How To Download Safely With BittorrentBittorrent is now a widely used Peer-to-Peer system for people who like to download. However, with the increasing number of people using such services, we have seen an emergence of laws and regulations on copyright violations.
In any circumstances, you must not think for even one second that, just because you are using a peer-to-peer software, no one is spying on you... let's see some of the things you can do to protect yourself!
More and more people are now starting to discover what the DMCA is (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) because many of us get caught downloading files that are protected by copyrights (willingly or unwillingly, that is not the point).
This whole repression is getting freaky, but the good news is that there are things you can do to avoid getting an email from your ISP saying "I know what you are doing, so stop it!"
Choosing the right BT clientThere are countless Bittorrent clients to this day. "Clients" are basically the software that enable you to connect to the P2P network, namely Bittorrent in our case.
You can see a non-exhaustive list on Wikipedia: Comparison of Bittorrent Clients, which should give you an idea as to which one to choose in the thousands you can find online.
I personally recommend Transmission, which is compatible with every platform out there (Windows, Linux and Mac OS X). Because, besides being light-weight, lightning-fast, you can add block lists to the program...
Fakes, Viruses, Quality of Torrents3 words for you:
- User reviews
They usually give great feedback when it comes to the quality of the torrent, whether it is virus-infected or not, whether it is real or a fake... etc.
Comments are also a great way to see if a torrent is being watched. Most of the time a couple of users are going to give a warning: "received DMCA notice on this torrent" or something of the sort... which leads us to talk about block lists.
BlocklistsSome Torrent files are being watched by third-parties, whether they are law-enforcement, anti copyright violation associations, private investigators or other.
Here are some of the things they can find out about you:
- What file you downloaded
- The day and time of download
- The file size of your download
- The IP address from which you were downloading
- What server you downloaded from
- And many other details...
But those IP addresses that are just there to watch your activity and spy on you are usually known, and this is where block lists come in handy.
Transmission offers the possibility to block those IP addresses if you want. This means that, no matter what you download or upload, those IP addresses will not be able to connect to your computer.
Click image to enlarge
As you can see in the screenshot above, there are 1,977,855 blocked IP Adresses at this particular moment -- which is a lot! What is reassuring about this blocklist is that none of those [potentially dangerous] 1,977,855 IPs can spy on me because they cannot connect to me, and I cannot connect to them -- and the list grows bigger every week.
You can find those lists on websites such as http://iblocklist.com/ for free, and update them automatically every week or so.
The IP addresses contained in those lists are, of course, potential threats to your privacy, such as anti copyright violation associations, Microsoft and such... and those lists of IPs are updated on a regular basis so you can download with ease of mind.
For the record, the lists from iBlocklist.com can also be used with software such as PeerBlock, PeerGuardian linux, iplist, Vuze, uTorrent and, pfBlocker.
EncryptionNeedless to say, if you are offered to "prefer encrypted peers" like Transmission does, go ahead and click that...
Better yet, if you have the option, then "ignore unencrypted peers"!
Other Tricks to Download AnonymouslyThere are, as always, other options such as Proxy Servers or VPN Services to anonymize your connections...
If you happen to know any other tricks, please feel free to make suggestions in the comments below...