Is uTorrent Safe to Use for Us?

uTorrent - is it safe?

uTorrent has long been a go-to solution for those who enjoy P2P file sharing. With so much interesting content on the internet, sharing files among internet users has become a new norm. However, doing so does come at certain risks, as torrenting is not usually supported by ISPs (Internet Service Providers), or the authorities.

Of course, this does not mean that the use of uTorrent, or torrenting itself, is illegal, as a lot of it depends on the circumstances. We will explore this topic further in order to explain exactly when you can or can’t use uTorrent in a secure way.

What is uTorrent?

To put it simply, uTorrent is a proprietary adware BitTorrent client, that was developed by BitTorrent company, and as such, is fully owned by it. However, it is free to download and use, and it is estimated that it has around 150 million users around the world.

What is uTorrent?

Of course, due to the fact that it allows easy content sharing, some countries have banned it, such as China. The software was created to use minimal computer resources, but it still offers functionality similar to much larger BitTorrent clients. Because of this, it has received a lot of popularity over the years. It was originally developed back in 2005, meaning that it has been actively used on a daily basis for over 13 years now.

It still receives regular updates, and while it does display ads, it is mostly in an unaggressive way which makes it easy and enjoyable to use.

Is uTorrent Safe and Legality for Download Torrents?

This is one of the most common questions asked in regards to uTorrent, and torrenting itself. The answer is, unfortunately, complicated.

As you may know, sharing files online is not a crime. As an extent, the use of BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent is not considered criminal activity by itself. However, things get a bit more complicated when it comes to what files you are actually sharing.

More often than not, torrenting is connected to sharing copyrighted content, which is, in fact, illegal. At least, it is illegal if you do not own the rights to said content. Purchasing it for private use does not provide you with the right to sell it and make a profit. Sharing it is a bit more confusing, and the line between what is as is not allowed is blurry.

However, it is safe to assume that sharing any and all content that was not made free by its copyright owner is, in fact, illegal. With that in mind, sharing such files via torrent is a criminal activity, and you can get in trouble with the law if you are caught torrenting.

Another unfortunate issue is the fact that torrenting websites are often filled with malware, often posing as ads, or hiding within torrenting links. Clicking on such ads or links might lead to your computer getting infected, which can be a big problem. Now, uTorrent itself is safe and legal to be used. However, as mentioned, the circumstances of its use are a more complex issue.

What are the consequences of getting caught using uTorrent?

As we have explained before, the use of uTorrent itself will not get you into trouble. However, you should be worried if you choose to use it for downloading and sharing copyrighted content.

Most people tend to visit various torrenting websites, such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG, Torrentking, 1337x, LimeTorrents, YIFY, Torlock, and many, many others. However, these sites are often connected to online piracy, and as such, they can be difficult to reach as ISPs tend to block them.

If you do reach one and start downloading a torrent, you should be aware of the fact that you might get caught by copyright owners, copyright trolls, or even your ISP itself, as all of them tend to oversee torrenting activity. If you do get caught, the chances of getting punished in some way are extremely likely.

The best case scenario is your ISP catching you, which may result in throttling, or a warning to stop such activities, or else. If you get caught by the copyright owner, you may end up being sued, having to pay a large fine, or even looking at jail time, depending on your location. Then, there is a possibility of copyright trolls catching you, which are sometimes in league with copyright owners, and sometimes they act as free agents.

Copyright trolls can be unpredictable, and they can either send you a warning, a legal letter, or demand payment for your actions.

The fact is that a lot of it depends on the situation, and you may torrent for years without any issues, or you may get caught on your first attempt — there are no rules. The best thing to do is to make sure that you are torrenting safely and to take precautions to avoid getting caught.

The Best Way to Safely Use uTorrent

Now, when it comes to using uTorrent safely, there are a few methods of doing this. Some people may suggest using a proxy in combination with your uTorrent, but that is far from being the best way of going about the issue. Proxies are good for allowing access to blocked, restricted, or censored content, but they do not provide any real protection.

It is true that, when you use torrents, your IP address gets publicly displayed, and hiding it with a proxy might help you out a bit. However, this is only a surface solution, and you can still get caught by your ISP or someone with a bit of tech knowledge.

The best way to use uTorrent in a safe way is to combine it with a VPN.

1. VPN

VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are the technology used for using the web in a safe, secure, private, and anonymous way. They offer numerous security features, such as security protocols that hide your traffic; an encryption that makes it unreadable in the event someone gets their hands on it; and large server networks which allow you to bypass censorship and restrictions. Server networks are a great way to hide your location, as you can connect to many different servers worldwide.

