Chinese Association of Idaho State University (CAISU)
How to Safely Download Torrents?
When we download torrents, we not only care about download speed but also security and legal issues. Data breaches happen from time to time, and overseas students are often arrested by the police for using P2P download tools. Not to mention the security and legal issues, we all have times when we want to secretly download something. This article is intended to give you a clear understanding of the risks involved in downloading torrents and to teach you how to secure torrent downloads.
We are always monitored by someone else. It is good to monitor what you download to better guarantee national sovereignty and safeguard personal life and property. Whether it interferes with your privacy depends on what the data is used for. If your data accounts for only a small fraction of all data collected for big data analysis, it does not harm your privacy.
However, if your data is used to draw a user image and disclosed to others, there is no doubt that your privacy is at risk. You should feel free to take action to defend your rights and interests.
The risks involved in downloading torrents
Child pornography is strictly prohibited in most countries, such as the United States. Downloading copyrighted resources is also illegal. In most countries, copyright owners even hire “copyright trolls”, law firms that handle copyright issues, to work with network operators to gather information on who is downloading and uploading resources. Once they’ve collected much information, they will file a lawsuit against these torrent users.
Besides monitoring, you may also experience phishing attacks while downloading torrents. Due to the nature of torrents, it is difficult for others to change the files you download. So malicious attackers target the most vulnerable part – the torrent user.
To give you some examples, you may download a file and find out that no program can open it. In the meanwhile, you download a program called “Please install this dedicated decoder to open the file”. Programs are renamed popular players or software. You may also download an encrypted RAR file with a text attached asking you to find out the password from a specific site. These are common phishing traps that a lot of users fall into every day.
How to secure torrent downloads?
Torrent downloads can be used for many purposes, from game updates to massive data exchange for open searches and learning purposes. Thus, it is difficult and impossible to block torrent downloads. To avoid legal problems with torrent downloads, you should pay attention to the keywords – copy and distribute. Operators also tend to focus on upload traffic rather than download traffic.
As long as you follow the tips below, you can safely enjoy the convenience of using torrents.
Download legal resources
The safest way to use torrents is to download legal material such as non-copyrighted resources or open-source systems.
Avoid downloading torrents on public WiFi
Although it is the most common advice, it works. We don’t suggest you use torrents on school and corporate WLANs, especially in Japan or the US, where schools and companies enforce strict traffic controls. With “upload as you download”, you can easily get arrested by the police for infringement of copyright. In contrast, private networks are much safer. Because you have more control over your data on your private network. Many people choose to download torrents via private WiFi.
In addition, all public free WiFi hotspots are unsecured. Even if the owner of the WLAN is not malicious, others with malicious intent can execute a man-in-the-middle attack on you.
If you have no choice but to connect to a public wireless network, you should use a program that protects you from man-in-the-middle attacks or a .
Watch out for abnormal changes in Internet speed and WiFi
Internet speed will slow down considerably if your device is attacked by the man in the middle, as all requests have an extra processing step. When we surf the Internet, Internet speed can suddenly get slow. If you run defense software and the network speed seems to be getting faster, there might be someone on the network monitoring your device.
When you keep disconnecting from and reconnecting the WiFi or all your nearby open WiFi is unavailable and only suspicious WiFi is available to you, you should also be careful. If that’s the case, you should change or hide the name and password of your private WiFi network. If the problem is solved by following the above tip, there is probably a malicious person nearby. You should pay attention to malicious attacks on WiFi, especially in public places.
Avoid too much Internet traffic
Most network operators do not waste time and resources to determine what is being downloaded by each user. They only check if you have downloaded illegal files when you are downloading large files. If you have been repeatedly warned by network operators, your personal information is likely to be forwarded to the copyright owners.
Try to limit the upload
Network operators are stricter with upload than download. If you violate the law, a law firm hired by the copyright owner will file a class-action lawsuit against all users who violate the law. And the operator will provide relevant information.
Limiting the upload slows down the download speed because your download speed depends on the upload speed. Another thing you can barely notice is that many video streaming apps (especially Chinese video streaming apps) enable P2P file sharing by default to reduce server load. Please adjust relevant settings before using these clients.
Download torrents via a virtual private network
Last but not least, a VPN is a great way to play it safe when downloading torrents. Because it establishes an encrypted tunnel between you and the VPN server to prevent your torrent downloads from being monitored. It protects you from the potential risks of torrenting.