Piracy is ubiquitous; whether you support it or not, you might have probably pirated some content at a point in your life. Be it your favorite movie, music or a PC game, there are so many great things online that just aren’t available on mainstream platforms.
People use torrents and other sources to download content for many reasons. Popular movie streaming services are still not available in many countries; your favorite film or song may not be available on Spotify and that long lost book is found only in e-format on a random torrent website and you just can’t miss it can you?
When it has become inevitable, this full guide on pirating safely will ensure that you don’t get caught doing it, by taking some precautionary measures.
This article doesn’t intend to promote piracy, but when you really have to do it, avoid the copyright lawyers outright by being safe.
Tweak Settings in Your Torrent Client
Whether you are using BitTorrent or uTorrent, there should be limited security issues. Most torrent clients these days do have the feature to turn on encryption, so that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the government will not be able to identify the type of file you are downloading.
- Head to uTorrent’s options menu.
- Click on preferences and click Connection.
- Turn on proxy privacy settings to hide your identity.
Alternatively, you can also turn on encryption in BitTorrent to stop your ISP from spying into the content you download, even though they can identify that you have downloaded gigabytes of data every month.
Pay for a Reliable VPN
Virtual Private Network services are being offered for the cheapest possible price these days. If you do pirate a lot, using a VPN is the safest and most reliable method to safeguard yourself. You can know more about the most popular services in this detailed article.
The most popular VPN services that are free include Tunnel Bear and Hotspot Shield. Paid versions offered by NordVPN, IPVanish and ExpressVPN offer unlimited downloads and maximum speed while also safeguarding your personal identity.
Join Torrent Communities on Social Media
Reddit is a popular social media website where frequent torrent users have communities where they share direct links for movies, music, games and books. A direct link saves you the time spent clicking hundreds of links and advertisements before you finally identify the right source. It also avoids anyone from tracking your digital footprint if they try to.
That said, you should be mindful of what you’re clicking on—even they come through social media, some links may be malicious in nature. Don’t click on links if the post appears suspicious. Use your best judgement.
Always Download from Reliable Sources
While major torrent websites are already shutdown, there are few that are still alive and kicking. Each website specializes in specific content types and will save you from viruses, malware or the law enforcement because they are keen on masking their identity to survive.
YTS is great for movies and EZTV is popular for their television series. Similarly, Black Box Repack distributes PC game torrents.
For security purposes, you can always run the URLs of these sites through virus-checker engines such as VirusTotal to ensure they’re safe for use.
Use Direct Links
Torrenting by itself isn’t breaking the law and the copyright companies can’t directly sue you for streaming videos. The major flaw in torrents is that in the peer-to-peer network, you become an uploader when you download a file and then share it toother users.
You can avoid it by downloading files directly from websites that use a server setup. Find good ones such as MEGA or Zippyshare to download your files. However, there are usually bandwidth limits and controls on the number of files you could download when you are a free user.
Don’t Seed the Torrent After You Download Files
By default, most torrent clients are set to automatically upload/seed files once you finish downloading them.
While the P2P community encourages sharing a file, you can choose to safeguard yourself by not seeding it, which is the actual crime and istaken into account by law entities. They are more inclined to monitor people who seed a lot, especially old dead torrents as they are considered the source rather than downloaders.
Give Private Torrent Websites a Shot
There are private torrent websites that require you to register or get an invite from an existing member. While they are not easy to find, they are much safer and the hosting client provides additional private security and improved speeds exclusively for their members.
This guide aims to give you a couple of tips on how to pirate safely. Considering the cheap streaming services available now, you can possibly pay for them or share the cost with a friend to do it legally.
When you really do have to pirate, make sure to stick with trusted sources. You should also use a VPN, which will not only save you from the authorities, but also from potential malware attacks done through malicious torrents.
Sophie is a marketing specialist at Security Gladiators. A writer by day and a reader by night, she is specialized in tech and cybersecurity. When she is not behind the screen, Sophie can be found playing with her dog.