How does VPN protect you while you are downloading torrents?
When downloading torrents usually every torrent client displays the exact country and IP address of all seeds sharing a particular file. Now, although it is a peer-to-peer file sharing system the right method& skills can unleash havoc on torrent seeders & leechers. Ideally a Torrent VPN is the smartest solution to overcome ISP monitoring, copyright infrigiment laws and other various surveillance mechanisms.
While scrolling through Reddit I came across a three year old thread discussing various ways ISPs and Copyright Companies monitor torrent downloaders. In the comments section Reddit user “Clockw0rk” explains some ways ISPs and copyright companies come after you:
- Header Probing
By deploying a dedicated monitoring software or “real time active engine” on the ISP network backend, file headers are checked for any files being downloaded by a user. Due to the large number of files transmitted over a particular network, file with certain sizes are checked. The header is scanned for “keywords” related to copyright media and if caught the user is punished through fines and/or jail time.
- Traffic Logging
The dirtiest practice of any ISP is monitoring upload and download activity of its customers. Every time you log-on and download a file from websites including torrents website (Kick Ass Torrents) and file hosting websites (Putlocker), your IP address is logged by the ISP.
- P2P Network Sniffing
The trick responsible to bringing down Napster and LimeWire, P2P Network Sniffing is when authorities & copyright trolls create file sharing accounts to search for what people on a are sharing. Once a user is associated with and confirmed sharing the file the process becomes simpler for the copyright holder or police. All that is required is a court order to demand IP address, name, email and home address information from the ISP.
- Torrent Honey Pot
Possibly the most efficient & effective way of catching torrent pirates is by hosting a torrent file. Copyright owners and security agencies tend to upload a pirated file allowing pirates and users to download the file. Using any torrent client the tracker itself provides the file host all your IP information plus that of any users connected to you. Once the file has been downloaded all your information is with the ISP and copyright holder.
To counter such surveillance & monitoring Clockw0rk emphasizes that “Encryption! Proxies and protocol enforcement can also help”. In plain English, the only way to securely & anonymously download torrent you are required to use a Torrent VPN, Proxy or an encryption software. While the latter two can work with limited security, a VPN offers a complete advanced privacy & anonymity solution.
The primary task of the VPN is to ensure that you are no longer passing traffic through the ISP servers. All data& traffic requests are routed to a Torrent VPN server in the same country or in another country, both are possible. The secondary task of the VPN is to ensure that your real IP address is hidden and new one is shown to anyone who queries your information.
Using state of the art encryption & tunneling all data passing in & out of your devices the VPN secures you from anyone looking to probe torrent headers, log your online traffic, throttling your bandwidth, sniffing around your P2P network or even when downloading honey pot torrents.
While some privacy advocates claim that“ The best way to get around header probing and traffic logging is to simply NEVER DOWNLOAD CONTENT FROM HTTP SITES.” With a VPN setup, you can download files from anywhere on the web without compromising your personal information.
Similarly, traffic logging becomes impossible for the ISP or any other entity monitoring your network since your torrent client is relaying a masked IP address and location of the Torrent VPN server rather than your real one. Network Sniffing also fails with a VPN installed, allowing you to freely share and download files without having copyright trolls knocking on your door.
Lastly, even if you get caught in a Torrent Honey Pot, with a VPN you can consider yourself completely safe. The host of the honey pot torrent file will only get limited information from the torrent client and your ISP since there is nothing to offer. The only way to get to you is through VPN providers who ensure they have nothing to give to authorities. Always remember to choose a Torrent VPN that carries a “Aero Logs Policy”.
5 Best VPN for Torrentting
We have taken the privilege to test and review the 5 leading Torrent VPN providers of August 2016. Remember that only the best Torrent VPN services offer you robust IP address security against ISP & copyright monitoring while protecting you against various online threats. Access our exclusive Best Torrent VPN reviews below and find the best one for your file-sharing needs.
5.0 / 5.0
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Using these P2P and Fastest Torrent VPN Services will also allow you to access geo restricted content and websites blocked due to internet censorship content. A Virtual Private Network for torrent also makes a handy tool for traveling.
