PeerBlock is a popular software used mainly by torrent users. These are users who try to hide their activity from government agencies and related organizations.
But does it work? Does it really provide anonymity? That’s what we are going to discuss in this post.
What is PeerBlock
In the first place, let’s see what exactly is this software. PeerBlock is a firewall that blocks IP addresses from connecting to your computer. The goal is that users can hide from entities that have a malicious intention, like spying on your activity.
It’s easy to understand that most PeerBlock users are people who want anonymity for their torrent downloads.
How does it work?
After installing the software, you can block any IP address you want, one by one. But normally, the users download lists of thousands of blocked IPs that are available online. After that, they upload these lists to PeerBlock.
Let’s see how an IP gets blocked and included in one of these lists. To make it easier, let’s describe the whole process in different steps:
- Step 1: A government agency called “Alpha” is monitoring the activity of users.
- Step 2: “Alpha” was identified as a malicious entity.
- Step 3: The IP of “Alpha” was added to a list of blocked IP addresses.
- Step 4: PeerBlock users can now download this new list of blocked IPs and update their software.
Does PeerBlock provide anonymity?
Although this kind of software is interesting, it has some weaknesses that ruin the principle of anonymity. After looking at the steps above, it’s clear that an IP is only blocked after being reported as malicious. Before it gets blocked, the entity is actually monitoring your activity.
In other words, this method is like putting a band-aid on a wound. The thing is that users would prefer to avoid that wound in the first place.
Entities can change their IP
Another big flaw is that the entities that are already blocked can change their IP address. This completely kills the IP blocking method. Let’s continue our example, with the next steps of the whole process:
Step 5: The agency “Alpha” realizes that their IP address is being blocked.
Step 6: “Alpha” changes to a new IP address and starts monitoring again.
Step 7: After some time, the new IP is also identified and blocked.
Step 8: “Alpha” changes to another new IP.
And so on…
What you have to keep in mind is that it’s very easy to change an IP address nowadays. To have a new IP, the “Alpha” agency in our example would just have to use a Virtual Private Network, or simply connect from a new location. By doing that, an entity can keep monitoring PeerBlock users without any problems.
Differences between an IP Blocker and a VPN
The safest way to use BitTorrent is still with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It performs in a completely different way than IP Blockers, such as PeerBlock. Here are the main differences between both types of software.
PeerBlock doesn't hide your IP
As you know, PeerBlock only blocks IP addresses. It doesn’t do anything to your own IP, like changing it or hiding it. When you start downloading a torrent, you will still be visible.
A VPN works in the opposite way. It doesn’t do anything to other IPs, but it will change yours. Everyone who tries to follow you will see a fake IP address that is located in a country of your choice. This is the best way to hide your identity.
An IP Blocker won't encrypt your traffic
Another advantage of the VPN is that it encrypts your Internet connection. That means that absolutely no one will see your activity, not even your Internet Service Provider.
Is it safer to use a VPN and Peerblock simultaneously?
We get this question from many of our readers. In our opinion, if you are using a VPN, then PeerBlock won’t bring any increase in security. If your connection is being encrypted and the visible IP is not your real one, then you don’t need to block any IP address.
A VPN alone is perfectly enough to provide you with anonymity. But you also have to keep in mind that there are many VPN providers, and they have different features. We recommend that you take your time selecting a VPN that allows torrenting in a safe way.
PeerBlock is definitely a software made with good intentions, no doubts about that. But unfortunately, good intentions are not enough. Anyone trying to track your activity will be able to bypass the level of security offered by an IP Blocker. And there’s not a lot of work in that process, changing the IP only takes a couple of clicks.
In the end, this software gives you a false sense of security, exposing your activity to everyone who attempts to see it. There are much safer solutions out there. We see a VPN as the best option to provide privacy for your downloads.