Top 5 Tips to Prevent Someone from Seeing You When Downloading Torrents

I'm not going to judge you. I know you're involved in file sharing, and if you're doing it correctly, you're already familiar with BitTorrent (or Usenet, in which case you're so “1337” you don't need my help). Don't feel bad: Studies have suggested that those who download large amounts of copyrighted data continue to contribute to the industry in a big way, some even proposing that this demographic is that of the industry. “major customers”.

Regardless of your reasons, stance, operating system, or client, there's no need to get caught. Of course, I can't guarantee this won't happen, but you can reduce the risk of a threatening card with a little common sense, patience, and foresight.

Install additional security

The first thing you'll want to do is cover as many bases as possible, and this is where PeerBlock comes in. We mentioned PeerGuardian Protect Your P2P Privacy With Peer Guardian 2 Protect Your P2P Privacy, but sadly that software is no longer maintained. Instead, the authors recommend that everyone switch to PeerBlock.

PeerBlock is a method of controlling who (and what) your computer talks to over the Internet. The software verifies incoming requests from known bad IP addresses, including those from anti-piracy groups. This software will help protect you, but only from known threats (which will keep you from being watertight).

For that final layer of security, then a VPN is the order of the day. By connecting to a virtual private network, all your Internet traffic (and downloaded torrent data) is routed through a private connection, making it harder for intruders to spy on you. There are tons of different VPN services out there, with clients for just about every operating system you can imagine (that's right, even your iPhone). We have 7 free tries here 7 Completely Free VPN Services to Protect Your Privacy 7 Completely Free VPN Services to Protect Your Privacy Is it possible to find a reliable and free VPN that protects your privacy? Take a look at these free VPN services. Read more.

Note: Free VPN services are notoriously touch sensitive. If you're really concerned about security, a subscription service will give you the speed, stability, and most of all, the security you want, at a cost of course.

Do not use public trackers

You are much more likely to get caught speeding in a busy, regularly policed area than on a quiet country road, and copyright enforcement is no different. Public BitTorrent sites like The Pirate Bay and Demonoid (which is practically public) may be packed with tasty torrents, but at what cost?

So where do you get your products from? Easy: The smallest, most privacy-savvy trackers you can walk into. If you are a member of any "closed" private trackers, invite-only private trackers or torrent centers that are clearly doing everything they can to avoid detection then use them. If the trackers you use offer advanced privacy settings, for example hiding upload/download amounts from the public then use them, use them!

Private trackers aren't always the Safest Places to be, and don't assume a tracker is “private” just because you have to sign in. Some sites require users to comply with requests and enforce strict ratio requirements (which everyone must adhere to). You can learn more about maintaining private tracker memberships in our tag article BitTorrent Tag: How to Avoid Getting Removed from Private Trackers BitTorrent Tag: How to Avoid Being Banned from Private Trackers Read More.

Encrypt torrent data

This is a pretty basic and obvious setting you'll find in your BitTorrent client: encrypt your data. Many torrent clients support protocol encryption, which encrypts data in an offer to reduce throttling and blocking of torrent data by ISPs. If you're looking to keep the powers that be far off your back, avoiding confrontations with your ISP is one way to go.

Do not download unpublished material

For some of you, this will be the hardest piece of advice to follow: If next week's budget blockbuster release is facing you with thousands of seeds, don't download it. Where else do you think the MPAA, RIAA and other copyright holders come together, taking down vulnerable targets?

Even if you buy all the stuff you download once you've tried the products, leave it alone. The “I wouldn't buy it anyway” defense won't rise either and you'll be caught with the thousands of other downloaders accused of copyright theft and possibly face a nasty fine and criminal record.

Put it this way: If you thought downloading copyrighted material was already risky, downloading unreleased movies, music, books, and games (especially from public torrent trackers) is complete nonsense. You have been warned.

Use a remote seedbox

A seedbox is a server with a torrent client that is used to download and upload files. Not only are they incredibly useful for serving private trackers and maintaining impeccable ratio, they also add an extra layer of separation between you and the torrent download.

With Internet connection speeds of 100 Mbit or more, large files can be downloaded (or uploaded) in record time. You can then connect to your box via your preferred method to collect your payload.

If you're serious about private sites, then a seed box probably makes a lot of sense. Seed boxes can be rented from various providers online, a quick search will get you where you need to be.


While you were viewing what you downloaded, you installed a VPN, blocked bad IP addresses, and generally secured your mailbox. Thought to check it out? Don't forget that schoolteachers, parents, siblings, or even a spouse might not pass, even if it's just because you're sucking up all the available bandwidth! Be careful out there. If you get a nasty notice and wonder what to do about it, then we have an article that might answer a few questions. This is exactly how to handle a copyright infringement notice.

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