Fake torrents are distributed for two core reasons. First, to make it more difficult for downloaders to find legit downloads, and second in an effort to spread malware around.
The Torrentfreak blog reports that some torrent admins identified IP ranges that upload and spread fake torrents, and also the company that is behind the spreading.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your downloads from these fake downloads? The easiest way to cope with the situation would be to block the IP ranges either in your firewall, your system's hosts file, or in a utility such as Peer Guardian.Below are the information for Peer Guardian 2, simply use the IP ranges if you want to block the IPs in your firewall instead.
The fake torrents look like real torrents on first glance and are disguised as valid group releases such as Battlestar Galactica S03E07 REPACK DSR XviD-ORENJi. According to nforce.nl, Orenji is the group that is releasing Battlestar Galactica episodes.
It is very likely that the company that is running those services are not only spreading the files around, but also recording IP addresses of users who start to download those files. It may lead to legal consequences even though I'm not entirely sure how this would play out in court, considering that you have downloaded a non-working file that was offered to you by a company that is cooperating with rights holders.
While they may be able to prove intent, it is hard to argue that the download caused any damage. Quite the contrary. Since you are also seeding files you download, you actually helped distribute the fake torrents to even more users.
Update: Please note that these IP ranges may or may not be associated with the MPAA anymore. I guess there is no harm in blocking the IP ranges even if they are not used anymore for the purpose.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.