- The biggest risk of torrenting is that most of the torrent files are known to contain copyrighted material.
- The personal data of users is highly vulnerable while torrenting by Hackers/Cyber-criminals.
- Torrents are very prevalent sources of malware and viruses.
- A reliable VPN (encrypted internet connection), along with robust anti-virus security can keep your privacy and data protected while torrenting.
Torrenting is the act of downloading and uploading many small bits of files at the same time. And a torrent is a file containing metadata related to a movie, song, software, or photo downloaded from a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.
These torrents are unique in the fact that they aren’t maintained and distributed by anyone website; instead, those tasks fall upon the users of these P2P networks, who, once a file starts downloading, immediately begin ‘seeding’ or providing their downloaded file for upload to other P2P participants. As a result, torrents are very reliable, fast, and an effective way to download files from the internet. But wait!! It’s a good idea to understand first the risks involved with downloading torrents. So, read along and find out.
The biggest risk of torrenting is that most of the torrent files are known to contain copyrighted material. That is why there is a high possibility of torrent users to face legal issues when it comes to downloading torrents. Torrent users may be under constant observation of surveillance agencies!!
The ISPs can easily monitor torrent users’ activities online. If they find any trace of an illegal download of any copyrighted torrent file, the torrent users are liable to face legal consequences for their illicit actions over the internet.
Legal action may also lead to issuing of DMCA-like notices, the imposition of hefty fines, and suspension of an ISP license! However, all the torrents aren’t illegal at all, but most of them are. There are some legal torrents available for download as well. So, you should go for these legal torrents.
Peer-to-peer file sharing does not necessarily pose a direct threat to your system. While downloading a torrent using a P2P network, the IP addresses for every device connected to the torrent file are visible to everyone else in that network. IP addresses can reveal a user’s approximate location. So, advertisers can easily use these IP addresses to target ads.
Hackers can use the IP address to accomplish any unlawful activity. Those activities may include leakage of your personal data (as their movements are very high on torrent websites). These personal data may contain passwords, credit card, and debit card details, etc. You may ask how? Phishing attacks are more prominent on those websites. So, they can easily snatch your sensitive credentials details, even without your knowledge. You can be an easy target for law enforcement agencies too.
Malware & Viruses
Torrents are very prevalent sources of malware and viruses. Hence, one of the most common risks that torrent users tend to face is that of malware and viruses. Thus, you don’t even know that the torrent file you have just downloaded from a source, may contain a virus. This threat is quite real in the case of software and games downloaded from torrent websites, which must be installed and executed.
Such an act of downloading virus-affected torrent files can easily cripple down your computer system. You can’t even imagine what cyber-criminals or hackers can do with your system and ultimately with you when they gain access. Ain’t that horrible?
So, if you want to keep your privacy and data protected from the various threats emanating from P2P networks, you should use an entire arsenal of protection. The first and foremost one is to have an encrypted internet connection, which is possible by using a good VPN. The VPN will help you to mask the actual IP address of your device. Moreover, your internet access will be through an encrypted tunnel of the VPN. Hence, it’s highly recommended to use a VPN especially while using torrent.
Also, you should have the latest updates installed from the operating system on your device along with a robust anti-virus security suite. These are the must-have things while torrenting. However, always run virus scans on the files downloaded from torrents and read through comments to prevent infection.