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Is HandBrake Safe to Download and Use? | WinX Answers

"I've just upgraded my computer from Window 7 to Windows 10, and want to free download the latest HandBrake [1] software on my PC from its official site handbrake.fr, for transcoding videos and ripping some DVDs at times. But I'm not sure whether HandBrake is safe to download now. Because it's said to be hacked not long ago... If it's unsafe to download, where should I get 100% secure HandBrake?"

HandBrake for Mac version was hacked in May 2017. Is HandBrake safe to download and use for Mac now? How about other Handbrake versions for Windows and Ubuntu? Find all the answers here if you are concerned about Handbrake safety.

is handbrake safe?

Part 1. Is Handbrake Safe?

Let’s cut to the chase. If you downloaded Handbrake during the period May 2, 2017 to May 7, 2017, Handbrake is unsafe and you might had a 50% chance of having downloaded the malicious version of the file. But If you didn’t download Handbrake during that period, or if you upgraded Handbrake through its interface, rather than downloading the file from scratch, your computer won't be affected, as the updates was stored on another server. Why?

Official announcement of security warning from HandBrake Team indicated that HandBrake-1.0.7.dmg file downloaded from its mirror site download.handbrake.fr (shutdown now) during [May 2, 2017 14:30 UTC] to [May 6, 2017 11:00 UTC] might have Mac computer or laptop be infected with Proton Trojan named "Remote Access Trojan (RAT)".

This Trojan was bundled with Handbrake if you downloaded it from the official site during the 5-day period, meant to trick users into installing necessary codecs and therefore entering password. If your computer was infected, please change your password using another device and clear the infection immediately from the computer.

Rip DVD Safely with Handbrake Alternative

If you are still worried about Handbrake safety and would like to rip DVD in a secure way, you can try WinX DVD Ripper Platinum, a world popular DVD ripper with 16-years of experience.

Is it safe to download HandBrake now? - Yes

Due to this malicious app was removed on May 6, you needn't worry about Handbrake safety now.You can safely download HandBrake of any version from handbrake.fr now.

Part 2. How to Avoid Your Computer to be Infected with Dangerous "Extras"?

This time when HandBrake fake was installed and ran on Mac, an unusual dialog box asking for your username and password popped up. If you fill the right information in, the harmful malware would be installed to your Mac under:

  • /Library/LaunchAgents/fr.handbrake.activity_agent.plist
  • /Library/RenderFiles/activity_agent.app

Therefore, the first tip to stay away from malware is to "look before you leap", keeping suspicious of anything abnormal, being careful enough to give any crucial account information during software downloading, installing and running. Of course you should update your anti-virus software and operation system regularly to defense newer viruses.

Make sure not to download handbrake.exe from untrusted, anonymous or hackers website, the risk of infecting malware is high. But if you got it from manufacturer’s website, the risk is relatively low.

Since handbrake is a reputable tool for DVD ripping and video transcoding, many users may ignore the processing of virus scanning. To set a double protection of your device, you are advised to install an anti-virus program before downloading handbrake. This way handbrake will be scanned before installation.

Part 3. Will Handbrake Be Hacked again in the Future?

Software attack is nothing strange. As a commonly-used measure for hackers, it enables them to hack into computers at administrator level for possessive computer controlling, profitable data stealing or something else. During this HandBrake attack, Panic Inc. was a representative victim with source codes of several apps stolen, being asked to ransom the code with a large amount of bitcoins. But it finally refused to do so and contacted with FBI & Apple to do some remediation.

Since every piece of software, either open-sourced or commercially-developed, can be the target of hacker, it's uncertain whether HandBrake Mac or other versions would be hacked again or not.

Part 4. What's the Best Alternative When HandBrake Fails to Rip DVD?

HandBrake was finally out of its beta-test stage and reached 1.5 milestone in 2023. As a video transcoder, it supports transcoding DVD or video to MP4/MKV/WebM in multiple codecs, including hot H.264 (Intel QSV), H.265, MPEG and VP9, with rich device presets provided.

However, as a DVD ripper, it acts indifferently, having no idea on non-homemade and encrypted DVD content in disc, folder, or ISO image types. Even after installing libdvdcss from VideoLAN, it only takes effect on CSS-locked DVD movies. In the meantime, DVD video transcoding is very demanding operation, it is possible your computer crashes because it overheated or something else. So it's necessary to resort to a Handbrake alternative to safely rip both homemade and protected DVD with hardware acceleration enabled.

WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is the best Handbrake alternative with 16-year DVD ripping experience. Besides, ripping DVD to MP4, MOV, WMV, or other popular formats, it can also copy DVD to ISO image, single MPEG2 and DVD folder without losing quality at all. You can check the comparison between WinX and Handbrake side by side.

HandBrake vs WinX DVD Ripper

[1] HandBrake wiki: HandBrake is a free and open-source transcoder for digital video files, originally developed in 2003 by Eric Petit to make ripping a film from a DVD to a data storage device easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions.


author - Kistent Waung

Kistent Waung twitter icon

Graduated from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, she employs herself in IT related content creation (since 2013) and happens to perfectly combine her major (computer & science) and her gusto (writing). She's seasoned at offering video audio conversion workarounds and always passionate about new trends, from hot HEVC, 4K to the new AV1 codec.

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