How to Download Torrents?
To download torrents to your PC although the process is simple, you will require a Torrent Client. The most prominent torrent clients include Utorrent, Bittorrent, Vuze and Bitcomet, you can also find other liter alternatives online. To download torrents here is a step by step guide:
- Choose your favorite torrent repository to download torrent hash files (ThePirateBay, KickAssTorrents, IsoHunt, TorrentReactor)
- Choose the torrent you want to download or search for it on the respective website.
- Download the hash file and execute it.
- A new box will open up in your torrent client requiring which files to download.
- Select the files you want to download and click start torrent or OK. (Whichever one appears)
The extensive use of torrent and P2P file sharing has attracted much interest from the copyright enforcers. Over the years, many actions have been taken against the torrent providing services.
This excessive pressure by copyright infringement agencies has forced different internet service providers to provide location and IP addresses of their customers using torrent or P2P services.
What this means is that your privacy is at stake and will most likely be breached. Having a Torrent VPN and P2P will help you protect your identity and keep your privacy intact.
Is it safe to share files on torrents? Will I get caught?
The way P2P file sharing service like BitTorrent or uTorrent work is how you get caught while using torrent and sharing files. BitTorrent protocols allow a decentralized way of sharing files with other peers. BitTorrent protocol breaks the file into small pieces; allowing you to upload and download the file from other users simultaneously.
What this does is that everyone can see who is sharing the file and from where. Your IP address is visible when you are using BitTorrent, making it easy for your ISP and copyright sharks to track your online usage activity.
In regions where torrent are banned accessing trackers and downloading torrent using torrent apps like utorrent, BitTorrent, BitComet etc. your IP address is immediately leaked to the ISP. Alternatively, A VPN makes your online activities anonymous by passing all traffic through a secure & encrypted VPN tunnel. This ensures your ISP cannot monitor your online activities negating the DNS leaks while ensuring proactive protection from both copyright trolls and ISP monitoring.
How can a Torrent VPN / P2P VPN Protect Me?
A P2P and torrent VPN will protect you in two ways:
1. Become Anonymous Over the Web
By using a VPN for torrent, you become anonymous over the open web. A VPN service acts as a proxy and masks your original IP address, making you invisible to your ISP and copyright infringement agencies.
The above mentioned top VPN for torrent are based in locations that are friendly to file sharing and do not keep any usage logs – providing you complete anonymity.
2. Encrypt all your Internet Traffic
A torrent / P2P VPN service encrypts all the internet traffic that passes through your network. This keeps all your internet activity private and your ISP will not know what you are up to.
A best torrent vpn will provide military grade encryption levels (256 bit AES), shared IP addresses and have zero logs policy. A shared IP makes it more difficult for copyright agencies to match IP addresses to specific users.
Which Country is Safe for Using Torrent?
In the midst of all the legal requirements and copyright sharks hunting down copyright infringers, there are some countries that are safe for using torrent. These countries don’t have strict copyright laws or any sort of data retention requirements that would compromise your online privacy and get you caught while downloading torrents.
Following are the countries you should look for when using torrents and also lookup servers located in these regions by torrent VPN:
When it comes to finding the safest place for using torrent or file sharing service, nothing comes close to Switzerland. It is considered a safe haven for torrent users as downloading content via torrent is completely legal as long as it is for ‘personal use’.
Personal use can be a broad term but according to the legal requirements, anything that is downloaded (even copyright material) without any attempt to make profit or distribute it is completely legal in Switzerland.
If that was not enough, in Switzerland collecting personal information about someone without their consent is deemed illegal. This includes your IP address, the only piece of information through which copyright sharks can track you. So third party agencies cannot spy on you, nor can they collect any information about you.
Using torrent / P2P file sharing services in Netherlands is legal to some extent. You can safely download content for personal use such as books, movies, music, pictures and other material considered as art, even they are protected by copyright. However, downloading other forms of intellectual properties like software is considered illegal.
