Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teaching your bit torrent about the birds and the bees....

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am no Angel. I have downloaded things through Bit Torrent on a try before you buy basis. I hate being ripped off, and thats all the movie industry, music industry, and gaming industry seem to be interested in anymore.

However instead of adjusting their business models to adapt to the changing times, they have instead decided to lash out at their potential customers. They have been and are doing this with varying methods. But mostly they are just suing people for exorbitant amounts of money that come no where near the actual damages incurred. However that is a different rant for a different day.

This post is about protecting yourself while using bit torrent. There are several ways to do this with varying degrees of success. The best way of course is to just not download anything that will get you in a bad spot. But since when did any of us do the "best" thing?

The first thing is Peer Guardian. This is essentially a blacklist of known spy peers. Basically the bad guys on bit torrent trying to catch you doing bad. You can get it here. Peer Guardian keeps your bit torrent client from connecting to known spy peers. The lists are updated quite frequently and this is a very good tool to use. The only problem here is that it can never be 100%.

Next are Bit Torrent Proxies. These are services that charge you (usually via monthly fee) to direct all your bit torrent traffic through their servers. This basically makes it so anyone on the other side trying to find out who you are, only sees the BT proxies information. The down side here is usually a loss in speed. I have tried BTguard and can say that if I did see a speed hit, it's minimal, and well worth the added protection. It was also very easy to setup in my preferred Bit Torrent Client, uTorrent.

Another option is to stay with strictly private trackers. I am not going to name names here, however some trackers require registration and are slightly less likely to have spies.

There are several other ways to protect yourself however they are not typically as easy or effective as the ones above. Basically when it boils down to it, use common sense and caution when you download.

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