These days, with online threats coming from every direction, a secure browser is an important tool. Because some browsers are considered to be safe, what happens many times is that there is a false sense of security. Users will rely too much on them and think they will protect them of all online activities.
One of those scenarios is torrenting. There are still people downloading torrent files with a safe browser as their only tool of protection.
Why a Browser Isn’t Enough For Torrenting and P2P
The thing to remember is that the maximum a browser can do is always connected to browsing (hence the name). In other words, it can have some impact on the webpages you visit and how you see them.
Torrent downloads require Peer-to-Peer (P2P) connections, which is a very different world from browsing. You will be connected to other peers that can see your IP and, on top of that, your info is also stored in the tracker that connects all peers. Any entity trying to follow your activity through that BitTorrent tracker will see your IP address. After that, it’s easy to identify you.
What about the Incognito mode?
This is a subject that causes confusion because the name is misleading. The principle is exactly the same as we just described. The incognito mode (or private window) won’t protect you against entities trying to monitor you when you download torrent files. Actually, it doesn’t protect your identity even when you are browsing. Your ISP, agencies, and even the websites you visit can see you.
The only thing the private window does is preventing your browser from saving information. That can be useful if you are using a public computer. In that case, the person who will use the same computer after you won’t have access to your activity. That person won’t be able to see your online history, saved passwords and cookies because the browser didn’t save it. The same applies if you are going to use a computer of a friend, but you don’t want to leave your history or saving a password.
Just like before, the private window only affects your browsing. It doesn’t do anything when you download torrents. It does not hide you from hackers, ISPs, government entities, marketing agencies, copyright watchdogs, movie studios, or whoever may be trying to track you.
A VPN Is The Right Tool To Do It
In order to download torrents in a safe way, it’s mandatory to use a tool that replaces your real IP address by a different one. The most popular and efficient tool to do so is called a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It basically does two things, it replaces your IP address by another one and encrypts your Internet connection.
When you download with a VPN, there will still be an IP address saved in the tracker, but it will be the one from the VPN, not yours. Additionally, every piece of data entering and leaving your device is encrypted. So, no one knows about your online activity or what you are downloading.
But A Good Browser Is Still Important
A VPN is a great thing, but we do not mean that you should throw your secure browser away. A good browser can be a very powerful tool, especially when used with a VPN.
Think of the browser as the VPN’s Sidekick. The browser will increase your protection is some situations where the VPN can’t do much.
For example, when you visit a torrent site, the VPN has the job of downloading torrents anonymously. But the browser will take care of the browsing experience on the site where you are looking for torrent files to download. We have all seen that those sites are full of invasive popups and even tracking scripts that can be harmful. By blocking ads, scripts and other kinds of browsing threats, the browser is also playing a vital role.
A Word of Caution About “Browsers For Torrents”
Some browsers advertise themselves as being great to download torrents. In case you’ll come across something like that, remember that it’s not that simple.
Such browsers have a built-in torrent manager. Just imagine that a browser comes with a BitTorrent client included in its software. Sure, this will make things easier because you wouldn’t need to use a client, such as uTorrent, separately. But at the end of the day, it’s just a download manager. There is no increased security in those torrent oriented browsers, only user-friendliness.