How to Download Torrent Files Safely | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

How to Download Torrent Files Safely

When downloading files, it’s difficult to know for sure whether or not they are safe. Files we receive via email or download from websites may contain viruses, Trojans, worms, or other malicious programs that can infect our computer system.

Data exchange using P2P protocols and torrent sites is hugely popular. Torrent trackers provide access to a vast number of books, movies, TV shows, software, and so on. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to securely download files from torrent trackers.

  1. Update your antivirus

Often (but not always) when downloading a dangerous file, an antivirus alerts you and blocks infected files. It is good to regularly update your antivirus signature database to stay on top of new malware outbreaks.

  1. Update your torrent client

Today, qBittorrent, ?Torrent, and Vuze are among the most popular programs for downloading torrents. Any of this software could potentially have security vulnerabilities. Even if you download safe files, your computer could become infected with malware through a vulnerability in your torrent client.

Software updates usually include patches for known security flaws, so next time you launch your torrent client, don’t forget to check that you have the latest version.

  1. Use a VPN service

When downloading a torrent file, your IP address is visible to any user who participates in the exchange of torrent files. This is necessary for the torrent client to connect to the computers of other users.

At the same time, this exposes your Internet activity to organizations that monitor traffic running to and from torrent trackers, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and agencies that enforce copyright laws. ISPs may slow down your Internet speed if it finds you are connecting to torrent sites.

To protect your privacy, you can connect to a reputable VPN service. When you launch a VPN connection, all your data in transit is end-to-end encrypted and secure from MITM attacks. Moreover, your real IP address is hidden. Just make sure to choose a VPN that has strong privacy features such as a true no-logs policy, a kill switch, and protection against leaks.

  1. Read the file description

Before going ahead and downloading a file, read all the information available to ensure it’s exactly what you are looking for. For example, don’t just read the file name, but look at the description as well. If the file description is very short or absent, this should raise flags right away.

  1. Note the number of seeds and leeches

When looking through available torrents, review the number of seeds (users who distribute the file) and leechers (users who download the file). The more seeds and leechers, the better, as this often indicates the safety of the file. It is unlikely that many different people will download files with viruses. Also, a large number of seeds and leechers increases the speed of downloading the file.

  1. Check the user who posted the file on the tracker

Some trackers mark the usernames of people who post secure files regularly with special signs or letters and allow other users to rate distributors. It’s safer to download files provided by users who have a high rating.

  1. Check the file size

Look out for files that are very large or very small. Of course, this depends on the type of file you are downloading. But you should be suspicious if, for example, an image file is several gigabytes in size or a long movie is just a few kilobytes.

  1. Read the comments

Pages with unsafe files often have many user comments indicating that this is the case. However, sometimes, antivirus software delivers a false result, and users write negative comments without thoroughly checking files. As such, you’ll need to employ some critical thinking here. For example, look for comments from high-ranking users or site administrators that say the file is okay.

Comments can also be useful for finding out information about installation or other types of problems and methods for solving them.

  1. Check the file contents

Once you click on the magnet link to download a torrent file, the torrent client launches and provides you with a confirmation window. It displays a list of files to be downloaded, including their names and extensions, for example, .doc, .iso, .exe. If the confirmation window contains files that you don’t want to download, uncheck the box next to each unwanted file.

  1. Be especially careful when downloading archives or executables

Archives (such as .rar and .zip files), as well as executables (such as .exe and .bat files) may be dangerous. If they are created with malicious intent, their launch may lead to the automatic installation of viruses or other malware.

  1. Scan downloaded files

It’s a good idea to get into the habit of scanning all files downloaded from torrent trackers with your antivirus or anti-malware software.