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There haven’t been too many things in recent memory that have sparked as much as a moral debate than torrenting movies over the past few years. It’s gotten to a point now where most youngish people know how to do it, either by learning how to do it themselves or they’ve taken down notes from someone else who does and now they can do it pretty well themselves.

There are many websites out there for downloading torrent files, and everyone has their personal favorites where the right colored website background, its fonts, and general layouts have become more appealing to users than others. It isn’t always just about what sites you think to look the best though because some sites are filled with far more torrents than others, so there’s an element of practicality that is involved as well.

It’s also important to remember that torrenting files aren’t always an illegal thing either: there are plenty of torrents out there that are available to download and have nothing to do with potentially being morally wrong to use. Likewise, just because you see a torrent client such as BitTorrent sitting on someone’s desktop doesn’t mean they have been involved in anything suspicious like installing movies they were supposed to buy either.

If you’ve decided that you want to keep your money, no matter how much you might make in a day, and download movies, music or other torrenting files, there’s one common problem standing in your way from things being almost too easy: you’ll need to understand which torrents are real and which ones are fake.

Yes, this is still the internet after all—the place where there will always be some people who are trying to rip you off and make themselves money at your expense. Torrents are a haven for that.

The Pitfalls of Torrenting

There are some website owners of these torrenting sites that don’t really care what they have to do to earn more money on the side of their poor paying banner ads from low-quality ad networks, even if it means its users need to make some ghastly sacrifices. One of them called IsoHunt used to accept money and allow (what would then be called affiliate) links filled with adware to advertise on their website; each time somebody clicked one of the links that were disguised as torrent files, the person got a healthy dose of adware and the person responsible for putting the adware there paid money to the website owner for allowing to put the adware links on their website. After personally abusing the website owners on their social media pages several years ago now, they were eventually taken down. But the owner of the website definitely knew what was happening and was more than willing to accept money while being aware that thousands or perhaps even millions of computers around the world were continually getting hit with adware and adware that they likely knew nothing about—not how to identify, understand, or fix.

In addition to the fake adverts that you need to look out for, there are also plenty of torrent files that have been uploaded to sites like ThePirateBay, ExtraTorrent, RARBG, IsoHunt, etc. that do not contain the files that you are looking for. The titles might be what you are looking for, but the torrent file itself is just a file filled with something that people want you to install so they now have just put a contaminated file on your computer. That file could be a virus or something else that allows them to get access to your computer.

What’s more, it isn’t always just hackers with a dark side or average joes looking to create trouble—sometimes the people behind the tricks inside the files you download can be put there from the MPAA, RIAA, and several other anti-piracy organizations so that can identify who you are. Once you install that file, then they know that the person behind your computer is someone who has been downloading these illegal files thanks to the fake trackers that they use. Someone they want to catch. You are now someone that they can catch. And your time is now up.

Working Around Them

There is way you can educate yourself so you can easily spot the vast majority of these fakes files. There are also some tools out there that you can run to help you spot fake files as well so you can always be sure that you aren’t installing a contaminated file or a file with fake trackers in it that give you up location.

As far as education goes, you can learn how many GB’s or MB’s a file that you are installing typically is. Most fake files have small sizes because the files only contain the contamination or fake file and not the real file as well. It is possible to bundle files together in the one download folder, but you’ll always get the chance to see each file that you are installing before the download begins. So if you are downloading a movie and it’s in HD, then it’s normal for that file to be 1 or 2 GBs in size—sometimes larger depending on the length of movie. Installing a 7 MB file when it’s supposed to be an HD movie makes no sense, so you know that is a suspicious file.

Moreover, if you see a folder that is 2 GBs and click on the download link, it’ll open up in BitTorrent and make you confirm you want to install each of the files. It’s perfectly normal to see a couple of throw-in small files along with all movies. You don’t need those files, and you can deselect those boxes. But you definitely want to deselect anything that isn’t the movie file and isn’t looking like those standard documents that you get with each download. They might be suspicious files.

You’ll also be able to see the size of each of the files that were bundled together, next to each checkbox. So it’s never possible to be fooled. That also makes it simple to identify which is the movie file that you want to download as well. Rarely does anybody want any of the other files that are bundled in with the movie, so you can deselect everything and just like the movie checkbox with a checkmark in it so the movie download in BitTorrent—or whatever torrent client you are using—and nothing else gets downloaded onto your computer.

Tools

Torrent Checker: You can use the Torrent Checker application to check the validity of the files you want to download. It uses the same technology that BitSnoop and Fake Scan have so you can use both in the one application. BitSnoop by itself can be blocked in some countries, much the same way as some of the torrents sites might be blocked.

