BitTorrent web downloads hijacked to push fake antivirus

Company admits uTorrent P2P program compromised

The publisher of the uTorrent file-sharing program has admitted to suffering a major security breach that allowed attackers to substitute downloads of its client for malware pushing fake antivirus software.

Anyone who downloaded its uTorrent program between 4.20am Pacific time (12.20pm BST) and just after 6am on 13 September will have been downloading the Security Shield scareware program, which pesters the user to pay for protection against non-existent threats it claims to have detected.

Originally, the company believed that both BitTorrent and the cut-down uTorrent clients had been affected, but a later clarification said that the former was not now thought to be involved.

"Clarification: This only affects users who downloaded software specifically from utorrent.com between the hours above this morning. Users who previously downloaded our software are not affected," said a company blog.

"After further analysis, we don't believe BitTorrent.com or the BitTorrent Mainline/Chrysalis clients were part of the incident."

Not everyone is totally convinced by this statement, starting with said Paul Ducklin of Sophos..

"Confusingly, the BitTorrent blog has recently been updated to claim that the software available from the www.bittorrent.com URI was not affected, implying that only those who downloaded UTorrent during the infection window would be at risk," he wrote in a comment article.

"Since the two sites share the same network infrastructure - both resolve to the same IP number in Limelight Networks' cloud - you might want to ignore that blog update and assume that any recent downloads from Bittorrent Inc. were dodgy and give yourself a thorough anti-malware checkover," said Ducklin.

Although the fake antivirus concerned should be relatively easy to block for an up-to-date antivirus program, users might be tempted to ignore warnings as false positives. Once installed, it is also possible that the Trojan could call further malware.

The company hasn't said how its security was breached, merely that one of its web servers was involved.

The involvement of BitTorrent is ironic given that the network itself has in the past been used to distribute malware, usually in the form of programs masquerading as genuine but pirated software.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags sophosbittorrentPersonal Techsecurity

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?