Let’s face it, the internet is not a safe place anymore. There are so many hackers, viruses, malware, and other harmful processes available on the Internet that can hurt you or your family. Anyone can steal your identity or send you malware which goes unnoticed until it is too late.
As a result, connecting to the Internet and downloading content is always a huge risk and downright scary. This is especially true if you are downloading a torrent file.
A torrent file can be downloaded by anyone since it is a part of a file-sharing service where everyone can use this free service. This P2P (peer-to-peer) service allows you to download files quickly and easily. However, there is no security or anonymity when you are downloading the files from this service. Any user can see the IP address that can easily be traced back to you. The IP address is a unique online identifier that will allow others to stalk your online presence and lets them know when you are downloading files from the torrent network.
So, how can you safely download files without compromising your identity? How can you ensure that you don’t end up downloading malicious content from the Internet?
History of BitTorrent Downloading
In the 1970s, the Bulletin Board System introduced the digital file-sharing movement that gained a lot of popularity. In this movement, the BBS asked the users to dial in with their modems and share the files with each other. Due to word-of-mouth, this system became quite popular among users.
After that, in the late 1970s, the Usenet further worked on the BBS system. They received the files from the users and then redistributed the file among other Usenet users. As a result, there were multiple copies of the files on a large scale for different projects.
Note: Did you know that Usenet was also used to begin the World Wide Web and Linux?
Further down the lane, in the 1990s, the Topsites became commonly used by the users. A user who wanted to share their product online would upload the new media on a release server and then create an announcement about that release. Then, the couriers who were connected to several other servers would spread the news about the new release.
Topsites used a reward system so whenever users uploaded new content, they would receive credits for it.
Next, there was Napster, Gnutella, and Kazaa who used the file-sharing processes to share the content among the masses. However, since they had a centrally located database or they focused too much on the corporate interest, their file-sharing systems weren’t successful in the long term.
Finally, it was Bram Cohen who changed the history of file sharing with his BitTorrent invention.
What is BitTorrent Downloading?
Cohen took the best features of the previous file-sharing inventions and came up with an easy-to-use and reliable file-sharing system. Similar to Usenet and Topsites, his file-sharing system broke the files into smaller chunks. And he ensured that the peer-to-peer sharing model is decentralized so that his file-sharing system doesn’t suffer the same fate as Napster’s.
Before BitTorrent was released, the File Transfer Protocol or FTP was used to upload or download the distributed files. However, sometimes when the server had too many requests to process or didn’t have sufficient bandwidth, it would lose its power instantly. A normal FTP protocol doesn’t allow the user to utilize their proper upload capacity when they are trying to download a file. Cohen wanted to utilize the complete upload capacity so that it would benefit the users.
So, his system worked on the basis that when users uploaded small bits of data and shared it with each other, a wider distribution would occur that would be scalable and effective in managing the costs.
Research Properly to Stay Safe
Since the invention of BitTorrent, downloading files has become safer and easier so users can conveniently share files. However, recently, there are more concerns about privacy and security when using the torrent network. There are several logs of the downloaded files that are available in large databases.
These logs contain the IP address of every user that has downloaded a torrent file which is a little unsafe. However, awareness is the first step in safer torrent downloading for you and your family. One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t end up getting hurt while downloading a torrent is to prepare how you can be safe while downloading. Research different torrent networks before you begin downloading torrent files.
Here are a few ways that you can research before downloading the content.
- Avoid using popular torrent networks such as The Pirate Bay. Usually, popular torrent networks are used by users as they offer faster downloads since there are a greater number of people uploading files on these networks. However, there are groups of people who watch these popular networks and will be able to track your torrent activities as well.
For example, there are a lot of media companies that keep an eye on these networks to see if their content is being pirated or not. So, if you download files from the network which were legal, you could still get sued by the companies as you will be seen as ‘