Torrenting is by far the most effective and convenient method for transferring large amounts of data. Despite the ongoing disputes about torrenting’s legality, you can rest assured that it is entirely up to the user to decide what material they use it for. Moreover, apart from the looming legality issues, it is also very problematic to download torrents safely.
However, torrenting’s drawbacks are so prevalent that they demand to be noticed. You may be downloading your favorite movies or TV programs when your ISP unexpectedly throttles your internet connection. You may have unknowingly downloaded an illegal file and now received a DMCA notification. Your preferred content may not be readily accessible, and the only torrent site with it may be banned in your area.
Moreover, copyright trolls are equally as scary as stalkers in real life, if not creepier, since they continuously watch your torrenting activities. With such deep-rooted concerns, it seems almost impossible to torrent safely. However, there are several alternatives that might help mitigate the issues.
Quick Tip! Torrent Safely
The best way to hide your torrent traffic and download with the fastest connection is to use a reliable VPN service. VPN providers should support/allow P2P Traffic. Here are some top-ranked VPN providers for Torrenting.
How Can Torrenting Impact Your Privacy?
The BitTorrent protocol connects you to a massive network of servers. You seldom know who you’re connecting to or whether they want to harm your computer. There are numerous risks associated with torrenting, especially for individuals inexperienced with the protocol or file-sharing in general.
– Malware infection:
Torrent files are frequently infected with dangerous malware, compromising users’ privacy. Cybercriminals often use appealing torrents disguised as trojan horses, infecting your device with malware. Malicious software may harm your computer’s performance and privacy. With just one wrong download, your device may be infected with spyware, viruses, and ransomware. These viruses will not only harm your device but also your data. Certain malware may permanently damage your computer or steal parts of it and sell it to others without your permission.
– Compromised anonymity:
Anonymity is a critical aspect while torrenting. If overlooked, it can lead you to legal issues, copyright trolls, exposing your identity, and penalties from your ISP. When you are downloading a file from a torrent, your IP address and online activity are exposed to any other user connected to the same server as you, along with your ISP. They can even use your IP address to track your identity. Hence, hiding your IP address is necessary in order to stay anonymous while torrenting.
– Copyright issues:
Copyright trolling is the pursuit of copyrights for legal gain. Unauthorized copies of content, such as films, video games, and musical compositions, make up a significant percentage of torrent downloads. Most jurisdictions prohibit downloading such files and can take legal action if you don’t anonymize your torrenting activity.
– ISP throttling:
ISP throttling is when your ISP restricts your connection speed. Privacy advocates have long feared ISP throttling and surveillance. It’s frightening that your ISP may limit your internet connection and monitor your online activity.
Phishing on torrent sites is frequent. Torrenting services that enable the sharing of pirated material risk being banned or shut down quickly. Besides the torrenting sites, the users will be placed at risk as well. These suspect sites will include pop-up ads and substandard torrents from unknown uploaders and expose you to malware and infections.
How to Torrent Safely and Anonymously?
It is suitable for you to research the copyright rules in your region or country to decide what is and is not permissible. Furthermore, it is preferable if you stay away from torrent sites that only provide copyrighted content to peer-to-peer users, as it might pose legal issues for you. However, downloading legal files on a torrent can also pose several problems, which is why you need to follow specific preventive measures in order to torrent safely and anonymously.
1. Use Safe Torrent Client:
A reputable torrent client that hosts safe and legal providers is the utmost priority while torrenting. When selecting a torrent client, you should look for one that is simple to use, lightweight, and easily configurable. It should provide you with a reasonable level of customization and flexibility, allowing you to torrent with more security. Here are a few torrent clients that would serve as suitable options:
- Deluge- It is a free and open-sourced torrent client that is functional with a wide range of add-ons. However, it is not the most user-friendly tool.
- qBittorrent– This torrent client offers extensive customization and is completely ad-free. However, it does not allow for the use of extensions.
Any torrent clients in this list would offer you enough features for a safe and anonymous torrenting experience.
2. Using a VPN:
You may stay anonymous when torrenting if you utilize a VPN. A VPN will perform the following functions for you:
- A VPN will make it impossible for your IP address and online activities to be disclosed to your ISP.
- The usage of a VPN provides users with distinctive IP addresses from several servers located worldwide.
- You can simply choose servers in countries where torrenting regulations are lenient or non-existent if you want to avoid being caught.
- Moreover, VPNs also eradicate ISP throttling and allow you to overcome geo-restrictions.
- Another advantage of utilizing a VPN is that it encrypts your data traffic, making it impossible for cybercriminals or third parties to trace your identity.
Some of the best VPNs for torrenting include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, SurfShark VPN, and CyberGhost VPN. All of these possess unmatchable security features with their multiple layers of encryption, a wide range of P2P servers for unrestricted torrenting, safe jurisdictions, highly advanced VPN protocols, and a strict no-logging policy.
