uTorrent Let's Hackers Remotely Control Your System

Who still uses uTorrent anyway? Allow me to show you some alternatives.


Tech | Feb. 26, 2018


So, I am sure you have used uTorrent before. It's the world's most-used torrent client. Why? Well, likely because it's the first one that you heard about.

The P2P (aka peer-to-peer) protocol known as "BitTorrent" has been in use for years. Not just for sharing illegal movies; it was originally developed to be a distributed file system architecture for getting data from one place to another in the quickest way possible. This was awesome in concept, but in practice, it get's even more incredible; you don't have to have the whole file to share it. You only need a fraction of the file, along with everyone else sharing it, to get the whole file available at incredibly high-speeds, because the data is spread over multiple users' computers. Essentially, user-based cloud computing before people even knew about "THE CLOUD" (which is a simple, abstract term used for distributed, synergistic data distribution.). BitTorrent clients and the protocol are used every day for very legit purposes; you can download free and open-source software (which is the preferred method of download for Linux distros like Linux Mint and others), but they can be used to share any data. The platform is agnostic to what you share, so what you share is on you. 

If you started pulling movies, music, and TV shows from the internet within the last 15 years, you most likely did it through uTorrent (or maybe Azure or some other P2P client, but we are focusing on the most popular one). While there are quite a few other ways they can be shared,  BitTorrent using the cross-platform uTorrent client is the the most common. 

Well, I used it before... when I was still a Windows user (I have been using Linux daily for over 10 years now), and found it acceptable, though something changed about 6-7 years ago. They started adding payloads to their installer. "Want to install McAntiVirus and ToolbarThing?"... Well, if you didn't pay attention, it would install adware and malware onto your system. That is why I stopped using it in favour of open-source solutions that work better offer none of the bullshit (more on that later).

Now we have word that a flaw in the most popular desktop BitTorrent client can expose your system to takeovers via a zero-day exploit (ie: an experienced hacker or inexperienced jerk can take over your system using uTorrent). 

More info regarding the exploit can be found here:

https://thehackernews.com/2018/02/torrent-download-software.html

After you may or may not have read that, you may be asking  yourself:

"Why did Ronin even create this article? WTF, mate?!"

Good question! I bring the gift of alternative solutions to your BitTorrent woes. There are plenty of open-source alternatives to uTorrent that are:

  • Not stuffed with malware/adware
  • Free
  • Open-source
  • Community built, supported, and tested
  • Lightweight
  • Run on damn near any system

Yup. That's the fact. My favourite one is called Deluge (deluge... torrent... get it? lol. If not, grab a dictionary.). It runs on pretty much every system you can think of and does whatever uTorrent can do in terms of standard BitTorrent protocol usage. It runs on Mac, Linux, all versions of Windows (from XP and up), and supports full end-to-end encryption. You can grab that here:

http://deluge-torrent.org/

That isn't the only one. Here is a list of a few others that works across multiple platforms (macOS, Linux, and Windows):

Transmission

https://transmissionbt.com/

qBittorrent

https://sourceforge.net/projects/qbittorrent/

Tixati

https://www.tixati.com/

And I am sure there are a few more. I am not a huge fan of Tixati, but the first two (Transmission and qBittorrent) are favourites. If I had to recommend any one of these, I would totally say Deluge. It is small, fast, runs on damn near anything, and is will do what you need it to do. 

I hope this brings you up to speed on your BitTorrent client safety, alternatives, and some general info on how it works. Compute safely, my fellow nerds. 

ABOUT ME



Hi! I am Ronin Dusette. I have many passions; photography, technology, music, travel, martial arts, gaming, cooking... Just whatever tickles my fancy. When I am out on adventures, I have things I would like to share, which is why I created this blog. From visual art, cooking and tech tips, and pretty much anything else I can think of to write will be verbally and visually painted here on this canvas. I hope you enjoy following me on my journey through life. Engage in conversations with me, ask questions, share your thoughts and art. I hope you enjoy what you see here. Thanks for visiting!


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