Linux News Today: Popcorn Time Multiple Projects with Malware Are a Trap for Users
Popcorn Time was a media player powered by an underlying BitTorrent client that would allow its users to stream and play the latest TV shows and films. Now this is the perfect example of what the ugly side of open source is.
The open source principle is very simple and powerful, especially when it’s accompanied by the GPL license. Anyone can take an open source project and do pretty much anything they want with it, including fork it or sell the application. The only important condition is that any changes made to the original code must be shared with everyone else.
This is probably the main reason the open source philosophy works. All the work that’s done is shared with everyone else. As opposed to this, the proprietary model ensures that no one knows what happens in a project and that no one is able to fork or use the code.
Each company or developer is free to choose their model, but open source seems to be the more sensible choice. You would think that an open source project is a good thing, right? Well, it turns out that it’s also possible to do a lot of harm when you provide the community with the source code, and Popcorn Time is a perfect example.
Popcorn Time has become a trap for users
There are a ton of Popcorn Time forks right now, and many of them come with various malware and adware, at best. There is a large topic online, on the Popcorn Time CE subreddit, which happens to be one of these forks but that claims to be clean.
There is also a debate on who is the real successor of the original Popcorn Time project that died last year. The mighty and powerful movie industry managed to kill the original project, but the source code was available, and a lot of forks have sprung.
The only method of telling them apart, if you really want to pay attention, is by checking the Internet domain. Popcorn Time forks can be found with WS, CH, AG, TK, and the list keeps changing. Most of them have some sort of adware or trojans included, and it’s easy to check them with VirusTotal, for example. The links and the packages change all the time, along with the trojans.
The Popcorn Time has been fragmented to such a degree that it’s almost impossible to say which is safe. It could be safe today and become dangerous with the next update. Open source is the best solution, but sometimes it can be a pain. Whatever version of Popcorn Time you choose to use, whether it’s legit or malware, the Popcorn Time as we know it has lost any kind of credibility.