Taking measures to protect your anonymity is very important when you use torrent applications. In order to download content without worrying about being monitored and putting your privacy at risk, there are a few things that you can do. In this guide, we’ll go through the steps to secure your torrent activities on Android.
Anonymous torrents – Why do you need to make your torrents anonymous on Android
When you download torrents anonymously, your identity and real location can’t be traced. Anonymity ensures that others can’t use the IP address in the torrent swarm to find out who you are. Unless you use a tool that hides your torrent IP address, your torrent activities won’t be anonymous. Android devices are very popular and they give us the possibility of completing many tasks while we are on the go. If you have mobile data, you have the chance to connect to the internet, even if there is no WiFi available. The problem is that what we do on our phones is likely to be monitored by surveillance agencies like the NSA.
In recent years, the extent of the monitoring programs carried out by government agencies and large companies has been revealed. Now we know that the NSA and mobile phone companies store our activities, calls, messages and data usage for months and sometimes, even for years. It is important to keep in mind that when you use your mobile data to connect to the internet, an IP address is assigned to your device. Whenever you change location, the IP address is updated and the data that is transmitted over that IP address can be traced back to your device.
When you share torrent files, your IP address can be seen by other torrent users and sometimes, there can be thousands of users in the same swarm. This is why hiding your real IP address from your ISP, torrent peers and anyone else is very important. The below steps will help you to keep your data protected and will enable you to enjoy torrents without compromising your privacy.
How to make your torrent activities anonymous
The main options when it comes to making your torrent downloads anonymous are proxy servers and VPNs. These technologies let you disguise your IP address so that it can’t be seen by your torrent peers. The advantage of a VPN is that it encrypts all your data, ensuring that not even your ISP can see it. Some VPN providers even include proxies as part of their service, which allows you to enjoy both options at the same time. Since a VPN makes your online traffic unavailable to third-parties thanks to the encryption applied, it is a more complete solution to keep your information protected.
The below VPN providers offer fast performance and some also have SOCKS5 proxy servers. In addition, they don’t keep logs of your online activities, which is why they are ideal for torrenting. If you want to enjoy the speed of a proxy, but also feel concerned about security, these are options worth considering.
ExpressVPN is known for its fast service and excellent software. You can connect to servers in over 90 countries and enjoy fantastic speeds when you download or stream content. ExpressVPN offers a smartDNS service and its customer support is remarkable. They don’t keep logs of your online activities.
Private Internet Access
PIA offers all the necessary features to enjoy security and online freedom and it is known for its affordability. For just $3.33 (when you get the yearly plan), you can enjoy good speeds, high encryption and advanced features like kill switch. PIA doesn’t keep logs and its service includes access to a proxy server in the Netherlands. Their Android app works very well and it makes things easy when you are downloading torrents on the go.
TorGuard has a proxy plan focused on torrenting and it supports over 5 anonymous proxy locations, allowing you to select the country you want to connect to in order to get an IP address from that location. TorGuard can also select the location automatically for you. If you pay for the proxy plan and the VPN, you can get 30% discount and enjoy the benefits of these two options. TorGuard has an easy to use and efficient Android VPN app as well.
Before we go through the process to protect your torrent downloads, let take a look at the torrent clients available for Android. It should be noted that there are standalone Android torrent apps that allow you to download torrents. They are a mobile version of the torrent clients that you use on your desktop and they offer the same functions. You can add, start, stop and download torrents. The torrents will be downloaded directly to your Android device and you can use your data plan or connect to a WiFi network. Some of the most popular options available are uTorrent, BitTorrent, Deluge and Flud.
Configuring your VPN
To connect to a VPN using your Android device, you can use an OpenVPN compatible app on Android 4.0 and above. Alternatively, you can opt for a manual set up using PPTP or L2TP. The first option is the most convenient since it allows you to switch between servers easily and it offers a higher level of encryption. You only need to download the Android app of your VPN provider and once you launch it, you can select the server you want to connect to. Once you establish a connection, all your traffic, including your torrent downloads will be secured.
The manual set up takes a bit longer but once it is done, you will be able to connect to the VPN with a single tap. This configuration can be more stable given the fact that it is done directly on the Android platform and doesn’t rely on a third-party app. However, it is important to keep in mind that PPTP and L2TP are not as secure as OpenVPN. You can find the instructions to set up the VPN manually on your Android device from the provider of your choice.
How to confirm that your VPN is keeping you protected
Once you are connected to the VPN, your torrent traffic should be secured but in order to verify that everything is working correctly, you can follow the below steps.
- First you need to find out what is your real IP address when using your Android device. You can go to http://whatismyipaddress.com, ipmonkey.com or any other websites that shows you your IP details.
- Write down your IP address and then connect to the VPN. Go back to whatismyipaddress.com or ipmonkey.com to check if the IP address has been changed. If the IP address is different to the one you have when you are not connected to the VPN, it means that the configuration was done correctly.