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BitTorrent Downloaders Given A Malware Scare

BitTorrent’s µTorrent downloaders got fake antivirus scareware, not the client they wanted

On by Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz 2

A shiver ran through the peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing world as BitTorrent announced that it had been hacked by scareware mongers.

The BitTorrent blog announced: “This morning at approximately 4:20am Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -7), the µTorrent.com and BitTorrent.com Web servers were compromised. Our standard Windows software download was replaced with a type of fake antivirus ‘scareware’ program.”

A Minor Tremor

Read also: German Pirate Party Wins 15 Seats

This would have meant that anyone downloading the BitTorrent Mainline, µTorrent, or the beta of the Project Chrysalis Windows interfaces to the P2P network would have been infected with Security Shield malware. Fortunately, BitTorrent’s fears were unfounded and the only interface to be affected was the µTorrent download site.

BitTorrent updated its warning blog accordingly. In the UK, the critical time would have been between 12.20pm and 2:20pm on Wednesday 14 September.

The µTorrent Windows interface is still probably the most popular downloader for accessing P2P files so, even though there was only a two hour exposure, many users could have been inconvenienced.

Security Shield is a scareware product which throws up a pop-up screen warning the user that there is a nasty virus on the machine and offers to remove it for a price. In fact, there is nothing wrong with the “infected” computer but many users panic and pay up – hence the scareware name.

As this was a fairly simple hack, merely replacing the µTorrent client with the malware, it was quickly remedied and BitTorrent now claims its site is clean.

There has been a rash of fake antivirus attacks, especially through Facebook and from infected adverts on websites (malvertisements). The software must be removed but there are many sites with detailed instructions – or the Windows system can be restored to an earlier state in many cases using System Restore as a temporary fix.

Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz
Author: Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz
Editor, ChannelBiz
Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz
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Last comment

2 replies to BitTorrent Downloaders Given A Malware Scare

  • On October 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm by C

    The credit card companies have had the power to shut down these criminal activities since they were concieved. All malware producers are after is money. Cut that line and they will go elsewhere.

    What does it take to do that? Simply a filter to check the website and the statement going throught the system. Or perhaps a checking system like microsoft uses to check for MCP’s where the user is given a password to a website that is trusted that verified the code with a database of letgitimate software.

  • On October 16, 2011 at 11:49 am by Steven Offord

    I’ve occasionally got these “scare-ware” messages & they make me laugh when they show me a picture of “my” “Windows” computer directory’s indicating how many Trojans & viruses there are in each location with flashing warnings; Because I’m always only using a Linux operating system.

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