How to download torrents anonymously

Posted on 06/23/14 No Comments

Looking for anonymity while surfing the internet is like seeking the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack’. Internet was established to connect people together on a single platform and that is the very reason it is difficult to stay anonymous as each user is connected to the World Wide Web as a unique entity, the identity being established by a numerical figure known as the IP (Internet Protocol) address. The address is visible to the ISP and all connected computers which establish communication with it, and a third party can easily find the IP address by following simple procedures. A normal user of the internet is too preoccupied with one’s actual activity to bother with own, or another person’s IP address. It becomes pertinent, however, if someone wants to indulge in nefarious activities’ such as sending spam emails or pulling pranks on other, gullible net users or more seriously, indulge in illegal activities such as drug peddling, terrorism or violating law in any other manner. By the same coin, the lawmakers’ in each country are aware of the tendencies among some individuals’ to indulge in such socially negative activities, and they are ever vigilant and regularly monitor internet use in their respective countries.

However, seeking anonymity may be an innocuous tendency, as some persons may need to preserve their privacy while surfing, depending upon the nature of their activity on the internet, which may be highly confidential or personal in nature. Similarly lawmakers and well established business and other organizations’ may need to protect their privacy from online hackers by preserving the privacy of their IP addresses.

VPN (Virtual Private Networks) are a panacea for users who wish to download torrents anonymously. Tor, Hotspot Shield, Privoxy, Anonymizer and CyberGhost are some examples of free VPNs available on the net. The free versions however, are cumbersome and irritating as they slow down the surfing as well as downloading speed due to the inbuilt advertising bloatware. Serious torrent downloaders should therefore consider paying the registration fee for VPNs which will increase the download speed. Users can check for anonymity by visiting sites which identify one’s IP address and confirm that their real IP address is not showing. Another way to confirm is by visiting websites which normally do not display in one’s specific region or country due to restrictions imposed by the website owners or regional authorities. Access to such sites will confirm that the VPN is working.

VPNs however, restrict downloading some types of torrents and users may be able to download the ones which are in compressed Zip or Winrar formats only. Users of such VPNs are however, cautioned to download only those torrents’ which do not infringe copyrights as it is illegal to download copyright material. VPNs offer only superficial anonymity and the user can be tracked through one’s ISP if a regulatory authority or security agency feels the necessity to do so. VPNs employ their own servers for connecting to the internet and mask the user’s IP address by providing connection to their servers through a secure tunneling system. The servers used by VPN service providers do not log information of their clients and therefore one can securely download legal torrents. However, if a VPN provider is suspected of facilitating download of copyright material, it can be taken over by law enforcement agencies and the services terminated. Some Bit Torrent clients may bypass the VPN and connect directly through the available gateway to connect to peers. Therefore they do not ensure absolute anonymity as they continuously search for peers sharing a file, through their IP addresses. Others have built in utilities to connect anonymously through VPN networks.

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