Torrent sharing is a process of peer-to-peer download involving numerous devices as servers all over the world. This method of sharing torrent files makes the torrent a faster and efficient means of downloading but also makes it prone to some potential risks.
Major Risks While Torrenting
Anonymous torrenting is a much-needed way for torrent downloaders as the risks to torrent is quite high. These threats are from different means and in various forms.
Here are some significant risks linked with torrent downloading.
1 – Privacy or legal issues
Copyright infringement or legal threats to torrenting are the most enormous problems when you are not downloading torrents anonymously. Torrenting itself is not illegal; however, the copyright material and strict torrent laws of different countries make it illegal at some point.
It is most probable that you get involved in downloading the illegal torrent file without an intention to do so. But the snooping entities such as ISPs, and law enforcement agencies could constantly be tracking you, and you might get caught while torrenting.
If any user is found torrenting illegal stuff, he/she may face legal actions including DMCA-like notices, the imposition of fines or maybe a suspension of ISP’s license. However, the ISP throttling is a common consequence a torrent downloader could face if ISP identifies illegal torrenting.
Also, a common tactic to snag a torrent downloader is placing hidden trackers in copyrighted movies and other torrent files.
Generally, the penalties for violation range from suspension of internet service, up to 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 fines.
1 – Malware Injections and Hacking
Like any other file, the torrent files could also contain a virus that could cripple down your device. The threat while torrent downloads mainly depend on the source from where you are downloading the file.
When an unrecognized malware is opened, it is just because the downloader has a misleading sense of security towards P2P networks. Due to such pattern and unfamiliarity to the security threats linked with torrenting, the malicious entities mostly place the fraudulent links through this means.
Moreover, the torrent downloaders are spied by the hackers so that IP addresses of all the peers could be monitored. The hackers sometimes gain vital information for sequential targeting of user devices, and eventually, they attack the PC with vulnerability.
Privacy issues with torrenting (Explanation & Precautions)
Torrents use a specific method for transferring files which are based on BitTorrent technology. In this method, a particular port for traffic, i.e., 6881-6889 TCP port- which means that the torrent traffic is unique and can easily be identified by the internet service providers or any other surveilling entity.
If a user, uses torrent over regular internet connection then there are high chances of the service providers to investigate and observe which type of files are being downloaded and would take legal action if found torrenting illegal files.
The internet service providers can easily track the IP addresses of clients using torrents.
Tha is also because torrents usually share their IP addresses with other users to help in the downloading process. When the ISP identify who’s using the torrent traffic and that the IP address is sharing a specific file illegally so, people are caught, and legal actions are taken against them.
As you can see in the above screenshot, all the downloader and seeders exposed by IP’s.
Illegal Torrenting – Cases, and issues
Because you are still safe from copyright notices, you might be thinking it as a rare happening? But it is unwise to take such actions lightly.
Most of the people downloading torrents have reported the incidents when they have received a notice from copyright trolls or ISPs. Here is some experiences of such a surprised and confused torrent user.
Some people also complained about the legal notices which they had received for the action they haven’t performed.
However, there are lucky torrent downloaders who just got the warning before any fine imposition or punishment.
How to Private Your Torrenting (Precautions)
Using torrents with complete safety is essential. If a user pays particular attention to the torrents being used and where the torrent files are found then, torrenting will be a beneficial way of downloading large size files.
Here are some ways which if a user follows remain completely safe while torrenting.
1. Use Legal Torrents:
To prevent any sort of trouble or legal consequences, it is important not to download any copyrighted files or materials from a torrent. The pirated files which may not be shared initially without permission or some charges but torrent still presents them. Thus, it is suggested to stay away from downloading such materials.
2. Use a VPN:
The easiest and simplest way to keep yourself safe while torrenting, is using a VPN. A VPN is a way to protect the user’s personal information and IP address while using torrents.
It hides the IP address and changes it to some other IP address, by which it becomes complicated for the copyright trolls and service providers to track the user.
Moreover, a VPN encrypts user’s internet traffic. Hence, the ISP is unable to track the user. VPN holds on all the internet activities and provides a safe and secured internet experience to the users.
3. Use Private Trackers:
The trackers are the place where the copyright trolls and hackers are present to intrude and interrupt the downloading process and to gain access of user’s information/data.
Therefore, it is essential from where the torrents have been downloaded. It is recommended to use private trackers since less change of been track down by copyright trolls and hackers is present.
4. Find Torrents on trusted sites:
In order to avoid the chance of getting viruses and malware, it is recommended to download torrents from trusted and respected sites only instead on going to sites, which you have no idea about and have heard from others.
Malware Injection With Torrenting (Explanation & Precautions)
Computer viruses could spread through different channels including a significant medium, “torrent file.”
Due to unknowingness as well as the broad distribution of malware, it’s becoming difficult to figure out the virus. There are two ways through which the viruses are transferred to the torrenters.
The banner ads and other types of displayed advertisements on while downloading torrents are injected with the virus. Such ads are called malvertisements. These ads are even reported from reputable programs such as Google ads.
The torrent sites do not scan every ad properly that’s why a torrent site could contain malvertisement. However, a proper read through the details of such ads could make you figure out the virus.
Another way of getting a virus is through downloading an infected torrent file. Most hackers use popular software to spread viruses. They inject the infected code into the software’s installer, and when you install the altered program, the virus gets into your system.
It is critical for the users to download any torrent content safely. To download absolutely safe torrent content, the user may follow these guidelines;
Change Your Device Settings
As discussed before, the PCs which are already vulnerable have higher chances of being attacked. Therefore, make sure to have these settings on your device.
Turn off “Remote Assistance” and “Remote Desktop” in System Properties. Also, uncheck all the list of exceptions in your Firewall. Moreover, turn off the folder sharing and set passwords for the essential folders in your device.
Avoid Files Prone To Viruses
There are some torrent files which are highly risky to download, and you can judge them with their extension. For instance, the executable files (EXE, BAT) are the most common way of transmitting the virus.
Also, the cracked programs are most destructive files you can download through torrents.
Antivirus is the most efficient way to avoid virus in your devices regardless of the source from where the virus is coming.
Similarly, the torrent accompanied viruses are avoidable with good antivirus software. There are some of the popular antivirus programs such as Avast or BitDefender. However, a Windows user could enable the preinstalled antivirus, Windows Defender which is adequate in catching most viruses.
Remember that there should be one antivirus program in a device at a time.
Check the authenticity of the website, reviews, and Seeders
When you access a site to download a torrent file, you most probably see a comment list of the individuals who have downloaded that file.
It is a vital thing that you look for the reviews which are given by those downloaders in their comments. It is not a 100% working solution, but it gives a broader idea that how the file is performing and is there any virus or not.
Alongside, the seeder ratio of a torrent file could help you in judging the authenticity. If there are lots of seeders, then it is most probable that the file has no virus and that’s why people are sharing it. Again, this is not a guaranteed solution.