Ever since the emergence of Napster, illegal downloads seem to have become synonymous with people who use the internet. As soon as word “got out” that you could get free films and free music from simply searching, clicking and downloading from such torrent sites as Pirate Bay and Bit Torrent, the illegal download trend spread worldwide.
However, despite the seemingly obvious benefits of free software, movies and music, the illegal download is actually riddled with danger. First and foremost, it’s illegal. By downloading a torrent from torrent sites without paying for it when you should do, no matter what type of file it is, you are performing an illegal activity. This is common knowledge to most internet users but nearly 10 years of illegal downloading can lull most web users into a false sense of security. Nowadays however, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Virgin Media, BT Internet and Sky Broadband all have the capability to easily monitor internet usage and they go to great lengths to ensure that their customers know it. This has led to warning letters being sent to home internet users and even prosecution based on ISP provided evidence.
It isn’t just the activity of illegal downloading which is a danger, it is also the files which are being downloaded. Most illegal software can be filled with virus threats and Trojans which can easily infect and damage home computers and laptops. This has led to untold amount of issues for home users and business users worldwide. By accepting incoming downloads from un-confirmed, un-secure online sources, you are making your computer readily susceptible to avoidable damage from infection.
But the threats aren’t just applicable to the home internet users, as proven by the recent headlines surrounding torrent hosting websites. The recent legal wrangling and the demise of Pirate Bay has shown the world that those websites which make a profit from the file sharing of illegal downloads aren’t bullet proof and can be brought to justice. It is only a matter of time before more and more participants of illegal downloads are caught out.
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