BitTorrent was invented in 2001, and by 2009 it accounted for at least 43% of all traffic on the internet. People everywhere are using BitTorrent clients to exchange massive files, both legitimately and of dubious legality. Unfortunately, torrenting can expose your computer and network to hackers or other unsavory people unless you’re careful. That’s where a torrent proxy comes in.
Who Cares About Anonymity?
There are many reasons that you should care about your privacy when it comes to torrenting. When your IP address is exposed to the world, then you become vulnerable to attacks from hackers who would steal your bandwidth or otherwise disrupt your network. Some people may set up torrents for the express purpose of collecting IP addresses from unsuspecting users.
Additionally, internet service providers (ISPs) monitor all of your activity online. Not only is this an invasion of privacy, but they may penalize you unfairly. If you are found to be using a torrent service, legal or not, they may throttle your internet connection since torrenting is viewed as a bandwidth hog. When you torrent anonymously, neither of these threats is as imminent.
How Proxies Work
When you start a torrent, your computer is connected to the large “swarm” of people who are distributing the same file. Your IP address becomes available to many of the people downloading or uploading the file at the same time as you. Normally, this isn’t a problem, but if somebody decides that they want to hack into your network, the first piece of information they need is the IP address. Protecting this seemingly innocuous series of numbers is the biggest step to anonymity online.
Proxies essentially disguise this key piece of information, among other things. The way that they do this is by rerouting all traffic through the proxy’s IP address. Essentially, when the information gets sent to you through the torrent connection, it gets sent to the IP address of the server that hosts the proxy before it gets sent to you. This additional layer of protection is all that is needed to disguise your IP address and provide an anonymous torrent. It also has the added benefit of making it much harder to track your specific activity, so your ISP won’t know exactly what you’re doing all the time.
Anonymity Is Priceless
The stigma of torrenting is that much of the data that is exchanged is illegal due to copyright issues. Many people seek anonymity to avoid being sued or otherwise avoid the consequences of skirting copyright laws. However, torrenting is useful for more than stealing media. Any exchange of large files works best through torrents. While torrenting is more anonymous than many other solutions, it still has certain privacy problems.
That’s why you need a proxy: regardless of whether or not your torrent is legal, anonymity is still important. The extra level of security that a proxy provides will help to protect you from bandwidth theft, hackers, and unfair penalties from your ISP. There’s also the matter of protecting your privacy and your activities online. Privacy and anonymity are hard to come by today, and simply setting up a proxy can not only protect your network, but is also a big step towards truly anonymous internet usage.
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Dorian Travers is a freelance writer and blogger dedicated to keeping his readers informed on the latest updates in technology.