It seems like just about every company out there is claiming to be the best VPN for Torrenting in 2023.
But it’s quite possible that none of the big contenders should be making that claim.
A VPN might not be the right way to Torrent at all. We’re not suggesting that it’s wise to Torrent without any security and privacy measures. But the right answer for most Torrent users is going to be something more modern than the old concept of VPNs.
If not a VPN, what are you supposed to use instead? Well let’s cover why VPNs aren’t the best choice, then we’ll suggest an alternative.
Problems: IP Leaking, Fingerprinting, and Throttling
IP leaking is a serious concern for some VPNs. IP leaking happens when the VPN service accidentally (at least we assume it’s accidental in most cases) shares your actual IP address with the world.
A lot of VPN providers still don’t use Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) yet. They only support IPv4. So when they try to route IPv6 traffic, they act as a pass-through. The VPN doesn’t parse that traffic at all. So IPv6 requests can compromise your IPv4 address since it is included as part of legacy interpolation.
Another common VPN leak is when using WebRTC. WebRTC is part of the HTML5 standard. It allows services to search for the best possible routing information when streaming voice, video, and peer-to-peer services. It is also known to leak IP addresses.
Some VPNs are bad at handling link disruption leaks. This happens when the VPN loses connection for some reason, but it doesn’t stop you from transmitting data by using a killswitch. That data just keeps flowing over your normal connection, leaving you exposed.
Check out this link for a breakdown of typical IP leaking scenarios and tests to see just how severe these issues can be.
But perhaps the most important point, and one that VPNs do not address nearly enough: VPNs don’t stop browser and device fingerprinting. Browser fingerprinting computes your unique ID by comparing your system’s hardware, software, and firmware to a database of known systems. This method of covert identification is quickly becoming the most common way for users to be tracked online.
Fingerprinting methods work for more than just normal web browsers. Most web apps and programs that run in a browser shell are also vulnerable to fingerprinting.
Device fingerprinting is a lot like the browser version but uses other protocols. For example, connections that require a handshake or negotiation such as Bluetooth connections, ISP authentication, bandwidth sharing, guest networking, and wireless hotspots might have built-in device fingerprinting.
And if you think that VPNs will protect them against all bandwidth throttling, guess again. Anti-throttling measures only work if the ISP cares about packet types, rather than raw bandwidth usage. All ISPs can just look at raw data transfer records, and if you’re using too much, throttle you and claim they did it for ‘fair use’. Most ISP contracts will say that if you’re using an oddly high percentage of bandwidth, you can be throttled. No VPN can prevent ISP throttling based on bandwidth metrics. Anyone who says they can fool your ISP’s bit count is lying. They can rate limit you no matter what the content of those packets might be.
In countries without Net Neutrality laws, a VPN might help if they throttle specific kinds of traffic. By then you’re swapping round trip time for bandwidth… not a great trade.
If There Is No ‘Best VPN For Torrenting’ – What Do I Do?
We would suggest that you use dedicated privacy apps.
VPNs suck for privacy because they only hide your IP address. That’s not enough anymore. Browser fingerprinting is as much of a revolution for digital evidence as DNA was for physical evidence. If you get caught doing something that is in violation of local or international law, and they have a good set of browser fingerprints to match you to the device that was used… you’re in trouble.
Law enforcement officials and judges are all being taught about browser fingerprinting these days. If they don’t have all of the evidence they need, and you live in a country where prosecutions are staged, they can fake the fingerprinting evidence.
The major governments have been using browser fingerprinting methods for many years, but only recently has it been used by local law enforcement. VPNs can’t stop it. So what’s the alternative?
Using a privacy app that can stop IP leakage and browser fingerprinting is the answer. Something like Hoody, perhaps.
Hoody creates a new virtual machine for each browser tab and web app. So the fingerprint information is the VM’s, not yours. Every tab has its own context, so they can’t be cross-compared.
The Hoody app hides your IP address, fully and without leakage. It also looks for the fastest, least censored content available.
Hoody’s Torrent-specific features allow you to find even the most obscure files one at a time. It uses a fully encrypted, private network. It even caches relevant trackers for you, and searches for extra seeders when required.
VPNs just aren’t up to the standards of modern Internet forensics and tracking. They were originally used for corporate networking, not for privacy. A real privacy solution needs to be built from the ground up, not tacked onto a different network security solution.
That’s why exchanging VPNs for a true privacy app is inevitable for most users who actually need it. Over the next few years, court cases will be dominated by browser fingerprinting evidence. Law enforcement has caught up, and tracking technology is commonplace now. People will be arrested on the basis of browser fingerprints. It’s inevitable.
Yesterday’s protection simply isn’t good enough against the digital forensics that governments can bring to bear these days. The VPNs’ days are numbered. True privacy apps are the wave of the future.