Want to stay safe when torrenting? Try these six tips
Oh torrent, I wonder what many of us would have done in this digital world without you. In a world where it costs as much as a fortune to see the latest movies online, download our favorite apps, and follow our dear TV shows, torrents have been the saving grace.
Not only have torrents come to save us from those astronomical download charges, but it has also been giving a lot of us, digital-enthusiasts, the opportunity to get one over our rich, proud friends, many of whom love to brag about being the first to see a new movie, get an app, or enjoy a copyrighted content.
Unfortunately, torrenting doesn’t come without its mischief of risks, many of which you’re already familiar with.
What are the risks of torrenting?
Did you know that many of the contents you often grab from BitTorrent are copyrighted materials? Although torrenting saves you a lot of money by allowing you to grab these contents for free, it is actually an illegal act, one that could land you in serious trouble with your internet service provider (ISP) or the copyright holder itself.
But these are just trivial threats to the acts of torrenting, since most copyright holders may not necessarily file a case or ask for a fine from every Tom, Dick, and Harry that downloads their content through BitTorrent.
The greatest risk, however, comes in the form of privacy breaches and system hacks – cyber threats!
According to the research conducted in 2019, it was discovered that popular TV shows, including Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, WestWorld, and Stranger Things, all attracted a significant amount of malware bombardment. This is because hackers understand that millions of people would look to download those shows via torrent, and as such, there is no better time to infect them with malware, spyware, Trojans, and other malicious programs than then.
How then can one stay protected from these threats while torrenting, you may wonder?
How to stay safe when torrenting
Don’t just use a VPN for torrenting, use the best VPN
One of the first safety rules learned by many torrent users is that VPN is king. Before you start torrenting, ensure you’re locked into a VPN program. Yes, that is absolutely correct! But one thing we often forget is that not all VPNs are ideal for every torrenting purpose.
In fact, while some VPNs actually hide your activities from your ISP, they fall short when it comes to hiding your activities and IP from the websites and services you visit. This is why many serial torrent users often recommend that people should look out for the best VPN for torrenting before proceeding to torrent repositories.
With the best VPN service, you can be guaranteed that not a single website will be able to track you or trace an action back to your IP. One very big feature of a good VPN service is the absence of logs. With the “time-correlation attack,” many websites have been able to track and detect torrenters. But when you are on a VPN service that provides the “zero-log” option, it will be impossible for anyone to use such an attack on you.
Be sure that you’re getting the right seed
In order to avoid malware and other cyber exploits when torrenting, you should always watch out for the seeds you’re getting. More often than not, hackers tend to infect your system with malware when you’re busy scouring the net for seeds. The easiest way to avoid this situation and ensure that you download what you’re looking for exactly is to search for torrents that are popular, that is, has a lot of seeders. If a torrent has lots of seeders, the chances are that it is the real deal.
Furthermore, you can improve your seeding process by using popular torrent repositories like YTS or EZTV – they are fast and safe.
Additionally, these popular websites also employ the use of systems known as “flair systems” to display verified users, a feature that makes it relatively easy to tell whether a seed is genuine or not.
Check the comments
Thanks to the fact that Torrent sites permit torrenters to leave comments, users can always check first which sites have the best comments and which are malevolent. It is a no brainer that sites that are flooded with positive comments by other downloaders are a much better download option than a site with negative remarks. To find comments in torrents, you should start by searching for the movie, show, or app you desire to grab. Once you do, click on the torrent seed that best appeals to you, then scroll downwards to catch a glimpse of people’s opinions about the seed.
Install a good antivirus system
Don’t even think about torrenting if you haven’t installed a good antivirus system already. This is because hackers often hide malware inside torrents downloads so that they can easily infect the systems of torrenters.
But when you have a good antivirus system installed, it will be near-impossible for this malware to stay undetected in your mobile phone or PC.
Some of the most common malware added into downloads include:
- Ransomware: an infection that allows hackers to take your system hostage and encrypt it until you pay them in Bitcoin.
- Trojans: this infection allows the hacker to comfortably commandeer your system’s hardware (microphone or camera). Once they are in, they start to snoop on you, steal valuable info from your device, and install keyloggers to steal your passwords and financial information.