If you are a person that is on the internet a lot then there is a good chance that you have heard of a technology called BitTorrent.
You might not know what it does exactly but you have probably seen the name on some of the news sites that you visit.
It has been a very controversial technology for a while now and, while its notoriety has been spreading, the software has been becoming ever more popular.
While the technology itself, like all other technology, can be used for good and bad purposes by the average user, it is all of the sudden becoming a popular tool in the malware community.
In the following article I will tell you what the technology does and why it is being used to spread malware around to unsuspecting computer users.
BitTorrent And File Sharing
Bittorrent is the name of the software and the protocol that allows you to share files quickly over the internet.
Back in the day, you had to us a normal HTTP format to share files.
The files would go from one location straight to the next place.
With BitTorrent the file is split up and it is intended to be shared by a group of people.
This way the file does not have to be downloaded completely by one person for him to share it with another person – they will just get the piece that he downloaded from someone else.
There can be one or more seeders (people who have the original file) and a bunch of other people get the pieces from them.
They get it piece by piece instead of all at the same time.
With this system the file transfer goes quicker and everyone is able to get the most out of the bandwidth that is available.
This technology is used for both legal and illegal file sharing which is the exact reason why it has been on the news lately.
Like any other technology, since it is becoming so popular, the bad guys are starting to use it more and more to deliver their malware.
There have always been bad guys on the BitTorrent circuit but now there are more than ever.
With certain attacks, they change the name of the files so that it confuses you and you download the wrong thing.
They also hide the malware in illegally obtained software in the form of keygens or the executable itself.
There have even been cases where they hide the malware in .pdf files.
There are a lot of web sites that use BitTorrent to share their legal files so the technology is not going away anytime soon.
This means that if you want to use the technology to get a file that you want you are going to have to take some precautions.
There are certain precautions that you can take and they are the same precautions that you should employ any other time you download an unknown file from the internet.
You must have an updated antivirus scanner and run it over everything that you download from BitTorrent sites – I would guess that maybe 99% of the items will come up clean but it is that other 1% that you have to worry about.
If you scan everything that you download, you should be able to stop any problem before it is too late