Have you ever wondered what your ISP sees when you download torrents? Or how it monitors them? One thing to know beforehand – your ISP does not monitor your download activities directly. But how does it know that you are torrenting? Is there a way to hide it?
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What your ISP sees when downloading torrents
ISPs do not usually monitor your downloads, however, they do have some sort of rules and algorithms to distinguish torrenting from regular traffic. Usually, those rules allow your ISP to see the port numbers, bandwidth used, IP addresses, and metadata. Once your ISP sees P2P traffic it can throttle your connection.
How does your ISP know you are Torrenting
Actually it’s not the ISP who directly monitors the files downloaded via torrents, but the media production companies who own the copyrights of the files you are trying to download. These torrent files are monitored by the automatic software that detects the user’s IP addresses and then reports them to the ISP.
Here’s how ISP catches your illegal downloads:
When you start downloading torrents you actually connect to a server called a Torrent Tracker. This server is responsible for managing torrent uploads/downloads and peers that connect or disconnect from that tracker. All the IP addresses that are connected to that torrent tracker are publicly visible.
Once your IP address is discovered the copyright holders inspect that address and can easily tell which ISP provider it belongs to. Then they inform the ISP that this particular IP address tried to download their file. ISP knows that this IP is assigned to you and sends you a threatening letter that you violated the copyrights while using their service.
From this point, you must hide your torrenting traffic to avoid further legal consequences. Depending on the country where you live the punishment for illegal torrenting varies and can be from just a legal warning, terminating your internet connection or huge lawsuits and fines.
A simple way to hide Torrenting from your ISP
Using a VPN for all torrenting activity is the best way to hide it from your ISP. It encrypts your connection from IPS and also prevents copyright holders from seeing that you download their files. A VPN changes your virtual location and uses its VPN server’s IP address to download torrents on your behalf.
Without a VPN you are directly connected to the peer network and your IP address is visible to the monitoring software. When you want to hide your torrenting completely you need to use a VPN. It will not only encrypt your traffic from ISP but also hide it from the copyright holders.
When a VPN is used it routes your traffic to a server and joins the peer network on your behalf. A VPN uses its own IP address instead of your real one so those who monitor can not tell that it was you who downloaded the files.
Here’s how to use a VPN for torrenting:
Download and install a VPN app (we recommend NordVPN)
Create an account and log in
Turn on Internet Kill-Switch in the settings
Start your torrents and download them safely
It does not matter if you use BitTorrent, uTorrent, or any other P2P file-sharing client, the copyright holders track the illegal downloads and always report to your ISP. To hide your IP address from the public torrent tracker you must always use a VPN. IT would hide not only your torrenting activities from ISP and media companies but also keep all your online browsing private and secure.
CyberWaters is a mixed crew of cyber security enthusiasts with a keen interested in data privacy, security and technology behind it. We provide cyber security related content and give advise on best practices and tools how to stay safe and secure online.