Learn about why you get caught downloading movies and music via torrents.
Episode #4-25 released on March 9, 2014
The torrent, the brain child of Bram Cohen, allows for the anyone to publish any kind of file over the internet in a decentralized way, meaning that server space and bandwidth are of very little concern when it comes to torrents.
The torrent tracker is the most important part of being able to peer download any kind of file over the internet. Torrents get a bad rap, mostly because of what specific files people download without permission, but the protocol itself is entirely legal.
The torrent tracker itself is a server that allows for multiple peer downloaders to be able to connect to each other to share the desired file. It allows for easier NAT traversal, which could be nearly impossible for the majority of users, considering that most would lack the necessary knowledge to configure their routers to allow such connections without the aid of an external server to allow such connections to occur.
The torrent tracker, allows for the tracking of the individual available chunks of a torrent file by storing who has which chunk, and allowing them to receive the rest when available, and being able to offer those they already have to other peers missing those chunks.
In that way, the torrent tracker must actually record a few details about each of the peers attempting to download the torrent of interest. This is what big companies tend to us to identify you as a downloader, because in downloading the entirety of the file, you become a potential seeder for the torrent file itself.
Now, besides the issue of your IP address being recorded for big companies to get you. You can have a whole other host of issues awaiting you when using your own IP address to download files. For one, UPNP is normally not disabled, so your router can be expecting connections to your computer that would traditionally be stopped by the NAT firewall. You are basically open to various kinds of attacks while you are downloading a torrent, or seeding the torrent because UPNP allows for the torrent client to make exceptions in your firewall allowing for various ports to be open. Great for sharing content, bad for those who are of malicious nature.
While many projects like OneSwarm allow for privacy layers designed to protect your identity and computer, the best known way of protecting yourself is leech and leave from behind a VPN, while turning off such features like UPNP in your router to maintain the NAT features of your router. It will slow down the torrent for some users, but it will definitely make you more anonymous, and little more secure in the process.
The difference between using your own pure internet connection, and a connection over a VPN can be dramatically different. For starters, you won't be using your own IP address, therefore only the VPN address will appear in the torrent trackers logs. This eliminates some of the risk of being identified as a potential thief of ill gotten contents on the internet. The vast majority of VPNs do not keep permanent archives of users who have gotten access to their system for any reason, therefore, it is safe to safe that by the time most big companies request such information for them, the data no longer exists.
Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions