Downloading torrents is probably the easiest way to get a needed file, such as the latest episode of your favorite TV show, a movie you have been dying to see or the newest music album as well as a new game. However, torrents are considered to be illegal in some countries and torrenting is considered to be a criminal activity. You can easily get caught due to a violation of copyright or other laws or accidentally get viruses, malware or other types of infections. Of course, if you take certain precautions, you can decrease the threat of getting your computer infected and avoid getting caught for downloading illegal or pirated material.
Check comments before downloading
While this is no way a guarantee to avoid viruses and get a safe torrent file, it might help to avoid infected files. If under the torrent there are a lot of comments and none of them are about viruses or malware, then it might be that the file is not infected. Moreover, if there are talks about hidden infections, try to avoid torrenting the said file.
Avoid files that are prone to viruses
Cracked programs or executable files (.bat, .exe and others) are more prone to be the ones that are infected, so try to avoid torrent files that are like this. Of course, the said files could be perfectly safe, but they are the most common to have viruses.
An antivirus will help to protect you against all kinds of viruses and threats that could be hidden in torrents. Having an antivirus software is a must for every Internet user, even if they do not engage in torrenting activities. While Windows comes with a default Windows Defender software, you can get any other antivirus program as an alternative (Kaspersky, BitDefender and many others). Windows Defender is a decent antivirus and is good enough to catch viruses or detect malware, trojans and other infections. But regardless of which antivirus software you use, be sure to pick and use only one, as they might clash and slow down your device.
Join a torrent community
Private torrent communities are a great way to avoid torrent files that are infected with viruses, as the files that are shared by members should be more than trustworthy. Also, if a torrent file is infected, it should be quickly discovered and removed. The biggest difficulty is to get an invitation to join such community, as they are private and you need to know someone from the community to send you an invitation. Try to be more active in torrent pages or befriend someone who might send you an invite to join a torrent community.
Torrents with many seeders basically mean that the torrents are free from viruses because other people have checked them and found no viruses before sharing them. It might be not the most legit way to check the files, it will definitely help you shorten the list and for safe torrent files. Many seeders will also result in a faster transfer, meaning, your torrent files will download at a faster rate with higher speed.
When downloading torrent files, your IP address remains public to anyone else sharing the torrent, as this helps the torrent client to connect the users together. However, the biggest drawback here is that it exposes users to organizations that can track down torrent traffic. These include copyright enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies as well as your ISP (Internet Service Provider). There are numerous steps that you can take to reduce the said risks or prevent your Internet Service Provider from throttling your transfer speed.
Consider a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service
To strictly anonymize all your torrent traffics, you should consider signing up for a VPN service provider. You might spend a few dollars per month, but at least you will be sure that you are safe, private and anonymous. A VPN will help you to hide your Internet activity traffic even from your Internet Service Provider, as they will not able to tell what you’re doing online, what kind of websites you are visiting and what kind of files are you downloading. Furthermore, as you connect to a server located in another country, your IP address will change and will be scrambled, so no one could follow-up on your real IP.
Surely, VPNs have a downside. Firstly, not all VPN service providers allow their users to engage in P2P or torrenting activities, so it is important to do some research before acquiring one. Secondly, VPNs might decrease your Internet speed, but most of the VPN services nowadays have high-speed servers so that users won’t lose their current speed. Finally, be sure to get a VPN that has a strict no logs policy. This means that it won’t keep data about you or your online activities, including torrenting.
PeerBlock is a program that blocks and does not show your IP address and will prevent your device from various IP address trackers, moreover, it will block the trackers so they won’t be able to access your torrenting activities or traffic. While the Internet Service Provider might still be able to track your torrents, it will minimize the damage and you will definitely avoid third-party trackers.
There are numerous ways to torrent safely, privately and anonymously. However, before doing so, do some research about your country and its laws regarding torrenting or P2P activity. While some countries consider torrenting illegal, others might do nothing even if you download files continuously. Either way, it is better to use a few safety methods to stay secure not only from trackers and ISPs but from unwanted malware, infections and viruses.
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