Torrent and VPN: ultimate combo for secure downloads
Torrent and VPN is a surefire way to secure peer-to-peer sharing. In fact, torrenting remains one of the top VPN use cases today. And no wonder why — by its very nature, torrenting is a risky thing to do. Either it’s unwittingly downloading a malware-infected file or exposing your IP address — safety measures are necessary. So, what exact dangers lurk in peer-to-peer networking, and how can the best VPN for torrenting solve it?
Why is torrenting dangerous?
We can all agree — P2P networking is an efficient, fast, and easy way to share and download files online. Among other methods, it makes movies, music, games, or any multimedia content much more accessible. However, regular users who download, upload, or share their files maintain torrents themselves. Therefore, the security of this content depends on the community consensus. That makes torrenting a breeding ground for dangerous malware, intrusive trackers, and various other cyber threats.
Torrenting is merely a tool for downloading and is not illegal itself. However, if you’re downloading copyrighted material, it becomes illegal. Perhaps the harshest part of torrenting is that you can download illicit or pirated content without even knowing. For instance, the United States has “Copyright trolls” — companies that act on behalf of official movie studios and music labels. They trick unwitting users into downloading copyrighted material. Then, scammers gather the IPs of users and demand the court to disclose their private details. German users can get penalties of €1000 for downloading a single illegal file. Whereas in Japan, users can face up to 10 years in jail.
So, there are negative aspects and risks of downloading, uploading or sharing via torrents. Let’s break each risk down and show why torrent and VPN should be an inseparable combo.
Torrents have no anonymity. When you begin to download a file, you join a network of other ordinary computers like yours. Therefore, it does mean that you connect directly to everyone else using the same torrent. This exposes your IP address, and everyone can see what you share or download. Regular users can associate torrenting activities to an IP address only. However, your Internet Service Provider can tie it to your real identity.
Luckily, torrent VPN can mask your IP address by assigning you a new one. Also, VPN encrypts your traffic, meaning that no one can see what you download. So, your activities become anonymous.
Hacking and malware risks
Hiding malware inside torrent files is just about the easiest way to infect a vast number of downloaders. Hackers can take advantage of popular media content, which they know, users will download millions of times. Reportedly, the Game of Thrones carries the highest risk of containing malware in torrents. In 2018, malware-infected torrent files affected a total of 21,000 GoT fans.
Therefore, you need to take extra precautions. Make sure you don’t click on any suspicious links or ads. Always use antivirus to scan each file you download and ensure it’s malware-free. Finally, add an extra layer of security and use the VPN encryption for your Internet connection. With the best VPN for torrenting, you can shield your private data from any dangerous intruders.
Amongst legal troubles and hack threats, there’s Internet throttling. Many ISPs tend to minimize network capacities if they detect torrenting activities. One of the reasons is preventing users from downloading potentially illegal content. However, they can target and slow down any bandwidth-intensive connections — be it streaming, gaming, or file sharing. Why? Providing fast connection speeds to a vast amount of users simultaneously is extremely expensive.
Torrent VPN can be your countermeasure. ISPs control your bandwidth capacity because they can monitor your activities online. Also, to throttle your connection, they need to know your unique IP address. Well, VPN solves both problems. It anonymizes your IP and traffic, and your ISP can’t detect your P2P activities. So, they can’t limit your speeds when you use torrent and VPN.
What makes the best VPN for torrenting?
A good torrent VPN should be a combination of lightning performance and rock-solid security. It’s no secret that a VPN connection could contribute to slower download speeds. After all, your torrenting traffic travels through the VPN server before reaching you. However, a slight speed decrease certainly outweighs the fact that your ISP can track and throttle your connection. For the best results, you should pick VPN servers located closer to your physical location. If your data travels through the VPN servers nearby, you can expect the lowest ping and fastest speeds possible.
As for the rock-solid security, lookup for the strongest encryption protocols and extra features, like a kill switch. The latter prevents any possible leaks by blocking traffic in case the VPN connection disrupts. This ensures you’re not unknowingly torrenting while unprotected by a VPN.
And perhaps one of the most crucial factors of a transparent VPN service — zero-logs policy. Your VPN shouldn’t collect any data about you or your Internet use. For instance, Atlas VPN does not collect information that would allow tracing Internet usage on our servers to a particular person. Therefore, we do not store information, which could identify what you browse, view, or do online.
Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.