Let’s face it. Using a torrent is now a fact of life. When you do this using an unprotected Internet connection, though, you can face a myriad of problems (more on this later). The bottom line is, it’s important that you remain undetected when you use a torrent.
But is there a way for you to do this?
As a matter of fact, there is. In this article, I will share with you the importance of VPN, and how you can employ it to use a torrent safely and anonymously. But first, let’s look at a brief definition.
What is VPN?
Simply put, a VPN is a virtual private network that allows you to create another secure connection with another network over the Internet. A VPN suitable for torrenting basically encrypts your Internet traffic so that no one can see what you’re doing online. It also masks your IP address to make it look like you’re accessing the Internet from a different location.
It can do this by implementing security protocols, or what Privacy End calls “a set of instructions for exchanging messages on a public network with proper assurance.” Every VPN protocol is unique since it offers distinct features. For instance, some VPN protocols prefer encryption and security over speed, while some, the other way around.
Before I explain why you need something that can do this, you need to know what P2P file-sharing is.
P2P file-sharing stands for peer-to-peer file-sharing. This is basically what happens when you download a torrent. Unlike in conventional file-sharing where you connect to a central server that stores the file to get the file (this is a slow process), the BitTorrent software opens the link for you by looking for the locations of the seeders sharing that file.
In short, in P2P sharing, you have several computers in the network, sometimes called a swarm, that break the files down into small bits and store them. The workload is distributed among members of this network, which makes P2P file-sharing, also called torrenting, a really fast way of file sharing.
But the use of P2P file-sharing carries risks with it.
For instance, since you have access to millions of computers at a time, you could mistakenly download malware, pirated or copyrighted material, or pornography. You can face charges for this even if you didn’t do anything wrong: All authorities need to do to identify you and haul you to court is pinpoint your IP address. Your monitored online activity can be used as “evidence.”
And then there’s your own security. Every BitTorrent user can see your IP address when you’re sharing a file. When that happens, you can be an easy target by trolls. Worse, hackers who can easily know your location and monitor your browsing activity can steal your personal details, blackmail you with them, or steal your identity.
This is why VPN is so important.
If no one knows what you’re doing online and where you are, you’re safe from hackers who, without VPN, would ideally see your IP address as a BitTorrent user. Your privacy is also not compromised because no one can monitor your online activity.
If you also mistakenly download copyrighted or other banned material, you can’t be charged because it’s impossible to pinpoint your exact location. If your VPN offers a 256-bit encryption, a strict no-logs policy and an automatic kill switch with all its apps, you can have the highest level of anonymity.
And then there’s the added benefit of being able to access sites that are for some reason, blocked in the country you’re based in. If you’re in country A that bans Hulu, for example, you can access Hulu with a good VPN even if you’re still in country A.
In this article, I explained to you what a VPN does. A VPN basically ensures that your Internet connection is secure when you’re torrenting or P2P sharing. P2P sharing is widely used because, unlike the conventional way, it is a fast way to transfer files.
You need a secure Internet connection with VPN because when you’re P2P sharing, many computers have access to yours. That means that anyone can just monitor what you’re doing online, and see where you’re typing from.
In short, you are prone to hackers and even authorities, who might use your online activity as “evidence” against you even when you’re not doing anything wrong.
James Waites is a technology specialist with a background in IT. He’s been working as an IT consultant for the last 10 years for Ftse 100 firms in the UK, and Fortune 500 companies in the US.