The High Tech Society

RARBG Review


RARBG has supposedly been a great source for movie torrents since 2008. If that isn’t enough to scare you away from ever typing in RARBG again, you don’t have a good understanding of the current copyright situation.

If a website has been a hub for less than legal content for 10 years, it’s never because no one noticed.

Either RARBG is extremely smart, in which case it is unlikely you would have heard the name, or it is a setup or “honeypot” to get you stuck. But, to quote Fight Club, we could be wrong. So, let’s take a look and see if it’s legit.

First Impressions

When you pull up the site, the first thing you notice, if you ignore the Hollywood stills, is all the ‘news’ on the left of the screen is old. Like, really old. The website looks abandoned.

There are 4 things listed, all from 2013, 2015, and 2017. Unless these guys are just really, really busy pirating stuff, then that’s just a little bit odd for a torrent source still getting 1.8 Million visitors a month. Yes, 1.8 Million.

So let’s overlook the obvious inconsistencies and check out RARBG!

The Trick

Yikes! The any menu item sends us off to spam sites. It looks like a total scam, but here’s where it gets interesting.

When we go back, all the menu links look like click bait advertising or as though you need proxies to unblock it. But, a second later it changes to looking real. A few seconds later, and it’s changed back to going to the advertiser.

So, that’s the game. Go to the ad, then back really fast and click again to go to the real page. A genius and stupid idea to hide in plain sight, all at the same time!

Let’s run with it and see where it takes us, shall we?

Down the Rabbit Hole

In a 3 letter category I won’t name but is right next to YYY in the alphabet, there are recommended torrents that are all obvious Hollywood films. We click on a text listing for something plain, boring, and not copyrighted.

This time, there is no click bait, and RARBG sends us to the page about the movies. This lists a bunch of video options for the totally not copyrighted video we clicked on, along with the size of each download and seeder/leecher numbers for the torrent.

Pirate Torrents

There are stills of different video frames, and a block of text by a piracy group describing the release, which is really odd for something in the public domain.

Half afraid, I try the download for the torrent. Bracing for pop-ups and malware, wishing I had turned on my VPN, and I just get the download prompt that should have come. So, this part helps.

RARBG Works, I Think

Although not as straightforward for downloading torrents as ExtraTorrent, it appears to be a valid Torrent site specializing in movies.

If you get past the initial full-screen pop-up ad which may or may not put malware on your system, the sites appears to be fairly clean and safe. It also offers a good amount of information about each download, some of it appears to be by the piracy group that was the file source, and they have an array of quality options.

It also appears, after a few seconds, every link will send you to a pop-up ad again. So if you select something and then close the pop-up ad really fast, then all links will work.

You can even use multiple links, but after a few seconds all of them will revert to opening a pop-up ad, and you have to do the process again.

Piracy Target

This sites have not gone under the radar, despite the ridiculous attempt at cloaking. Instead, it appears to have been heavily targeted by anti-piracy groups.

Courts in Italy, Finland, and India have forced Internet providers to block the sites. As chronicled by TorrentFreak, Italy’s Pirate Site Blocklist now includes hundreds of websites.

The British government even has ISP’s send users not using a VPN a threatening e-mails when there is an attempt to visit any one of a list of torrent sites. All users have to do is visit popular torrent sites, not actually pirate anything.

Copyright Warning for Torrent Sites

Having also received so much attention even their Facebook page was removed, which also happened to Limetorrents.

Once again Facebook proved that they are not fighting for freedom of speech.

– RARBG Administrator

The End Game

We were not impressed with using this to torrent.

You can use a VPN if you don’t care if pretty much everything RARBG seems to be promoting is pirated and probably illegal where you are, but you still have to consider safety.

Governments around the world have done their best to put this torrent in their crosshairs. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the clock ticking for the time left, and their access logs will still be somewhere when they get shut down. Even a top VPN won’t protect you.

A VPN can be used to hide your IP so you won’t show up in those logs but, even if I was using a good VPN (see this review of NordVPN), I would not feel safe using this. This is because being raided is not their only problem.

The Last Straw

Any place cloaking full-screen pop-up ads as normal links is not trustworthy. If this was done to hide from legal problems by making it look like the links didn’t go anywhere, then it would only do it once or would use a different mechanism. Since that is not the case, it appears this is simply a monetization scheme to make users pay as they go.

With new releases being available dirt cheap by legal sources, I don’t see a reason to put up with a site like this. But if you’re going to use a torrent site, you can do much better than RARBG.