Similarly, the use of torrent is legal in Netherlands as long as you do not upload copyrighted files. Since torrent and other file sharing service download and upload content at the same time, you will need to disable seeding in your BitTorrent or any other file sharing software.
Spain offers similar kinds of protection to all torrent users just like in Switzerland. According to various court ruling in cases involving copyright infringement, the judge had ruled that downloading content via torrents for personal use is legal, as long as there is no intention of making profit from that content.
Similarly, legal authorities and third parties cannot obtain your personal information until you are involved in a criminal investigation. This protects your privacy completely and you can safely download torrents in Spain. If you selecting a best torrent VPN, connect to servers located in Spain and use torrents without the fear of getting caught by copyright holders.
In Mexico, there are no strict laws for intellectual property protection. When we combine these lenient laws with less developed economy of Mexico compared to other developed nations, there is no pressure on the law making agencies for implementing such laws.
This makes the use of torrents completely safe in Mexico. Many torrent VPN services have optimized servers located in Mexico for sharing files. So when you are looking for best torrent VPN, do look for servers located in Mexico.
Other Countries Safe for Torrents
Apart from these four nations, there are some other regions you should also consider for using torrents. These include United Kingdom and Canada. However, with recent developments in both these regions, we won’t advice you to use them unless there are no other options left.
In UK, there have been no major events where torrents users have been given a lawsuit until now. However, major record labels, copyright holders, and movie studios are monitoring users of torrents in UK. This is where using a torrent VPN is imperative if you are living in UK.
In Canada, the use of torrents on certain material was considered to be legal. However, with the new mandatory data retention laws implemented, your ISP and telecom companies are required to log information about you (including internet activities) for certain period of time.
This makes the use of torrents in Canada a bit tricky as you can be penalized for infringing copyrights. We would advise you to switch on a torrent VPN before you go on the web or share files via torrents in Canada.
Is Using Torrents Legal?
No! The use of torrents or file sharing services is not legal. There are many countries around the world that do not put pressure on the use of pirated content or enforce copyright infringement laws. South East Asia is the prime example of such regions. Similarly, in certain EU nations (like Switzerland) the use of torrents remains legal as long as it is for personal use.
Having said that, downloading torrents and using file sharing is illegal whichever way you see it. And, if you get caught while using torrents, then there are serious repercussions. You can be penalized through fines, DMCA notices, IP blacklist, or lawsuits.
If that’s not scary enough, then copyright sharks (legal firms specializing in the prosecution of piracy) are the ones to watch out for. These specialized firms compel ISPs to provide consumer information that have indulged in copyright infringement; they monetize by out-of-court settlements (mainly cash payments) with the offender in order to avoid legal prosecution. The only way to protect you is through a VPN for torrent.
Is Using Torrents & P2P File Sharing Ethical?
As far as ethics go, the final choice of usage depends on the reasons you are using torrents and P2P file sharing for. Ask any philosophy major and they will tell you that there is not right or wrong answer to this question. To help you figure out, take these points into consideration:
- Copying and sharing are two very different things compared to stealing. If you are using torrents for the right reasons, like creating a backup or sharing copyrighted content with family members, then it is not the same as stealing.
- Last year (2014), the US Motion Picture Industry grossed over $13.5 billion in annual revenues despite the allegations that piracy is eating away Hollywood.
- Music artists are doing better than ever before. Piracy has shifted the dynamics of the music industry with artists generating bulk of their revenue through live performances, tours, special appearances, and other sources of income instead of banking on the sale of music records.
- Madonna has a deal with her record label that generates 95 percent of the income through concerts on tour. On the other hand, U2 released their latest album “Songs of Innocence” for free to all Apple iTunes users (500 million users to be precise).
- Although the technology incorporated by BitTorrent and other file sharing services is not illegal (how it enables you to transfer files), it just doesn’t fall within the paradigm if copyright laws. There are many litigate uses of such services that are not seen by copyright holders.
- Various copyright lobbies are pressurizing governments to crack down infringers of copyright and impose bans on such services the offer pirated content. Countries like Austria and Indonesia have recently blocked access certain torrent websites. Earlier this year, media giant HBO was also on the hunt of Game of Thrones pirates.
