Chrome Blocks Major Torrent Sites Over “Harmful Programs”

Starting today Google Chrome is blocking direct access to several large torrent sites including KickassTorrents, Torrentz, ExtraTorent and RARBG. According to Google the sites contain "harmful programs" but the site owners are clueless as to what they've done wrong.

chromeThere’s a slight panic breaking out among Google Chrome users. Over the past few hours the browser has started to block access to several of the most popular torrent sites including KickassTorrents, Torrentz, ExtraTorrent and RARBG.

Instead of a page filled with the latest torrents, visitors are presented with an ominous red warning banner.

“The site ahead contains harmful programs,” Google Chrome informs its users.

“Attackers on kat.cr might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience (for example, by changing your homepage or showing extra ads on sites you visit),” the warning adds.

harm

Google doesn’t specify what the issue is with the sites in question. The “Safe Browsing” diagnostics pages only list the sites as “suspicious” and note that “third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites.” in some cases.

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The owners of the sites in question are clueless about the source of the problem. RARBG’s operator informs TF that there is no additional information available in Google’s Webmaster tools either.

“I hope Google comes to its senses and actually allows webmasters to see what the issue is in their webmasters tools,” RARBG’s operator informs us (update: after publication some more information did appear in webmaster tools).

ExtraTorrent is not aware of any issues either and notes that the malware Google reportedly found are false positives.

“There is no malicious software and you are still able to load ExtraTorrent in Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Chromium and other browsers,” the ExtraTorrent team says.

“We’ll contact Google to resolve the issue shortly,” they add.

Interestingly, several proxy sites, such as torrentz-proxy.com, still work fine and don’t show the warning screen in Google Chrome.

Since Google doesn’t mention “malicious software” as the reason for the warning, it was most likely triggered by the “unsafe” ads many torrent sites run. These are typically linked to toolbar software or other unwanted programs.

We reached out to Google to find out more about the sudden torrent site blocks, but we have yet to receive a response.

Chrome users who want to bypass the warning can do so by clicking the details link, or disable Chrome’s malware warnings altogether.

Update: Some people report that Firefox also started blocking access to several torrent sites.

Update: ExtraTorrent says it successfully resolved the issue with Google through webmaster tools. RARBG is also unblocked.

Update: Google didn’t comment on this specific situation and referred us to a recent blog post.

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