduce the top BitTorrent search engines. Everyone who wants to download media from the BitTorrent infrastructure has to search for the desired content using specialty search engines, the most popular one being The Pirate Bay:

Figure 1: Example of torrent search engine

The Pirate Bay is historically the most (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Infosec Resources authored by Pierluigi Paganini. Read the original post at: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/infosecResources/~3/CJX-rWiBnyY/