Max Eddy is a Software Analyst, taking a critical eye to the Android OS and security services. He's also PCMag's foremost authority on weather stations and digital scrapbooking software. He spends much of his time polishing his tinfoil hat and plumbing the depths of the Dark Web. Prior to PCMag, Max wrote for the International Digital Times, The... See Full Bio
Similar to the US, copyright trolls send threatening letters to torrenters after identifying their IP address. While we’re not legal experts in German law, the consensus of what to do if you receive a letter is also similar to the US: if it doesn’t identify you by name and doesn’t come directly from the police, ignore it and just let the statute of limitations period expire.
Flash your wifi router with a VPN-compatible firmware and configure the VPN on it. This is the most technically advanced option, so make sure you know what you’re doing. The process varies from router to router, and not all wifi routers are compatible with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. If you’re not comfortable with replacing the firmware on your home wifi router, you can opt to purchase a preconfigured VPN router from ExpressVPN.
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Even the services that do allow torrenting often have restrictions. Some, for example, may require that you only use BitTorrent when connected to specific VPN servers. NordVPN labels the servers where torrenting is acceptable. TorGuard VPN, on the other hand, does not make any distinction about user traffic, so you can torrent to your heart's content. Note that pretty much every VPN service that allows torrenting also explicitly forbids breaking copyright law, or otherwise abusing the service.
A proxy (like Private Internet Access) funnels traffic—in this case, just your BitTorrent traffic—through another server, so that the BitTorrent swarm will show an IP address from them instead of you. In this case, Private Internet Access’ proxy server is in the Netherlands. That way, those anti-piracy groups can’t contact your ISP, and your ISP has no cause to send you a harrowing letter.
All connections are securely encrypted, and you can even opt to obfuscate traffic using a special “Scramble” feature that disguises OpenVPN connections. DNS leak protection and a kill switch are built into the apps. StrongVPN has long been a favorite among users in China, and its recent upgrades make it appeal to a wider audience including torrenters.
Torrent websites and torrents themselves are havens for malware. Because torrents are uploaded by the community, they often go unchecked for viruses and malware. A case in early 2018 saw 400,000 users hit by a malware outbreak caused by a Russian torrenting client. Every time you download a torrent, it’s a good idea to scan it with good, up-to-date antivirus software. If the website you downloaded from has a comments section, other users might have already posted about potential threats. This is especially true for software and video games that contain a lot of files, making it easier to hide malicious files.
Online piracy laws are a little fuzzy in India. A slew of news reports from 2016 suggested that even viewing certain web pages or torrent files (not the copyrighted content itself) was enough to penalize netizens with heavy fines and jail time. This is not true, however; the rumor arose from a poorly-worded warning from Indian ISPs that appeared when users tried to access blocked sites.
I have used Ivacy for almost two years and just a couple of failures with their KILL SWITCH. The downloading of my data stopped….very nice. Unfortunately the uploading did not! This has happened numerous times and the last time I got the letter from Hollywood via my Internet provider. Something about a copyright infringement. This is the second one while using the Ivacy program. Various servers in numerous countries, yet I am getting the same IP address assigned to me when I hook up.