One of the newest things I was introduced to in this pandemic is Korean dramas. Otherwise called K-dramas, I got hooked into it when I watched Kingdom, a historical drama that involved creatures that do not seem to die. History, zombies, and foreign cultures? Sign me up! I watched the show on Netflix and got so much into it that I asked for recommendations of other shows in a similar genre that I could watch. A friend gave me a name of a show that he claimed was on Netflix and so I opened my app in excitement, only to find out that the show was not available on Netflix USA, thank you geo-restrictions. I told my friend of my heartbreaking discovery and he told me to use a VPN to access it. I thought it would make sense to use a VPN, but then I would have to switch back and forth between using a VPM and not using one if I want access to content only available on Netflix USA. Ugh, that’s one hassle I don’t want to get involved in.

The helpful friend then volunteered to have his DVD set of the drama sent to me. The friend is in Japan, so that would take weeks before his DVDs would arrive here. So, finally, a bit frustrated with me, he told me to download the entire show by torrent.

Torrent? Isn’t that illegal? Don’t you get viruses of the deadliest kinds from downloading files through torrent? I have to educate myself, though, or else I may not be able to get hold of that show I desperately want to watch.


How Torrents Work

So, torrents are distributed through what is known as P2P or peer-to-peer file sharing. Since ideally, there are many people (peers) who will contribute to sharing that file with you, then you should be able to have the file downloaded faster.

Torrenting doesn’t depend on a centralized server for storing files. Instead, bits of data from individual large files are saved in participating computers (peers) in a network (swarm) to facilitate the file-sharing process. A P2P communication protocol like BitTorrent breaks down the files into pieces and moves them from uploaders (seeders) to downloaders (leechers) via a torrent client (a separate program that reads all the information in the .torrent file and connects users to exchange data).


Are Torrents Dangerous?

To casual web users like us, torrents have earned a reputation as dangerous because they are known to spread bad files like viruses. It is true that torrents are often used by cybercriminals like hackers as tools to infiltrate systems, so they are dangerous and extra care should be employed when using them.

One of the greatest dangers associated with torrenting relates to the integrity of the files being shared. As one of the most popular and widespread P2P sharing protocols, torrents are a big target for hackers, unscrupulous advertisers, and other parties looking to infect systems.


Have a Safe Time Torrenting

The thing about torrents is that there are actually legal ones that you can use without having to worry about getting your system infected by some virus. So, be on the side of caution and only use torrents that come from trusted sources.

The biggest thing you can do to keep yourself safe when using torrents is to only use legal torrents. It will be risky to download illegal content with torrents, especially if you are downloading a recent Hollywood movie, and particularly when that movie has been recently released on DVD or Bluray. These are the times that copyright holders will be watching most closely to look for people illegally sharing their content. You can skip this worry entirely by using legal torrents instead.


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