Using a torrent site can be one of the best (or only) ways to get the content you need to listen to or watch. In addition, it is a very efficient way to transfer data between people instead of dealing with some slower or more difficult to work with options.
However, torrent sites can also be very dangerous for your internet safety, because there is a lot of malware and other nefarious content waiting within the lists of files that you can download. While you may be eager to just speed through or otherwise take some risks to get the data faster, you should keep your own safety and security as your primary concern.
Here are a few things that you should know before you press go on the address bar:
You Should Use a VPN
The first thing that you should consider getting if you know you are going to be torrenting frequently is to get a Virtual Private Network. Effectively, it connects your computer over a network to a secure server and will get the data for you and send it to you. This means that your computer will only be seen by outside onlookers at best to be using a VPN, and they cannot see your torrenting.
Also of note, using a VPN might help you should you be downloading copyrighted materials, as a VPN will veil your use to the government and outside interested parties. The potential cost of such trouble greatly outweighs the relatively minor cost of a VPN service, which often isn’t much more than a Netflix subscription.
Also note that if you are going to be travelling while you are torrenting, my recommendation changes from “you should get one” to “you absolutely have to have one.” A VPN will allow you to stay safe in public networks as well as bypass government censorship and regional restrictions on your internet. It will also allow you to leave less of a trail for people to track or monitor your internet use on the road.
If you are looking for a good VPN for torrenting, you should take a look at http://securethoughts.com/3-best-vpns-torrents/
Look Before You Click
Not all files are the same, and the best torrenting websites will give you a better look at the file you are going to download before you download it. If a torrenting site effectively asks you to trust them, you shouldn’t trust them.
One thing you should look at first is the file type of whatever you are downloading. If you are downloading an audio file, does the file come in an audio format? If you are downloading pictures, are you getting one of the common picture formats? If you are unsure, you can always look it up in a new tab, and the few extra seconds spent will be absolutely worth it.
Another thing to look at is the file name. You want a clean-sounding name and nothing that looks like it was hastily considered or misspelled. A lot of hackers or cyber-criminals just won’t put the time in to make their bad software look like it fits, so as to create more volume. Try to find something with the exact name of the data you are looking for.
Don’t Give Out Anything
If you have to give out anything more than an email address, you shouldn’t be using that torrenting website. Also, you should have a separate email address for torrenting purposes that you won’t mind losing. Under no circumstances should you give out an address or any financial data whatsoever. I reiterate: if you are asked for financial data at any time you should run away and never look back.
This data, should you give it to them, can be used to track you down for either legal purposes (whether you have knowingly committed any crimes or not), or used to steal your identity, which can be a nightmare in itself that will take days, if not weeks, to recover from.
This guideline also goes out for sharing things on torrenting websites. While it may be considered the polite or fair thing to do, that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to do it. There is little advantage to sharing, and you are only opening yourself up to trackers and hackers looking to make your day miserable. This is a situation where it is ok to be selfish.
Do Research Beforehand on the Service
On the internet, what kind of reputation does the particular website you are thinking of using have? It is known for being an insecure place relative to other websites? Does it have a reputation of something that will be shut down soon? Be sure to read reviews or forum posts about the service you are thinking of, and then try to find a website that is a good fit for you. The best ones will also have some sort of rating system (that is actually used) on the files so you know what to expect.
You should have one regardless, but if you are going to be using a torrent website you absolutely have to have an anti-virus program and an anti-malware program. There is no way you can be 100% accurate with everything you download, and you should be scanning things as they come in, so your computer isn’t ruined two hours later.
Also, you need to make sure that your programs are updated every time before you start torrenting. Internet security changes every day, and only the latest patched and updates can protect you from everything that is out there. Hackers are not going to try older methods of getting to you that they know there are protections against. They are going to try new things, which you haven’t downloaded the fixes to yet.
I hope that these tips will help you in your search for a good torrenting website and staying safe after you have found it. Remember that no piece of data is worth ruining your computer and identity over, or risking legal action. Thank you for reading.