Torrenting sites are extremely useful websites those allow you to share data with other users, back up your data with other users, and transfer large amounts of data online for business or personal purposes. It is incredibly easy to see why they are just so popular.
That being said, there are a lot of risks in using these sites, as many of them are shady at best, and on many more you might wind up downloading viruses or malware onto your computer. In light of that information, the safety of your data and your computer should be paramount when using these websites.
Here are a few ways you can be much safer when you use a torrenting site:
Use a VPN
If you are using torrenting websites and programs, then you should know that your IP address is pretty readily accessible to anyone else out there who is sharing with you or otherwise connected to you via the torrent. This can be used to track who you are and so that the government or companies might be able to take legal action against you if you are downloading copyrighted materials. You will want to avoid that unfortunate fate, so you will want to hide your IP address.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) will be able to help you with this, as well as help you with a variety of other things, such as protecting you from hackers when you are using a public network. If you use a VPN, the most others will be able to tell is that you are using a VPN, and they’ll know nothing of your internet habits. Many of them also offer other benefits depending on the specific VPN.
If you are looking for a good VPN to use when you torrent, you will want to check out this article to start with: http://securethoughts.com/3-best-vpns-for-torrents-filesharing-and-p2p/
Look Before You Click
Much of the time you can’t be entirely sure about what you are downloading when you are using torrent sites, and you will have to trust that people are sharing what you want. That being said, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are taking the fewest risks possible.
If you check the title of the file before you download something you might save yourself some trouble. Try to only pick files that have accurate descriptions or the titles of what you wish to download, and avoid like the plague any file that is randomly named or misspelled in any way (because it likely is infected).
Also, you will want to check the file type that you are downloading. A movie or music file should not have .exe at the end of it. And a word document should only come in text files or file types you know are generally used for text. And be somewhat wary of folders you have to unzip. It is a way to compress files and make downloading easier, but you can often never be sure of what is contained wherein.
Have an Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Program
This should go without saying for almost any computer, the only exceptions being computers not connected to the internet (and even then you may want to be cautious about what goes onto your computer). You need an anti-virus if you want to use torrents and you will want to pick one of the best ones. There are plenty of free programs you can use to protect yourself if you want to, but these are often not as well-supported as you need them to be. Consider a good program as investing into your torrenting.
You will not only need a program, but you will want to update them frequently as well and run scans as often as you possibly can, preferably after each torrenting session. As for updates, it would be most effective to check for and install updates before each session begins, so that the newest protections and measures are available to you. It may seem like an annoyance, but hackers and virus-makers aren’t going to try things that they know there are protections against.
Don’t Share Unless You Have To
Most torrenting websites and services are community-based and require people to upload files for people to take. It is how the system works and protects the hosts from full legal ramifications. You might consider people uploading materials as generous or good for you. You should not become one of those people.
You don’t want to open your computer up to needless risk or tracking even if you use torrents, and the safest way you can do this (other than simply not using torrents) is to try to not get involved in sharing materials on these websites. It might seem selfish, but everyone else sharing likely has a better chance of knowing what they are doing, and if you are downloading copyrighted material, then legal action is more often taken against sharers instead of every person who downloads.
Check Comments and Feedback
Some torrent websites will often have a type of up-voting or rating system for files that are being shared. Others will have comment sections. You should try to make use of both of these information sources before you click OK on bringing something into your computer. You might be able to take advantage of the mistakes of others, and you can move along to the next file with the same name instead of wasting your time and/or money.
This should go equally with the torrent site you use. You will likely only use a handful of different torrenting sites, and so you should try to do some research into the ones you use. How secure are they? Do they let just anyone share anything so easily? Remember that often any extra hassle from security-related matters will likely come back and help you be that much more secure when you download. There are all sorts of forums and articles on the matter, make a search for them before you make a search for your main torrent site.
I hope above tips will help you understand torrent sites more and that you will be able to stay much safer on them with what you’ve learned. Do continue your research and may you enjoy the fruits of your labor. Thank you for reading.