We all love free stuff and want stuff free all the time. However, there are annoying copyright laws that you could get fined for breaking if your ISP snitches on you. There are also people who spy on your torrenting and will report your illicit activity. You're not going to stop looking for free stuff, so I'm going to show you how you can safely and anonymously pirate software and media.
Step 1 — Get a VPN
I wrote an article recently about how to stay anonymous online and those concepts remain the same for piracy. I've linked the article at the end of this section. As I stated in my previous article: VPNs are simple to setup, cost-effective and provide reasonably good speeds. The problem with VPNs is that they are reliant on promises and reputation. There is no way to tell if your VPN is spying on you or will cooperate with law enforcement. Fortunately, your country's government does not have jurisdiction in all countries, and your data might be in a country they can't reach. So, you should connect to different servers worldwide. There is also the more technical option, SOCKS proxies. I will write an in-depth article on SOCKS proxies in the future, but until then I encourage you to use a VPN.
Anonymity Online, Top 10 Steps — https://thedailyshitter.com/anonymousonline-10practices/
Step 2 — Setup a secure environment
There is no easier way to get your computer infected than downloading lots of files from shady places. Downloading online is usually safe, but when you are downloading from shady sites, you are always at risk from infected files or drive-by downloads from the sites themselves. Set up a VirtualBox VM, no exceptions.
Windows 10 VMs are very slow usually and Windows has the most malware written for it—being the most popular consumer operating system. Get yourself a Linux distro. Ubuntu is the simplest, so if you're just getting started grab a copy. Ubuntu isn't perfect but it doesn't have as steep of a learning curve as the more advanced distros. Learn some basic commands and learn to navigate and manage files, it really does make your life easier. An article on VirtualBox tips will be coming out soon, stay tuned.
Step 3 — Download a BitTorrent client
If you're not an experienced torrenter, you probably have already downloaded μTorrent and use that. I'm here to tell you that μTorrent is horrible. The μTorrent client includes adware and other potentially unwanted programs that could compromise your privacy as well as provide an annoyance. At one time, they even included LiteCoin miner software. Uninstall it if you have it and never look back. There are many free, open-source and adware free BitTorrent clients such as: Transmission, qBittorrent, rTorrent (incredibly popular on Linux).
Why have I made such a big deal about open source software lately? Open source clients are much more transparent and secure, you can check their source code if you need clearance on what is included. You also have the option to contribute if you'd like to fix something you don't like or add something you would like. The authors of such software often use what they have written, so they want the experience to be safe as well! I recommend qBittorrent because of my years of appreciation for this client.
rTorrent — https://github.com/rakshasa/rtorrent
qBittorrent — https://www.qbittorrent.org
Transmission — https://transmissionbt.com
Step 4 — Find Torrents
Once you have your client ready, you now need files to torrent. The Pirate Bay is a website that allows users to exchange torrent files and magnet links built on top of the BitTorrent protocol. Though extremely popular, downloads from The Pirate Bay often contain PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) or even malware. It is absolutely crucial that you scan every file you download with something like VirusTotal—this applies to any shady site you are downloading content from.
The great thing about VirusTotal is that if a previously unknown sample has been uploaded, a record is kept and will be identified more easily by future scanners of similarly infected files. Scanning files does not just benefit you, but all users of the free online service.
When you are grabbing a magnet link, downloading a torrent file, or whatever else, please be sure to check that your magnet link, your torrent file and your downloaded files have not been tampered. You can verify files by checking the checksums of downloaded files. If don't know how to do this and have no idea of what I'm talking about, keep reading—if you do, you can skip.
Checksums are a unique hash generated based on the contents of the file in question. Changing one character in a file can generate a drastically different hash. These hashes are commonly posted either on the site you downloaded the file from or are present in the magnet links you obtain (usually SHA-1 hashes). Checksums ensure that you recieved the same file you were promised. If your torrent client doesn't automatically verify checksums; you can check your file's checksum from your terminal. A video on how to do this is linked below.
There are also TOR hidden services to download torrent files. It would be a waste of time to list onion links to torrent sites on this post. Hidden services sometimes don't stay up for long either because they are seized or because they are only active during certain hours during the night. What I will do is link you to the Uncensored Hidden Wiki and you can have a look for yourself.
Uncensored Hidden Wiki — http://kpvz7vokigja2k5x.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
Once you have your torrent files, you can easily use your BitTorrent client to download the media you want.
Getting exactly what you want.
The BitTorrent network is not the only place you should be looking for files. There are many active Peer-to-peer file sharing networks that have been running for years. If you can't find what you want in one place, check another. Many of the clients for these networks are for Windows and I've just told you to download Linux. You can use WINE to run Windows applications on any UNIX-like operating system if they are not compatible. Being able to run programs likes this opens up a whole new world of Linux usage for typical Windows users. WINE is free and open source as well.
WINE — https://www.winehq.org
Don't torrent over TOR.
Given the limited bandwidth of the TOR network, if too many people request the same file, the network will oversaturate and grind to a standstill. Some BitTorrent clients are not efficient over Tor, as they do not route all traffic through Tor (eg. UDP). While you are using BitTorrent over Tor, some users may spy on you and send a complaint to the Tor exit operator. This makes life harder for the TOR exit operator; since your copyright-infringing content passed through their hands and they are now liable.
"Torrent file-sharing applications have been observed to ignore proxy settings and make direct connections even when they are told to use Tor. Even if your torrent application connects only through Tor, you will often send out your real IP address in the tracker GET request, because that's how torrents work. Not only do you de-anonymize your torrent traffic and your other simultaneous Tor web traffic this way, you also slow down the entire Tor network for everyone else." — said one concerned Redditor.
Though it's fine to download torrent files from TOR hidden services, you shouldn't torrent over TOR. Lesson learned.
Do Torrent over P2P Darknets.
There are other Darknets you can use that encourage torrenting such as I2P—given their peer-to-peer nature. I2P is a peer-to-peer alternative to TOR that uses a routing technique similar to Onion Routing called Garlic Routing. Instead of Hidden Services, you have eepsites. Torrenting over I2P brings you more privacy and security than just using a VPN, though it is painfully slow. You can expect speeds of about 120 KB/sec—a fraction of the bandwidth you'd get torrenting on the clearnet. The price for anonymity is inconvenience and much slower network speeds.
eMule is a free P2P file sharing client for finding files on the eDonkey and Kad networks. Users of eMule usually search for extremely rare content according to Wikipedia. Though as a former user, I can testify this is not entirely true. Yes, you can find some really rare content. However, you can also find popular games, comics, TV shows. If you're interested in finding some rare anime or other Japanese content (if that's your thing) not available in your country, you might be interested in software like Perfect Dark. Thought I recommend staying within the more widely known file-sharing networks.
I hope you now have a lot more information to work with when want to you download files and stay anonymous while doing it. Please read my previous article on staying anonymous online for beginners and I'm sure you'll be enjoying your free content very soon with (almost) nothing to worry about. This only a brief introduction to privacy and sites for pirating. There is much more to learn and I'm happy to teach you. If you liked this article, make sure to subscribe to The Daily Shitter for more articles just like this from me. Happy hacking.