With the help of torrent trackers, you can easily download any file, for example, a movie, a game, and so on. But sometimes torrent files contain malicious codes or users find themselves downloading such files. Take some precautions to reduce the risk of catching a virus or getting caught downloading torrent files.
Part 1 of 2: Virus Protection
Step 1. Install antivirus
A good antivirus will protect your computer from malicious torrent files. Windows has built-in Windows Defender antivirus, which is good at detecting most viruses. If your computer does not have antivirus, enable Windows Defender; this is done through the Control Panel. Or install a third-party antivirus like BitDefender or Kaspersky. Remember that only one antivirus should be installed on the computer.
Read this article for information on how to select and install an antivirus program
Step 2. Choose torrent files with a lot of seeds
As a rule, a large number of seeders indicates that the torrent file is free of viruses - users who downloaded the torrent file checked it for viruses and started distributing it. Of course, this does not guarantee the complete absence of malicious codes, but it will still help you choose a relatively safe file. Moreover, the more seeds there are, the faster the file will download.
Step 3. Before downloading the file, read the comments of other users
This also does not guarantee absolute protection, but comments on the distribution (on the torrent tracker) will help you find out if it contains viruses. If there are many comments, but not a word about viruses, most likely there are no malicious codes in the torrent file. If many users mention viruses, do not download the torrent file.
Step 4. Do not download files whose formats are hidden by viruses
For example, try not to download programs, because executable files (EXE, BAT) are the most common method for transmitting viruses. There are also many hacked programs on torrent trackers, which often contain malicious codes.
Step 5. Register on a private torrent tracker
In this case, the risk of downloading an infected torrent file is greatly reduced - distributions are created by well-known members of private torrent trackers, so most files do not contain malicious codes. But keep in mind that signing up with a private torrent tracker is not easy; as a rule, this requires an invitation from a member of such a torrent tracker you know. In this case, be active in various online communities to get to know a member of the private torrent tracker.
Part 2 of 2: Protection Against Discovery
Step 1. Understand the torrent download process
When you download a file, your IP address is available to any user who participates in the exchange of torrent files. This is necessary in order for the torrent client to connect to the computers of other users, but also opens your actions to organizations that monitor traffic from torrent trackers. These organizations are Internet service providers and agencies that enforce copyright. Follow these steps to minimize the risk or avoid slowing down your internet connection from your ISP.
Step 2. Install PeerBlock
This program blocks IP addresses of famous torrent trackers. In this case, the computer will not be able to connect to such IP addresses, that is, they will not participate in traffic from torrent trackers. This is not the most reliable way to protect yourself from detection because your ISP will be able to detect that you are downloading torrent files. But it's a quick and easy way to minimize the risk of getting a warning letter from a copyright enforcement agency.
PeerBlock can be downloaded for free at peerblock.com. Follow the instructions on the screen to install and launch PeerBlock. The program runs in the background and blocks attempts to connect to known untrusted IP addresses. During the initial setup of the program, use the "P2P" list in the Bluetack section to configure protection for the connection to torrent trackers
Step 3. Consider using a VPN service
To truly hide traffic from torrent trackers, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. Such services cost several hundred rubles a month, but the traffic will be reliably hidden from unauthorized users. The ISP will not be able to determine that you are downloading files from torrent trackers, and therefore will not slow down the speed of your Internet connection. What's more, your IP address will be hidden from organizations that track IP addresses and send alert emails.
VPN has some drawbacks. First, VPNs are not free, so you need to think about the cost / benefit ratio. Secondly, the speed of the Internet connection will decrease because all traffic will go through the VPN server; the VPN server will most likely be located in a different country, so the speed drop will be noticeable. Finally, many VPN services monitor user traffic and can provide data to law enforcement (but you can find a VPN service that does not store user traffic information)
Step 4. Select and subscribe to a VPN service
There are many VPNs out there with different pricing and privacy policies. Be sure to read the small print. Pay attention to the terms of service for services that store information about user traffic. Moreover, not all VPN services allow you to download files from torrent trackers. Below are some of the most popular VPNs, but there are a huge number of other VPNs that you can find with a search engine. Free VPNs and proxies are not recommended as they are not always secure.
Step 5. Find information on how to connect to the VPN server
When you subscribe to a VPN service, information will be provided on how to connect to the VPN server. It includes the VPN server address, username and password. You may need to open the VPN site to find this information.
Step 6. Launch the torrent client
After paying for the VPN service, you need to set up a torrent client to connect to the VPN server.
Step 7. Click "Program Settings" or "Options"
Typically, this button is found in the Tools or Options menu at the top of the torrent client window.
Step 8. Go to the "Connection" tab
Here you can configure the connection settings, that is, enter information about the connection to the VPN server.
Step 9. In the Proxy Server section of the Type menu, select VPN
Most VPNs use the SOCKS5 protocol. If you do not know the protocol, check it in the VPN server connection information.
Step 10. Enter the address and port of the VPN server
This information can be found on the VPN service website. Many VPN services offer connections to various servers to optimize your internet connection speed.
Check the box next to "Use a proxy server for peer-to-peer networks"
Step 11. Start downloading torrent files
Once connected to the VPN server, you can safely download torrent files. Keep in mind that no VPN service guarantees absolute anonymity, but it does significantly reduce potential risks.