The availability of pirated content on torrent sites can come with hidden repercussions. Symantec research of popular torrent websites has observed a potentially unwanted application (PUA) distribution campaign. On several sites, we found fake torrents with the names of popular games, such as Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or The Witcher 3, which were used as bait to trick users into silently installing PUAs on their computer. Symantec believes this PUA distribution campaign abuses legitimate affiliate pay-per-install programs.
A PUA is a type of software that may impact security, privacy, resource consumption, or is associated with other security risks. There are several ways that a PUA might get installed on a computer or device. It may arrive as a freeware application or be bundled with third-party software. In many cases, user consent is required, but on some occasions a more intrusive PUA may perform a silent install that escapes attention.