Is downloading and using files from torrents really harmful?

This might sound unbelievable at first, but the bitter truth is that the greed of torrents might risk your computer!

First of all let me ask you

Why do you depend on torrents for downloading stuff?

If you want a free and legal app, you would surely find it directly using a search engine. Right?

You want to download paid apps for free. Or you want a game which costs you something actually for free. You might even want your favourite movie (btw, there are other alternatives for movies, such as 123movies app)

Even if you use torrents legibly, they are still harmful!

I caught you this time! HAHAHA!

And you should know the fact that what you are doing here is ILLEGAL!

Are some ISPs mad to prevent you from downloading torrents if you use them for connecting to the world wide web?

Of course not!

They want to prevent illegal acts happening and that is the reason why they do it.

Now, you might think that

I agree with the fact that this is illegal, but how will it harm my computer?

There are three simple and plain reasons for it!

But before that, let me specify that torrents are not harmful, but the files attached to it might be!

Ok! Ok! I wouldn’t say more on introduction. Let’s get to the reasons!

1. Peer-to-Peer exchange system can bring in viruses

Torrents run on P2P exchange. The person who downloads a file becomes a LEECHER and after downloading he can become a SEEDER. Seeders upload the file while leechers download it from them.

As the seeders increase, the download speed increases as one can download bits of files from different sources!

Now you might wonder about the bad side!

Let me explain it through an answer to a related question at Yahoo! Answers.

 Torrent answer at Yahoo Answers
Got my point?
Let me say the same thing in my own words.
I already explained you the P2P system right?
If a seeder includes a virus in the main file it might come to your PC if you download that particular part from his device.
It is also possible that the creator of the torrent already included the virus in the files.
If you are thinking that viruses can be removed using an antivirus, let me tell you that modern viruses know how to deal with your antivirus. No antivirus guarentees 100% security!

2. Your computer can be hacked

When you download a torrent, your IP address can be seen by everyone.

If a hacker find your IP address and notices that your firewall is turned off, he can come into your PC and get all your data!

The hacker finds your private IP through your public one and then attempts to enter to your system. Wolaa! He then gets access to all your data.

Hackers sometimes even pay torrent uploaders for that!

The greed of getting an application worth $20 for free might risk all your important stuff.

Are you willing to give away your personal data, account info etc. like that?

Of course not!


3. You can get into legal trouble

We’ve already discussed that your IP is completely exposed while you download torrents.
Piracy - It's a crime

This is where the government steps in and wins!

Wondering how? Government officials sometimes keep track of torrent files with illegal content and find out who all are downloading that. They note your IP address and report it to your ISP. You then receive a notice from your ISP stating that you’ve been caught!

Remember, you won’t get another chance.

Thus, exposing your IP is equal to giving away your home address……

How to stay safe?

I am not saying that you shouldn’t download torrents. I am saying that you should go safe!
First of all, say no to illegal files. There will always be a risk of getting into legal issues!
There are many other precautions, such as downloading torrents from trusted and well-known websites, downloading only the wanted files from the torrent etc.
I don’t want to mention them right here, else the post might get boring for some. Just have a look at WikiHow’s post on downloading torrents safely

Final Words

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  1. There are some issues with this article.

    Point 1: Theoretically, yes, torrenting can bring in viruses. However, that is where the community really shines. The torrenting community is exceptionally vibrant in reporting any torrents that have many issues, including viruses. However, the community goes even further. Even if the torrent may not have viruses, it may get reported if the content does not match the description. Once reported, such torrents are classified as "bad." These "bad" torrents will almost immediately plummet in their activity (seeders + leechers), and the torrent will soon die. So, if you are reasonably sensible, you will never end up with viruses.

    Point 2: A simple firewall setting can prevent the potentiality of being hacked. An outgoing connection monitor such as Little Snitch can add another layer of protection if you are particularly concerned.

    Point 3: While many people torrent to get content for free, there are also many that actually pay for content but also torrent because of the horrendous restrictions on legal content delivery systems. There is a meme which shows how much stuff you are forced to go through before you can watch a movie, for example. The torrent of the movie lets you bypass all that, and go straight to the movie. Not to mention, regional restrictions. I moved to another country. And all my dvds/blurays do not work on the player I bought in this country. I don't think it's reasonable for them to expect me to pay all over again for that content. If the content producers and distributors make it easy to buy the content and the freedom to watch/use that content the way we customers please, torrenting would substantially reduce. Geographical restrictions in the age of the Internet is outdated, and needs to go. It's in their hands, now.

  2. As an author, I LIKE the fact that there are more karmic restrictions to downloading Torrents. So thank you, Yashraj!

  3. Don’t download anything to do with utorrents.
    My unfortunate experience: Just three days ago utorrents was unknown to me. I was at a mates place and he had it, explained what it was and showed me all the movies and games you could get amongst a host of other mouth watering files. No trouble, I’ve never had a virus and it perfectly legal he told this old pensioner.

    Went home, utorrent downloaded okay, went to ’10 best and safest torrents’. 10 mins later, I was talking to a very important person in the States. It’s totally illegal he informed BUT the next bit hurt. IT WILL COST YOU $US 1.000 for your computer to be repaired. You have picked up the RUSSIAN VIRUS and now have 2501, YES 2501, virus’s which has also attacked your own IP address. As I had said, ‘at that price I could buy a new nice laptop’ but he answered NO, as you carry your IP ADDRESS with you, so the problem will travel with you until cleaned.

    I now have no wife (just jocking!!) but I had to take the barrage she aimed in my direction.



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