BitTorrent facilitators are facing another disparaging malware attack. Popular client Transmission was unknowingly distributing a brand of malware known as “OSX/Keydnap”. This is a backdoor program which target Macs in order to steal passwords and gain root access to the user’s computer.
This should be concerning to users because earlier this year, another similarly coded “KeRanger” ransomware was discovered in the Transmission client. This was believed to be the FIRST TIME the Apple operating system has dealt with ransomware, as Macs have curated a brand known for “not getting viruses.”
Here are some dangers to using BitTorrent clients:
- Anyone can see your IP Address: When someone downloads a torrent they can see information about the contributing peer, including your IP address. This is a useful tool for hackers to easily search for computers that might be vulnerable.
- Dangerous advertising: Torrenting sites don’t always have your best interest at hearts, especially those that operate like Pirate Bay and do not worry about the legality of the content. These types of torrenting sites have advertisements that are annoying and have the potential to contain malware – because the site is more worried about making money than protecting it’s users.
- Executable files: It is natural to be suspicious of a file that wants to execute a program on your computer. However, if you were going to BitTorrent to download something, you may be less suspicious and grant access to an executable file that ends up being malware searching for personal information on your computer. The malware could be secretly included with the legitimate file.
- Compromised data: If a torrent file is located in the same folder as other critical information, it is possible a user could accidently include access to this folder when they upload and download torrents. If done on a work computer, these files could contain private company information.
- Internet Speed: Internet service providers do not trust torrenting clients, and may throttle your internet downloading speed as a result. This could result in reduced speed for all your internet usage, and for your ISP to begin closely monitoring, and possibly even report, your usage.