Torrent Guard: There are a few tools out there for checking if the torrent is fake. Another good application is Torrent Guard, with it you can upload the torrent file to the Torrent Guard tool and then it does all the checking for you. You also don’t need to have the file on your computer for this tool to work. All you need is to copy the magnet link and then just paste it in. Most torrent websites have the magnet link right next to the download link (you can identify the magnet link easily because it comes with a picture of a magnet.)

Fenopy Fake Finder: The Fake Finder application shows what the most popular fake torrents are and all the latest kinds of trackers for you. You can also use the tool to search for a fake torrent. So instead of uploading your files, you give the name of the file, and the Fake Finder checks its database.

Other Methods

Look For the Verified Status: Some sites—but not all—deploy a system where the uploaders need to verify the status of the torrent before it can be seeded by anyone. You might not see many verified torrent files, and there are heaps of good torrents out there that don’t have a verified status. But you know you can trust the ones that do.

Check for Comments: All good torrenting websites such as ThePirateBay have a comment section at the bottom of the download page. When a torrent is good, people will typically let you know that it is good. Likewise, if a torrent is bad quality or doesn’t work, then the comment section will let you know about this too. Before of any torrent that suggests it has a lot of people seeding it, but it doesn’t have any torrents. It might be a site showing fake seeders in an attempt to trick you. It isn’t always untrustworthy sites that d this trick either. It can be the dodgy uploaders using software like BTSeedInflator to inflate the number of seeders a torrent file is getting. They do this because the more a torrent is being seeded, the more is looks real to people. What’s more, don’t just check to see if people are writing. Actually take a few minutes to skim through what the comments are saying. If other people have downloaded a fake file, people will call it a fake. Even if people are none the wiser about online torrent scams, they might just leave a comment letting you know that the file didn’t work for them. That’s a warning you shouldn’t ignore. If it didn’t work for them, then it might have also contained contaminated files.

Look At and Understand the File Extensions: Every file that you download has a file type/extension. Most good torrent files will be either MKV or AVI files. That doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily have a device that can play an MKV file, but those are the two that likely will not be fake. On the other hand, WMA and WMV files are often used when a fake file is present, so be careful of downloading those. What’s more, you will find that some RAR files are real, but many of the RAR files out there for movies and music are fake torrents. RARs are frequently used to hide trojan viruses and other nasty codec scam files. Other files that can be bad news to download include those with a TAR or ACE extension.

Don’t Use Just Any Torrent Client Software: There are heaps of different torrent clients out there and often people just starting out with their torrent downloading will use one that shouldn’t be trusted. The reason for that is because they visit the torrent websites first before getting a client and then get advice from those torrent sites about what torrent client should be used. The advertising and affiliate links you get on torrent sites are not to be trusted like other regular websites. A torrent site can’t run any ads from legitimate ad networks, and they resort to having untrustworthy ads and will routinely sell users out by allowing for untrustworthy affiliate links. Those links can advise you to download “so and so torrent client” and recommend it as a good idea when in fact it’s a little-known client that hardly anyone uses. Moreover, those torrent clients might be a breeding ground for seeding things like fraudulent codec downloaders, keyloggers and malware, and Trojans. There are a couple of names that stand out above the rest as trustworthy torrent clients: BitTorrent and uTorrent. Forget downloading them from affiliate links on torrenting sites as well. Just head to Google on your own and type “download BitTorrent” or “download uTorrent, ” and Google will be smart enough to fetch the correct results back. You should find the right links close to the top of the first page of results. To be fair, there are likely other trustworthy clients out there, and there’s nothing wrong with using one that doesn’t have the fancy big name, but BitTorrent and uTorrent are two you can definitely trust. The ones you should not trust, however, are BitLord, Get-Torrent, BitThief, Torrent101, TorrentQ, and Bitroll because they’ve developed a bad reputation for the same reasons mentioned above.

Google Search the Torrent Trackers: Google is a great tool for copying and pasting bits of information and finding out whether it’s something you should worry about or not. For example, if you are running on Windows, open the taskbar and copy and paste one of the processes that are running that you don’t recognize, you can quickly find out in Google if it’s a virus or something you don’t need to worry about. You can do a similar thing with your torrent trackers. Open the published torrent details and copy and paste the tracker names into Google. You should find the same tracker is being pointed to from a number of other legitimate torrent websites. If the tracker is fake, you’ll get messages from people labeling it as such on other sites.

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