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How To Identify Real Vs. Fake Torrent Files Before Downloading

It's no secret that the MPAA, RIAA and other organizations are constantly trying to trap people into downloading fake torrent files (the article is definitely worth reading if you want to know how the technology behind them actually work), so that they can collect their IP addresses and send copyright infringement letters to ISPs (if you ever got a warning email from your ISP in the past and were wondering how the hell they tracked you down, now you know). In rare cases, these fake torrent files also have viruses and/or malware. But thanks to their stupidity, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out their pathetic scheme.

Today I'll show you some tricks on how to easily identify real vs. fake torrent files before downloading, using some real examples that look more confusing than usual due to lack of comments as well as seeders & leechers. For more real examples (that don't necessarily have "skull" statuses), feel free to read my previous blog post or take a look at my own torrent account.

1) Fake Torrent Files

The following is a result of searching for The Martian, a movie that just started playing in theaters just three days ago:

The Martian - Fake

The Martian - Fake

If you click on one of the usernames, "jimmymirchi", you can easily see that there is something unusual:

Torrent Account - Fake

Torrent Account - Fake

There are at least four major indicators here revealing that all the torrent files are fake:

A) The files were uploaded way too fast. No real account can upload anything this fast.

B) All of the files are pretty much the same size, which is impossible.

C) Every single upload is a movie that is currently playing in theaters. Sometimes movies do get leaked, but it's virtually impossible that this many amount of movies all get leaked and get uploaded by a single account. The only time that something similar to this happens is during Oscar season, when screeners get leaked all the time. But you still won't see just one single account uploading every single Oscar contender. It would be spread out among a bunch of familiar usernames, as shown further below.

D) UPDATE (October 10, 2015): All of the files have pretty much the same generic description. For example, 99.9% of fake movie & TV show torrent files will have a description that is something like the following ("For the sake of sharing, Please seed as long as you can" & "For more info about this show check ReadMe file"):

Torrent Description - Fake

Torrent Description - Fake

And as for the "ReadMe file", how can it possibly include "more info about this show" in just 203 bytes? What can possibly be included in this teeny weeny file except some generic gibberish (or maybe even a virus and/or malware)? Don't forget that "ReadMe.txt" might actually be an executable file such as "ReadMe.exe" just renamed. Whatever you do, do NOT open it. Curiosity kills the cat. :P

2) Real Torrent Files

Now let's look at a similar example where the torrent file is actually real. The following is a result of searching for I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine (which by the way is actually worth watching, even if just for what I thought was one of the most hilarious moments in cinematic history, around the 11 minute mark where the dialogue goes something like: "If you want pussy, you're gonna have to pay for it."), the release date of which is currently November 29, 2015, according to IMDb. Even though the release date is almost two months away, and there are no seeders & leechers whatsoever as well as no useful comments from anybody either although the torrent files are almost a full week old, you'll realize soon that all of them are actually real:

I Spit On Your Grave 3 - Real

I Spit On Your Grave 3 - Real

There are at least three major indicators here revealing that the torrent file here is the real deal:

A) The green & pink skulls. If you hover your mouse over them, you'll notice that these are "VIP" & "Trusted" accounts (which is not easy at all to earn). Their torrents are absolutely legit.

B) There are quite a lot of usernames with skulls that even seasoned torrent users don't recognize, but usernames such as "hotpena" & "ShAaNiG" are famous in the torrent world, with especially "extremezone" & "TvTeam" having legendary status. "YIFY" is undoubtedly the most legendary, and runs a popular torrent website called YTS. UPDATE (October 30, 2015): Or should I say used to run a popular torrent website. RIP, YIFY / YTS.

Again, their torrents are absolutely legit. Newbies should familiarize themselves with these accounts to see how their torrent pages typically look, because they normally have a FUCKLOAD of comments and seeders & leechers.