Doing so grants you a new IP address, which is different from your original one. The new IP address would indicate at a different location, a different ISP provider, and more, thus allowing you to cover your online tracks. As for encryption and security protocols, they can hide your online actions from anyone, including your internet provider. That way, your actions will only be known to you, and no one else, meaning that you can pretty much do anything you want without anyone knowing about it.

You can use the VPN to protect your computer by using a VPN app on it, or you can buy a VPN router (or configure one yourself) that will protect your entire internet access, including every device. Of course, you can also download protocols yourself, and use them in combination with uTorrent alone, although that will only partially hide your traffic, while your IP will still be exposed.

There are many possibilities, with router configuration or VPN app usage being the best ones. The easiest way to be safe is just to download the VPN app. It requires no technical knowledge, and if you have ever downloaded any kind of app in your life — you will quickly find your way around it. Most of it is automatic, and it is a perfect solution, even for beginners.

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2. Use only trusted sites

If you are about to download a torrent file, do it out from a trusted resource. Also, read the
comments on the file. Very often, users who fall for a bait warn of an unsafe file in the comments.

3. Use Antivirus Software

A good antivirus will protect your computer from torrent files with malicious codes. Be especially
careful when downloading archives (rar / zip files) and EXE files. You can`t check the contents of
the archive until it is downloaded. But at the same time the virus from the archive can already
infect the system. Archives are used in cases where the torrent contains many small files, or in
order to reduce the size of the torrent. Files with the extension .exe are dangerous because their
launch leads to the automatic installation of viruses and trojans. Therefore we recommend the
anti-virus scan all files downloaded from torrent trackers.

4. Turn on the Firewall

Firewall provides a barrier between the network and the computer, in other words it`s a filter. This
program monitors and analyzes computer connections, makes a decision whether to allow this or
that connection or not. Firewall skips only what user has allowed. It is clear that no one can give an
absolute guarantee, but if someone tries to hack your computer, the firewall will be a real
obstacle.

Turn on the Firewall

As we said in this article, to protect your data from hacking, always use a firewall. This is especially
necessary if you are connecting to the public Wi-Fi.

5. Seeders & Leechers

Look for torrents by the number of seeders (users who distribute the file) and leechers (users who
download the file). The more seeds and leechers, the better, since this may indicate the security of
the file (no one distributes or downloads files with viruses). Also a large number of seeders and
leechers increase the speed of downloading the file.

6. Profile Authority

Check the person who posted the file on the tracker. Some trackers, such as The Pirate Bay, mark users who share safe files with special icons, which allows other users to rate the distributor. For example, games on Pirate Bay mainly distributed by users of SKIDROW or [Dopeman], who
have a high rating for placing safe and new files.

Which is Better to Choose — Streaming Sites or Torrenting?

Some people rather enjoy streaming content online, instead of having to download them to their computer. That is, of course, always a possibility. However, it should be noted that it has its own issues. Streaming services (like: Putlocker, Xmovies8, Couchtuner etc.) are as illegal as torrenting when it comes to copyrighted content that the service does not own.

Streaming Sites or Torrenting - Which is Safer

In both cases, you could get in trouble if you choose to use them without protection. Additionally, streaming sites are often full of malware, just like torrenting sites. In some cases, torrenting sites allow you to torrent OR stream content, all in the same place. The two are very close, and you are the one who gets to choose what to do.

In terms of what is better — the choice is yours. Streaming content online is more practical, as you can start right away. Meanwhile, torrenting allows you to download content and enjoy it later, with or without an internet connection.

Streaming content online will require a decent internet speed, which can be slightly slower if you use a VPN. If you don’t however, your ISP might decide to respond by throttling, and the same is true for torrenting. The quality of the video can be great in both cases, so there is really only the matter of whether you need to watch the content immediately, or if you are willing to wait, that you need to consider. In both cases, you have to use VPNs in order to stay safe.

Conclusion

Using uTorrent for downloading any type of content, from e-books to software, has been a popular way of obtaining and sharing files for over a decade. However, it can lead to trouble if you do it without protection.

ISPs and copyright owners will try to hunt you down and punish you if they think what you are doing is illegal, which mostly means that downloading copyrighted content is a big issue. While doing so is not recommended, the decision to do the right thing is up to you. We can, however, advise you to use a VPN in order to protect yourself, and stay safe during your online and torrenting sessions.

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Markus Clark

My name is Markus Clark and I'm VPN, Torrent and Internet Security specialist. I'm fond of programming languages, studying new technologies. Also I worked as a technical engineer, and now I am blogger.
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Harold

For me utorrent safe. I always use VPN when I go to third-party resources and download torrent files from there. Thanks for the article, very informative!