Downloading files is often considered to be a fairly straightforward process. However, there’s more than one way people can share digital files and assets. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that some are safer than others.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing is the process of accessing digital media such as books, movies, shows, and music over a decentralized sharing network. P2P networks connect users so they can download files directly from each other’s servers.
One way to do this is over the BitTorrent client uTorrent. Despite its usefulness, users should be extremely wary of the potential dangers of using uTorrent for downloading files. Consuming data from this service is likely to open you up to a plethora of issues and risks.
What Is uTorrent?
Originally called BitTorrent, uTorrent was developed in 2004 by Bram Cohen and sold a few years later to a company now called Rainberry, Inc.
uTorrent is a torrent client that operates on the BitTorrent protocol, open-source licensed software that enables data distribution over a network of users. Essentially, it manages the upload and download of files. The software was originally developed alongside the BitTorrent protocol.
Using uTorrent, users can torrent files by seeding, or uploading, them to others with the aid of specialized servers called trackers. Other BitTorrent clients include:
End users can easily download the torrent client of their choice to access shared files, but it’s important to be wary of illegal activity.
How Does uTorrent Work?
uTorrent requires a magnet link that points it to the file packets to be downloaded, or leeched, from the decentralized BitTorrent network. Download speeds can vary widely depending on your bandwidth availability and that of those providing the files.
uTorrent has a variety of options for customizing how it works. It has a scheduler to control what times it actively downloads and uploads files. You can also set the minimum and maximum bandwidth for files that are being seeded.
uTorrent can be used on various operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. However, there are many dangers to using uTorrent for illegally downloading content.
Has uTorrent Been Involved in Any Legal Trouble?
While uTorrent itself hasn’t had any legal trouble over the years, the BitTorrent protocol has generated its fair share of controversy. This has generally been associated with the distribution of copyrighted material without the owner’s consent. Both issuers and end users can be held liable for any files, links, or other information associated with illegally distributed content.
Despite it being backed by a legitimate business, there are many potential issues to be aware of when using uTorrent.
User privacy is a big concern with using a BitTorrent protocol such as uTorrent. Cyberattacks, data theft, and other forms of malicious activity often plague users, leaving them with no support options when attempting to deal with their problems and recoup their data.
This risk alone makes uTorrent a bad idea for those concerned about their privacy and digital safety.
Even if using a P2P network is legal in your country, chances are that laws are different wherever your data is coming from. This poses a legal risk due to different regional restrictions. The nature of uTorrent and other BitTorrent clients makes it difficult to know where data is coming from and whether it’s coming from a legitimate source. Thus, it’s best to completely avoid consuming content from this and other such providers.
Is uTorrent Safe?
Short answer: no. There are many potential dangers when using uTorrent to share files across a P2P network. Malware, tracking, and legal liabilities are all possibilities you face when using this type of protocol for obtaining content. Viruses can be embedded into .exe files that unsuspecting users give access to, so you may end up with a virus or something even worse.
ISPs, government actors, and malicious criminals can track your IP address over public BitTorrent networks. This leaves you vulnerable to having your data stolen as well as prosecution.
Many choose to torrent files over a virtual private network (VPN) for anonymity, but this costs money and poses its own security risks. Luckily, many other options exist when accessing digital content over the internet.
Download Content Safely
Safely streaming content is essentially impossible with software such as uTorrent. Even the best antivirus software can’t protect you if you download a malicious file, and potential legal liabilities make it an even bigger risk.
Instead, consider using 100% free and legal streaming services to access your content. TV, movies, and sports are all available from services such as Freevee, Kanopy, and Peacock and allow you to enjoy your content without fear. For those who want the latest content, paid streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are available on most modern devices. Not only is this a safer option, but it also gives you easily-accessible content. The best part of subscriptions is that they offer paid tiers with no ads! StreamSafely helps you consume all your favorite content without the hassle and danger of illegal sites. Learn where to watch the best and most popular content safely.