BitTorrent is one of the most popular file-sharing programs in the world. It’s been around for many years and has spawned a whole ecosystem of related file-sharing technologies. BitTorrent supports the distribution of files, including software, movies, music, and TV shows. But there are a lot of myths and truths about torrenting.
You may have heard torrenting exposes you to hackers, malware, and copyright trolls. While this is true, there are some precautions that you can take to ensure your safety while torrenting…
1. Choose the Right Client
There are many torrent clients out there, and the one you use can significantly impact your safety. The best torrent clients naturally don’t contain viruses and are better at protecting your privacy than others.
If you’re looking for a client that supports web-based seeding, then BitTorrent will help. The client is easy to use, supports comments, and has a help center, making it ideal for beginners.
Other torrent clients that support fast and safe downloads include qBittorrent, Vuze, and uTorrent. Plus, they’re all free.
2. Avoid Scams and Phishing Sites
The internet is filled with torrent listing sites, blogs, and forums hosting torrent links. Many torrenting platforms host fake files and malicious URLs that link to virus-ridden files.
If you’re downloading a torrent file from the internet, make sure it’s from a trusted source. If you can’t find anything about the torrent site anywhere else, chances are it’s not reputable and probably has something bad in store for you and your device.
Fake torrents may contain malware, viruses, and Trojans that can harm your system and steal personal information from your device. For these reasons, it’s important to only download from reliable torrent websites.
Some famous sites like Pirate Bay and other well-established torrenting sites will often show you which torrents have been checked for safety. This way, you can be sure whatever you’re downloading is safe.
While sticking to trusted sources helps minimize unsafe downloads, the torrent sites are not immune to suspicious files from unverified uploaders.
Even if torrent files look genuine, they can be unsafe as they may contain malware that could harm your computer if you download them without checking their safety first.
One way to check if a file is safe for download is by reading through the comments. Many torrent sites allow users to leave comments under downloaded files. If the file you want to download has many positive comments, it’s likely safe to download.
Torrenting communities, sometimes known as private trackers, are groups of peers who share files between community members. These groups often work on an invitation-only basis.
The community regularly checks the shared files, removing files that don’t meet their standards. Since all the files are created and shared by the community members, they should be free from viruses and other malware.
5. Use Good Antivirus Software
Torrents can host malicious files, such as viruses, ransomware, and spyware, which means that having a good antivirus program is essential for torrentors. The ideal antivirus program should automatically scan downloaded files and immediately let you know if there’s any malware.
Many premium antivirus programs provide real-time monitoring, blocking access to dangerous torrent websites. That way, you avoid clicking on spammy sites with redirecting links. If there’s anything that the antivirus program misses, then go ahead and do a full system scan.
Leading antivirus providers like Norton and McAfee have been offering top-tier services for years. The programs will protect you from malware and other malicious software that can infect your computer.
Even some free antivirus programs also do a good job of providing an extra layer of protection against potential threats.
6. Use a VPN
When downloading a torrent file, your IP address is visible to everyone sharing that torrent. If someone sees your IP address and knows where it is coming from, they can track down your location.
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to stay safe when torrenting. VPNs encrypt your traffic and route it through a server in another location, making it impossible for your ISP or anyone else to see what you’re doing online.
VPNs mask your IP address so that it looks like you’re somewhere else in the world when, in reality, you’re at home using the internet. This is because VPNs replace your IP address with one of their servers.
In addition, a VPN helps prevent hackers from getting into your computer and stealing your personal information. Using VPNs is also one of the ways to unblock websites and region-locked content.
7. Don’t Download Copyrighted Material
If you’re downloading something you know is illegal, you should not be downloading it in the first place. The internet is full of people who steal and upload copyrighted material to the net, so it’s important to exercise due diligence to avoid downloading illegal content.
One of the best ways to stay safe while torrenting is to ensure you’re only downloading and sharing legal content. If you’re caught downloading or sharing copyrighted material, you could be fined or even jailed in some more extreme cases.
For instance, if you use BitTorrent to download a movie that’s still in theatres, you may face criminal charges for intellectual property theft.
Copyright laws protect art and design, music, books, and other creative works from unauthorized copying or distribution. The copyright holder may take legal action against those who copy their work without permission or distribute it without paying copyright fees.
If you want to torrent copyrighted content, seek permission from the copyright holder before downloading anything.
Also, be aware that uploaders often cannot remove files once uploaded to a torrent site. Otherwise, find out if the file is available on music download apps like Amazon Music or Apple Music and use that instead.
Torrent Safely and Anonymously
Torrenting is a convenient way to access files you might not otherwise be able to find. But with this convenience comes some risk because you share files anonymously with many people.
By educating yourself about best practices and following them whenever possible, you can make sure that your time spent torrenting is as safe and fun as possible.