The boundaries of VPN use cases are continuously expanding. Today, VPNs are heavily used by fans of torrent trackers. A hidden IP address enables the user to avoid ISP tracking and keep scammers at bay.
Torrenters use a unique technology available to all ages and social statuses. P2P file-sharing offers a fast and convenient method to obtain books, movies, music, or software. Torrents also help people find content or products that were released many years ago and are no longer available in either a digital or an ordinary store.
BitTorrent technology is not illegal. Many people use torrent sites as a completely legal method of distributing their own original content, which they have every right to do. At the same time, in many countries, it is illegal to download and distribute copyrighted material, a practice known as piracy.
In my opinion, the biggest misconception regarding piracy is that it supposedly reduces the income of content producers. Piracy brings a lot of benefits to the creator of the digital content/products. Thanks to pirated content, a larger number of people will talk about the content, whether it is a game, a movie, or a TV show.
People who use pirated content usually do not have enough money to buy it. People who can pay for the product will buy it anyway. That “hype” raised by a wider audience will attract even more people, and incomes will grow.
I do not advocate piracy; I use only licensed software, but let me share with you an interesting case. My friend’s MS Office 365 got deactivated. He failed to update his bank card and pay in time. Every time my friend opens his Word application, he sees a reactivation alert message. Microsoft does not block my friend from using Office 365, although he is not paying for it.
Microsoft could easily find ways to block Word and prevent my friend from using it, but for some reason, they do not do it. Why? Maybe they are not interested in letting people go and switching to a competing product, for example, OpenOffice. Perhaps they still earn enough profit from people who do not pay by collecting their data. Again, these are my own speculations.
Becoming a part of our everyday life, albeit some legal issues, torrents do not cease to be fraught with several not quite obvious dangers. The most common tip that can be found on many websites is getting and enabling a VPN if you use torrents. The benefits of this are obvious: virtual private networks provide digital anonymity. Some VPN solutions may even be specifically designed for use by lovers of trackers.
IP address disclosure is the main threat coming from torrents
There are several risks of using torrents. I want to omit here dangers associated with computer viruses and infected files, hoping my readers have reliable antivirus software which they regularly update.
One of the biggest problems when using torrents is a potential fine or prosecution. The activity of Internet users is monitored in many countries, including in developed and developing countries, and of course, in totalitarian regimes. Internet providers are helping authorities do monitor users, and many ISPs provide user data to third parties or state bodies.
At the same time, ISPs may limit a user’s bandwidth if it notices a connection to a torrent tracker. In certain countries, for example, in Russia, most torrent sites are blocked.
Here are the principles of the functioning of P2P networks: no centralized data storage, all files that get distributed are located on the users’ computers. Thanks to IP addresses, this digital “identity card,” people who monitor the facts of copyright infringement send out legal notifications.
In the West, on a good day, a torrent lover can get a dozen of these notifications. By the way, this has become a huge niche for scammers and copyright trolls who threaten to initiate legal proceedings but offer the user to agree to an out-of-court agreement to be able to pay much less.
It is much worse when the sender of a legal notice is a government agency. The only adequate way out of the situation is using a VPN.
What can a VPN offer?
A VPN masks your IP address so that it appears you’re in a different city and country/. Technically, VPNs consist of servers located in various parts of the planet. VPN services for torrenting have thousands of servers in 50–100 countries.
To be sure a VPN does not leak any data, it is good if a VPN has a kill switch. This option prevents any data transfer in case of VPN connection loss. A true no-logs policy and protection against DNS and other leaks are also important. Finally, the ability to use strong encryption protocols is a must for a good VPN.