What Are Torrenting/Torrents?

Torrenting has gained a significant amount of popularity recently. Torrents are a type of file transfer method that uses peer-to-peer technology where users can connect and share files together rather than retrieving it from a central location which can be slower due to distance latency and a number of other factors. So, in other words, every peer that is connected to the torrent can act as a mini-server which significantly reduces the load on the main server. About 3.35% of internet traffic is handled through a torrenting client called BitTorrent. This method is usually used to download large files or sometimes cracked files/software.

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To understand how torrents and torrenting actually works we need to know a few terminologies regarding torrents such as peers, seeders, indexers, tackers, leechers, and torrent clients. Peers are all users that are involved during the sharing process. They are referred to as peers because they are sharing the files with you. Seeders are users who are downloading a file from the torrent and simultaneously uploading it so others can use it at the same time. Indexers are certain servers that act as a search engine for torrent-based files. Trackers, act as a bridge between the peers so the packets can be directed from users to the user and help find other peers on a network to download the file(s) over. Leechers, are peers who download a file but do not upload back or stop the torrent as soon as the file is downloaded. This normally looked down upon because you are coming and taking and not giving back to the community. Lastly, Torrent Clients, to download any torrent you must have some sort of torrent client. A few popular ones are BitTorrent, and uTorrent. There are several others out there but the vastly used are the two mentioned above. The most popular question people ask when torrents or torrenting is mentioned is if the method is safe and sadly there really is no simple answer to this question.

What Are A Few Risks & Mitigations?

A few common risks to watch out for are Malware Infection, System Vulnerability Exploit, Data Breach, and the most feared Legal Issues. Most of these issues can be easily mitigated by using third-party software and being cautious of what you download. To explain, if you download keygens or hacked software you will have a higher risk of obtaining a virus as the hacked software is hacked and can easily contain a trojan or rootkit without you even knowing. Once that happens it can find system vulnerabilities, exploits, and gather your data and send it to a remote location.  As for legal issues, if you are not downloading anything illegal there is nothing to be afraid of. The next question is what makes something legal or illegal?

The Million Dollar Question Is It Legal?

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To put it simple and sweet torrenting and torrents are absolutely legal. However, that depends entirely on what is being torrented.  For example, if you own the movie “Cars” and would like to download a digital copy of the movie cars there is nothing illegal about it because you own the DVD or digital copy somewhere else. You are just downloading the movie for a different reason or for the convenience of playing it on a different device. However, if you take that movie and start copying it and selling it or redistributing it to others that is extremely illegal and is considered piracy. In that same respect if you go and download a movie, software, music, or anything else that is copywritten or has a monetary value if obtained without a torrent it would be considered illegal. Regardless if you are doing any sort of torrenting you should always use a VPN to keep yourself anonymous and protected security-wise.