3. Download Torrents with Caution:
Torrenting can instantly turn into a hazardous activity if you download illegal files unknowingly. Hence you need to choose your torrent links with caution in order to be on the safe side. Here is how you can select reliable torrents:
- Trusted uploaders are typically distinguished on torrent platforms. For instance, the Pirate Bay displays a green skull next to it in the search results if the content is obtained from a trusted uploader.
- Moreover, you should examine user reviews as well as the number of torrents. There is a much less malware threat associated with torrents that consist of a large number of seeders.
- Avoid torrents of movies, television programs, or video games that haven’t been broadcast yet, as it will probably be illegal.
If the laws in your country are strict regarding pirated content, you need to be extra cautious while choosing torrents.
5. Using an Antivirus Software:
If you’re accessing files on the internet or from the internet, it is necessary to run a virus scan on them frequently. Running antivirus software is vital due to the following reasons:
- It protects you against malware, ransomware, and spyware, which might inadvertently find their way onto your device via a downloaded file.
- In the absence of adequate antivirus/antimalware protection, it won’t take long for a malware/virus infection to take possession of your device and spread to all of your data.
- A malware or virus infection can give cyber criminals acess to your personal information.
Furthermore, a combination of antivirus software and a VPN is all you need to ensure privacy and anonymity while torrenting.
6. Using Private Trackers:
Before downloading torrents, it is critical for you to examine the source. Cybercriminals, as well as copyright trolls, use trackers to thwart downloads and steal data. Whereas installing a private tracker will help you in defending their attacks. Hence, you need to sign up for a trustworthy private tracker in order to safeguard your data. Their features are as follows:
- Private torrent trackers are dependable and risk-free.
- To get access to the private tracker site, you must first receive an invitation. This prohibits users or organizations from tracking your IP address and the port on which your torrent client is running.
- Moreover, private trackers do not have any performance problems since they have limited users who receive the invitation.
- The torrents available on private trackers are of excellent quality.
- If anyone comes across a malicious torrent file, they may report it, which will result in the file being deleted. In addition, the individual who uploads the fake torrent file is barred from using the service.
- In this way, private trackers help create a safe space for you to download legal content without any worry.
The r/trackers subreddit is a great place to find out about public and private trackers.
7. Using Anomos:
Anomos can be referred to as a torrent client that employs end-to-end encryption in order to ensure a safer torrenting experience. Its features are as follows:
- It uses the BitTorrent peer/tracker structure; however, what makes it unique is its extra layer of anonymity via onion routing.
- It is a free-of-cost software for Windows that allows you to download files from the BitTorrent network without compromising your privacy.
- Anomos hides your identity so that other torrent users, ISP, and copyright trolls aren’t able to spy on your online activity.
- The software is intended to be used by inexperienced torrent users, as it provides the most rudimentary options for downloading files that are similar to other P2P applications.
However, the disadvantage of using Anomos is that it is not entirely compatible with standard torrent files since it utilizes its own ‘atorrent’ format.
8. Using Mobile Data:
Another great tip to torrent safely is to use mobile data. In certain cases, utilizing mobile torrent software is a bright idea, particularly if you intend to download big files throughout the night without having to leave your PC turned on. You should consider using mobile data for torrenting due to the following reasons:
- Mobile data is prone to constantly changing its IP while torrenting.
- Hence, even if third parties get access to the IP address, it won’t be as dangerous compared to the harm done by exposure of the IP address assigned by your ISP.
The only drawback is that there might be certain download limits while using mobile data. However, if you plan ahead, you can figure out how to utilize it effectively.
Are VPNs a Better Option Than Seedbox?
Seedbox, a Virtual Private Server, and VPNs, short for Virtual Private Networks, not only seem similar in their names, but they also possess some similar characteristics. Let’s analyze the functions of Seedbox first.
There are two methods in which Seedbox may assist you in torrenting anonymously:
- First and foremost, it conceals your IP address. Only the fact that you’re using a Seedbox will be know to your ISP, not the fact that you’re using it to access torrent websites.
- Following that, once you are downloading the material to your device, the Seedbox starts employing HTTPS encryption to prevent your ISP or anybody else from intercepting your connection.
Its functions indeed seem similar to a VPN; hence, you might be thinking why you should use a VPN when you have Seedbox? However, A VPN may be less expensive and handier than a Seedbox due to the following added functions:
- Not only does it help in torrenting safely, but it also maintains privacy while surfing the web. For instance, when you are searching for a torrent on a search engine, a VPN will succeed in hiding this information as well, unlike Seedbox.
- Additionally, using a VPN, you may download P2P material directly to your device, unlike Seedbox, which deals with two separate download procedures.
You might also use both Seedbox and VPN simultaneously for added protection.
Is TOR a good choice for torrenting safely?
Users may utilize Tor for torrenting as it uses several layers of encrypted proxies to preserve the user’s privacy and anonymity, but it’s not ideal for torrenting. Here are some of the drawbacks that TOR poses:
Leaking IP address:
Your torrent client may still be able to access and leak your actual IP address while using Tor as a proxy.
A vulnerability in Tor enabled researchers to de-anonymize over 10,000 BitTorrent users. They claimed it was easy to trace down a torrent user’s actual IP address in most cases.
This leak was made possible due to the fact that Tor is usually only used to connect to the tracker, and peer connections are routed outside of Tor.
Tor does not allow UDP connections (such as DHT); thus, any connection that is not TCP may reveal your IP address.
DHT technology is now a vital part of the BitTorrent protocol. Magnet links will not function properly if this is not present. However, there is a concern: DHT is based on the UDP transfer protocol, and Tor is incapable of handling UDP connections.
Some torrent clients simply disable TOR-incompatible functionality. However, most sites will ignore your UDP proxy settings and route them outside of the Tor network, exposing your IP address to all DHT peers.
You’ll be fortunate if you obtain even a 480p display resolution while using TOR for torrenting. TOR prevents you from using your maximum download speeds. Thus, even if you have a super-fast internet connection, like 10mbps or above, you will still not be able to download your torrents at their full rates if you attempt to do so via Tor.
PeerBlock or VPNs?- Which option to torrent safely?
Designed in an open-source setting, PeerBlock is referred to as an out-of-date model of a firewall. It helps to reduce the issue of monitoring and illicit connections while torrenting. However, Peerblock has a number of flaws that jeopardize its long-term sustainability. For instance:
- Reduces the effectiveness of leaching.
- It may be challenging to block several IP addresses at the same time.
- It is possible that you may notice severe speed reductions.
An effective method to get rid of such drawbacks is to employ a VPN for torrenting instead.
Here is an in-depth comparison of the two which clearly indicates that VPNs are a much better choice when it comes to torrenting.
|ENCRYPTION||The use of a VPN encrypts data traffic, making it impossible for torrent trackers, ISPs, or governments to trace your online activities.||PeerBlock lacks encryption; thus, your torrent activity is public. It also does not block ISPs from tracking data.|
|CONCEALING IP ADDRESS||When you join a VPN service, your IP address is instantly replaced by the VPN server’s IP address.||PeerBlock blocks undesirable IP addresses but does not conceal your own.|
|CIRCUMVENTION||VPNs are almost impossible to circumvent due to their high-level security and encryption.||Copyright agencies may easily modify their IP address to avoid PeerBlock and monitor your online activities.|
|UPDATES||The finest VPNs are regularly updated to ensure that there are no bugs or issues that may hinder your torrenting experience.||There hasn’t been any significant improvement to PeerBlock since its previous upgrade, which was reportedly done in 2014.|
It is clearly evident that upon comparison with PeerBlock, VPNs are a considerably better option.
What Happens if You Get Caught Torrenting?
The outcome of torrenting completely depends on the content you’re downloading. Moreover, certain jurisdictions have strict laws against pirated content, while others allow downloading unharmful content for personal use. Here are some of the repercussions that you might face once you are caught torrenting.
- Penalties imposed by ISPs: Since torrenting consumes a significant amount of bandwidth and bandwidth costs money to ISPs, they might take action against you on their own. Furthermore, an ISP may also be getting bribes from copyright holders and their affiliates to expose your torrenting activity. If you do not comply, your ISP might even throttle your internet connection or threaten to hand over your personal information to a copyright troll.
- Settlement letter: By using the judicial system, a copyright troll may summon your ISP and compel it to send emails to torrent users, threatening them with legal action and demanding that they give over personal information. A few thousand dollars is usually demanded in these settlement letters, with the option to pay immediately or go to court, which may cost the recipient tens of thousands of dollars.
Users are usually threatened to pay huge sums of money or face a trial in court for illegally downloading copyrighted material; however, the odds of this happening are very low.
Can You Go To Jail For Torrenting?
Torrent users have been subjected to occasional legal action. Although these days, the odds of actually appearing in court or being imprisoned are very low, however, the fee penalties may be quite significant if you are caught torrenting illegal content. Copyright holders filing lawsuits against torrenters for violation of their intellectual property reached an all-time high in the late 2000s. Copyright pirates were prosecuted for excessive sums of money, and the vast majority of cases were settled out of court.
To put it simply, you might not actually go to jail for torrenting; however, if you are downloading illegal content, then you’re definitely in dire straits. Although even if you are downloading legal content, you need to adopt some security measures in order to avoid legal repercussions.
Torrenting is an excellent method of downloading large files from the internet fast and effectively; however, you must ensure that you are doing it correctly. Connecting to P2P networks without protection may lead to a number of problems. For instance, it may lead to the theft of your private information or identity. You may also be extorted for money, faced with legal repercussions, or even imprisoned.
Hence, to enjoy the benefits of torrenting, you must take some measures to ensure your safety and anonymity by using a trusted torrent site to avoid copyrighted material, legal torrents, good P2P client, VPN, and antivirus software. When torrenting, taking these measures will keep you secure and anonymous while you relax with your favorite movie or TV program.