When you’re looking for a torrent, you typically head to a torrent site, right?
But wait a second… are those torrent sites actually safe? Or are they going to steal all your info and infect your computer with viruses?
The answer is somewhere in between. Keep reading for the details.
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Are Torrent Sites Safe? The Risks of Using Torrent Sites
There are a few different types of risks associated with torrent sites.
Torrent sites tend to be filled with ads, from the banners to pop-ups, since this is often one of the site owners’ main sources of income.
Unfortunately, these sites aren’t attracting Fortune 500 advertisers. Usually, their advertisers are a bit sketchier – and some of them actually want to infect your computer with malware.Which is why you should avoid clicking on ads you see on torrent sites. Or install an adblocker, as we’ll explain below. Or both.
Viruses in files
All kinds of goodies can be found in torrent files. But sometimes you find something you didn’t want hidden inside. Yes, we’re talking about viruses.
That being said, if you use a little common sense, it’s fairly easy to avoid them. We’ll provide some tips below.
As we’ve covered here on Cogipas many times, both your ISP and other parties like to snoop into your torrenting activity. This can lead to trouble, from warnings in the mail to more serious consequences, depending on what country you live in and what you’re caught doing.
How to Stay Safe when Using Torrent Sites
Okay, enough with the scary stuff. How exactly can you avoid these torrent site risks?
Install an adblocker
Ads and pop-ups aren’t just annoying; they can also be used as a way to infect your computer with viruses or redirect you to sketchy sites, which can steal your info.
Fortunately, browser-based adblockers are free and easy to install. We use uBlock Origin, which is available for both Firefox and Chrome.
Check out our guide for tips on installing – and further securing Firefox.
Download from reliable sources
The best way to stay safe when torrenting is to avoid sketchy sites and files in the first place. This includes:
- Using reputable torrent sites or private trackers
- Choosing files from well-known uploaders
- Reading the comments to see if there are any complaints
- Checking the file type
Read more about these steps and other ways to protect yourself when torrenting.
Use a VPN
Using a secure torrenting VPN won’t do much to protect you from viruses, but it will protect your downloading activity from your ISP and your IP from snoopers.
Our favorite torrenting VPN is PIA VPN, which provides top-notch protection without hurting your download speeds... or wallet.
Use an antivirus
Not only will a good antivirus warn you about downloading or installing potentially harmful files, it’ll also scan for and remove any that do slip through the cracks. It’s a great tool to have if you torrent a lot.
Are Torrent Sites Safe? Wrap-Up
There you have it, folks. We’ve covered the risks of torrent sites, which includes malicious ads, hidden viruses, and tracking. As well as some easy tips for staying safe.
To summarize: torrent sites can be safe if you use reputable sites and take precautions. But they can be unsafe if you use sketchy sites and don't protect yourself.
A little knowledge and preparation will go a long way towards keeping your computer virus free. Happy torrenting!