C) UPDATE (October 29, 2015): If you noticed, there is one file that doesn't have a skull (don't forget that all uploaders with skull statuses were once without them, for a very long time). But it's also the only one that has a comment. Let's take a look at it:

No Skull - Real

No Skull - Real

Although the comment isn't worth anything because it's from the uploader, you can still tell that this is a real torrent file because of the links to screenshots taken from the movie as well as all the details written in the description. No fake torrent user will ever go through so much trouble to write this much amount of information.

3) UPDATE (October 24, 2015): Fake YIFY Websites

Most people are aware of the fact that YTS has been down for the past few days (RARBG is a good alternative). Unfortunately, there are new websites popping up everywhere that claim to be the new YIFY. The following is one that deserves some attention:

Yify-torrents-official DOT com [UPDATE (December 24, 2015): I disabled the original link because now this pathetic website redirects to Yts DOT la to seem truly official, and then tries to force you into creating an account by redirecting to yet another even more pathetic website, which I won't even bother listing here. If you really want to go visit the website, you'll have to manually type it in your web browser. But just remember that it's a FAKE website. I didn't completely remove the link, because I still want to educate newbies on how fake websites typically work. Check it out if you dare.]

There are at least two major indicators here revealing that ALL the torrent files offered on this website are FAKE:

A) Most movies listed are not even yet playing in theaters anywhere. Not even the almighty YTS can leak so many torrents like these before the movies hit local theaters. It is simply impossible.

B) If you click on any of the "download" buttons, you'll see a note in red that says:

Note: if you’re getting ‘ Missing Codec Pack… ‘ error message, download and install our YIFY Codec Pack at the link below:
>>> YIFY Codec Pack v1.0 <<<

The real YTS never had codec packs, and will never have them either. Enough said.

But even while YTS is down, movies still get leaked. Here's one of the best movies of the year, The Gift, that I've been dying to watch, which was FINALLY leaked just three days before its DVD release date on 10/27:

How can you tell that this torrent is real? Among other things, there are screenshots taken from the movie itself. Enough said. ;)

4) UPDATE (October 29, 2015): Torrent Poisoning

This blog post's main target audience is the torrent newbie, and only scratches the surface of the vast world of torrenting. A related Wikipedia article on torrent poisoning provides more in-depth information as well as examples of high profile cases.

5) UPDATE (October 29, 2015): Quiz

Let's take a look at the following:

TSSre - Fake YIFY Account

TSSre - Fake YIFY Account

Just by looking, can you tell why all the torrents here are fake? Aside from the obvious (all files were uploaded way too fast, they're all pretty much the same size & the movies are almost all currently playing in theaters):

A) The files say YIFY, but the username is TSSre.

B) The real YIFY account has a green skull. This one of course doesn't.

C) Even though the almighty YIFY can get thousands of people downloading within minutes of uploading, it takes a bit of time for these numbers to be updated. Another problem here is that all the numbers are either way too high or just zero. There are no inbetweens (like where are the hundreds of seeders & dozens of leechers?), which indicates something is weird. The real answer is that there are software tools like BTSeedInflator that will make torrent files look like thousands of users are sharing it.

D) With these large seed & leech numbers, there are no comments. Not even one. Any true torrent file that has a few thousand seeds will typically have at least a few user comments.

E) This one's a bit harder to notice for the newbies, but the real YIFY only releases movies and never TV shows.

6) UPDATE (December 24, 2015): Reporting Fake Torrent Files

If you want to report fake torrent files, there are two ways to do it:

A) SuprBay: Click on "Report Torrents / Comments" and just copy & paste the link of the fake torrent file (after registering an account and logging in if you haven't already).

B) The Pirate Bay EFnet IRC: Just copy & paste the link of the fake torrent file. There are a few active staff members almost all the time that will take care of it immediately.

Fake torrent accounts all eventually get taken down, but then new fake ones keep popping up like cancer all the time. I hope my blog post has given you all a good idea of how to easily identify real vs. fake torrent files before downloading anything. Trust me, it's not that hard to see right through their veil. ;)

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