Torrent Users Protected from Malware by Symantec

Handbrake Hacked, and Now Carries Malware

Many different patent apps were created and documented over the last few years. Several of those had a clear and strong anti-piracy angle. Now, for the first time in a long time, there’s a hint of an app that might be a little more supportive.

The patent is being developed by Symantec Corporation, which is the company best known for their antivirus software called Norton Security. Their newest patent is describing a new system, one that might be used for identifying fake torrents, as well as downloads infected with malware.

This is one of the biggest problems that the users are coming across, and they’re a regular occurrence on torrent websites that are badly moderated. The users that try downloading one of these torrents often end up being redirected to one of the many scam websites. The only alternative is being lured into installing some sort of malware.

So, Symantec decided to help with that, and just last week, they’ve obtained a patent for a new system. This system can rate the torrent and decide its trustworthiness. When it finds something suspicious, it’ll block the link in an attempt to protect its user.

The patent itself states that the BitTorrent protocol is a popular way of sharing files, but it’s also very handy when it comes to malware distribution. The websites that offer torrenting links usually aren’t providing any information about how trustworthy their files actually are.

This new tech won’t be scanning torrents like an antivirus would scan a file. Instead, it would use reputation score for its evaluation. There are many factors that will be taken into question, including the reputation of the website on which the torrent is located, as well as the reputation of the uploader, the number of trackers and other peers, and so on.

If the patent finds out that the IP address of a seeder is connected to malicious torrents, the torrent that the user of the patent is interested in will get a low reputation. On the other hand, if the seeder is someone who wasn’t connected to the malware-infected files, the reputation of the torrent itself will also go up.

And when a torrent with a bad reputation is found, the system will try to secure its user. It might try deleting the torrent, or it may turn to more complex response, like blocking all network traffic related to the torrent.

There are also other options, like the simple warning given to the user or only blocking the access to the file as well.

Symantec seems to have applied for this pattern almost four years ago, but it’s not yet seen in real action. Torrent users would definitely appreciate extra protection, but they also might end up being worried about monitoring their downloads. Until the patent comes out, all they can rely on are website moderators and their own common sense. And after the patent’s release – who knows.