Torrents are fun no doubt, offering movies, TV/web series, music, books, software and game DLCs absolutely free. But beneath this free pool of content, hides a murky underbelly of the Internet, stuffed with malicious intentions, which you might still not be aware of.
Since its inception, Torrent has been getting a frown of disapproval from different organisations and content producers such as RIA and Sony Pictures but treasured by umpteen Internet users. But a pertinent question has arisen following the latest malware attacks via torrents where many users were victimised while trying to download the torrent file: how safe are you in the world of torrents.
When discussing safety, the first thing that comes to our mind is how legit it is to download torrents from the Internet. The answer could be both Yes and No. If you are downloading a copyright-protected content without having an appropriate license, then it’s entirely illegal. In other words, you don’t have to worry so long as you don’t download pirated content available through Torrent websites.
How do people get trapped?
Typically, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is aware of your activity, including illegal downloads. In the US and Europe, copyright holder-appointed agents are tasked with the responsibility. These agents contact such users via email or by calling them. The agents usually go through courts to seek customer details from the respective ISP. They threaten to sue the users for amounts often running into millions of dollars; in some cases, they opt for an out-of-court settlement for a reduced price.
In India, infringement of copyright could land the user in jail for a period ranging from six months to three years, along with a penalty that could be anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 200,000.
Type of copyrighted content
You might be wondering which kind of content download might land you in legal trouble. Here are decent examples to give you an idea:
- Any commercially released/ unreleased movie that you would otherwise buy online or at a brick-and-mortar store.
- A TV/web show that is available for sale in digital version and DVD.
- Software and games which are not free.
- A song or music album licensed to any individual or music distributor.
Are uTorrent, qBitTorrent and PirateBay illegal?
Vuze, qBitTorrent, uTorrent, Deluge and many such freely available Torrent tools that are used for downloading or uploading content through the Torrent protocol and are entirely legal to download. On the flip side, they can be used or usually used to distribute popular pirated content across the Internet. These tools are available on most of the popular operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and various distros of Linux and are malware-free.
You should always use torrent software paired with a VPN. A VPN usually masks your IP (Internet Protocol) address to the one used by many other users on the Internet and re-routes your Internet traffic through your preferred server. This process of masking offers you a layer of anonymity, keeping you more secure. Also, VPN makes your entire Internet traffic encrypted, preventing your ISP from accessing your data-consumption habit.
There are many VPN tools available on the Internet for free, but most of them are not safe enough as claimed. These VPNs can keep track of your IP address, your Internet history and even your content. Many of the VPNs allow stalkers to snoop into your data stored in your device and also let them use your Internet connection for executing malicious tasks. Some of them even sell your personal information, mostly to adware developers, and share your IP address to people with malicious intent. You may often experience slow browsing speed and unstable connection with data or time caps these free VPN services. Hence it is better to avoid free VPN services and instead use Tor, Peerblock or buy a paid VPN service.
Most of the torrent files are riddled with different sort of malware. Hence we recommend you to scan the file before opening it in your device. If you already have multi-layered security software in your system like K7 Total Protection, you are all sorted. The security suite makes sure the file doesn’t have any malware or links to download Trojans in your system.
Avoid downloading copyrighted materials such as books, movies, music, software, games, and so on. Your ISP is aware of all the files you download, and thus you might get sued with a copyright-infringement case.