Copyright Infringement Issues
For many years now, copyright infringement agencies have been looking for ways to crack down the accused pirates of the internet – namely torrent/P2P file sharing services. Behind the entire façade are mainly the entertainment industry giants pressurizing the governments to ban or seize such websites.
The debate over using torrents/P2P being legal has been rampaging on for generations. The main accusations for torrent being illegal are due to infringement of copyright material and making them publically available for free, and sharing banned content (pornography, hacking materials, anti governmental campaigns, etc.).
There are many ISPs that are required to keep track of their clients’ activities and almost all of them have been notified by their respective governments to note all cases of copyright infringements.
So if you intend to access torrents and other file sharing services in countries with strict copyright laws, getting caught will result in imprisonment and heavy penalties.
But, this is where P2P Virtual Private Network services come into play – securing your network through protocols, masking your identity and making you anonymous, and protecting your data with encryption.
This is made possible through a wide range of shared servers, provided by torrent vpns; making it impossible for any ISP to track your location and record your online activities.
Keep the Torrent Goons Away
The world of P2P file sharing and torrents give different cybercriminals another domain to use and hack into your space. Although copyright remains to be the most obvious threat to torrent and P2P users; many uTorrent or BitTorrent users have experienced other malicious materials threatening their security network.
These cyber-goons look for different ways to exploit your personal information and your sensitive information. Using P2P file sharing services or torrents, these criminals can retrieve information about you through files containing malware; blind sighting your every defense.
With a P2P VPN and torrent VPN services, you can protect yourself against these threats. Through the network protocols and encryption, torrent VPNs would keep your data safe and internet connection secure.
Torrent VPN for Students and Travelers
If you are a student in a university or you like to travel abroad, you must be wondering how to use torrent VPN. Using a torrent and P2P sharing VPN services allow you to access geo restricted content, share files and use torrents.
You will face many barriers while trying to use torrents over college network or public Wi-Fi. With the help of best torrent vpn, you can overcome these network barriers, get protection against hackers, and easily access torrenting and file sharing services.
Pirate Bay Resurrected from the Dead
Taken down in December following a police raid, Pirate Bay is up again and running steadily. The site had previously encountered similar confrontation back in 2012 and to protect itself, it had changed the physically located servers and moved to cloud storage.
Since the site has been back, it has been on a cleaning spree; removing all fake torrents. Pirate Bay uses the FakeSkan to screen out all such fake torrents and possible malicious software that have snooped onto the site since its re-launch.
Many also argued that Pirate Bay’s re-launch has been scripted by FBI in an attempt to catch the perpetrators of copyright infringement.
Although it is still not clear whether FBI has actually taken control of the website to find the different pirates out in the world – TorrentFreak reported that even if they did, the large volume of data would not be helpful in catching anyone.
However, one can never be so sure of the consequences he might have to face and to protect against such threat, you need a torrent VPN. There are various best torrent vpns available nowadays; it is imperative that you select the one that does not keep any usage or activity logs.
Kickass Torrents Changes Location
Another torrent site that has been a victim of copyright sharks, Kickass Torrents has been taken down through domain name seizure. The torrent website was registered under the Somali registry and now has dropped .so domain name.
Although this was a momentary gap in the services being halted, Kickass Torrents have shifted to .to domain name.
Having said this, you need to protect your privacy and enhance the internet security levels. The best way to do this is through the use of vpn.
Torrent VPN Conclusion
To sum everything up, there are many different corporations and agencies stepping up their game to end P2P sharing and torrenting services. They would go to great lengths in tracking the users who are viewing content through infringing copyrights.
During this entire process, your privacy could be tampered. Such agencies would force ISPs to provide information about you; revealing your activity over the internet and perhaps sending a DCMA notice. This would put you in a precarious situation and you might be looking at possible jail time if got caught.
One of the best defenses against all such possible threats is using a virtual private network service. Our guide for the best VPN for torrenting will definitely help you in selecting the appropriate service. It will allow you to remain anonymous and become impermeable to all other threats.