Being connected to the internet means eventually downloading something from it, even something as simple as a document. And after discovering that you can download pretty much any digital content online ”legal and illegal”there’s no going back. Maybe you want to fill your iPod or iPhone with music or download movies and games not available in your country. Digital content has never been more accessible at any time in history, and all you need is an internet connection. Of course you need to pay for content under copyright, otherwise it’s stealing. But some people think its not stealing at all, its just sharing content already paid for by somebody else. Anyway, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs lets anybody download and upload all kinds of digital files. Its probably the best way to download popular files for free and without advertisements. It comes with a lot of risks, however, like being tracked by the RIAA/MPAA and landing in court, paying fines and getting your system infected with malware and viruses. Many people believe the risks are worth it, and the number of people using P2P programs continues to rise.
FrostWire (which can be downloaded from the site FrostWire Free Download) is one such P2P program. It’s open source (free) and lets you download torrent files. If you’re familiar with now-defunct LimeWire, FrostWire is its twin sister. Initially, FrostWire offered Gnutella file sharing just like LimeWire did, but now it’s just purely a BitTorrent client like Vuze and uTorrent. Gnutella file sharing was about actual playable files (.mp3, .m4a., .avi, etc.) hosted on a central server. The files are voluntarily shared by users worldwide, and you download the files by connecting to them. With BitTorrent file sharing, no files are hosted on any central server. All you get is a pointer file that locates the playable files from users all over the world. Once it locates all the playable files (seeds), it feeds bits and pieces of that file to you (leecher) until the download is complete. Note that you are downloading parts of the file from many different users instead of the full game from a single user.
Is FrostWire Safe?
FrostWire is as safe to use as Vuze, uTorrent and any other P2P file sharing program, meaning it’s safe to use if you’re careful. If you’re new to downloading torrents, it’s important to know that torrent sites are one of the most dangerous places (if not the most dangerous place) to visit on the internet in terms of the possible damage it can do to your system. Torrent sites are dangerous mainly because everything is free and unregulated, there’s no reputation to uphold and they don’t need to please anybody. Sure, you’ll see torrents labeled verified,scanned and virus-free, but they shouldn’t be taken at face value. If you must download a torrent file, use a secondary computer with updated antivirus software. Then scan the files and wait a few days before running them (it can take a while for your antivirus to pick up malware as a threat). That said, FrostWire as a standalone program is 100 percent safe. If you’re using it to share legal and personal files with friends and family, then the risk of getting viruses is very low. Although some torrents may be infected with adware and spyware, FrostWire itself is free of these. You can examine the open-source code for yourself if you want to check for security loopholes. Here’s a third party site that has tested FrostWire for viruses, malware, spyware and trojans using popular antivirus software: http://frostwire.en.lo4d.com/virus-malware-tests
Antivirus and Firewall Programs
A solid antivirus program and working firewall are your primary protection against online threats. Going online without antivirus and firewall is asking for trouble; it’s not a question of if but when you’re going to get infected with a seemingly harmless file that could damage your hard drive and wipe out your system. Luckily, you (usually) don’t have to pay for good antivirus software and firewall. These are often included in a new computer purchase, and there are lots of free programs that you can download if your computer doesn’t have them. Another thing to consider is getting cloud security which will add extra protection to your computer. Prevent Paid programs like Norton offers comprehensive protection, but don’t worry if you can’t afford them. Free programs come with all the essentials you need. Here are some of the best free security programs for Windows:
Tips to Avoid Downloading Viruses
File sharing is a hot-button issue, and whether it’s wrong to share files that do not belong to you is under debate. We’re not going to discuss that here, but you should know that torrent downloading is very high risk. For one, your IP address is always visible when you use torrent clients like FrostWire. This means your computer can easily be tracked and identified. Also, many internet service providers are curbing torrent downloading by sending out warnings to subscribers who download and share copyrighted material online. You can be taken to court and asked to pay fines, or you can land in jail. But the most pressing threat for many is a rogue file that carries malware and viruses. This can wipe out your hard drive if you get infected. Trojans, adware and spyware are often distributed with torrent files and you can’t really verify if the sources are safe or not. To protect yourself while using FrostWire to share files, here are some tips:
- Never use FrostWire if you don’t have antivirus and firewall installed. Make sure to update the program daily. Dated antivirus can let viruses slip through the cracks. It’s also good to have a malicious software removal tool and a registry cleaner just in case.
- Enable scanning as files are being downloaded. This way, your antivirus can alert you of infected files before you open them.
- Beware of files with the extension “.exe”. In contrast to music, movies and e-books, .exe files are executableâ€”they run on your computer and make changes to the registry. Viruses can bury themselves in your system just by launching .exe files.
- Check the file size before you download it. An MP3 file should be around 4 MB and up, while a full-length film is around 600 MB and up. Games vary in size; RPGs are usually from 1 to 2 GB and up. Documents and eBooks are smaller in size. Don’t download anything under 1 MB in size, unless you trust the source and the file. Start at 2500 or 3000kb, especially if you’re downloading .mp3s.
- When downloads are finished, navigate to the folder and check if it’s the file you want. Make sure your computer shows file extensions. An .exe file with a virus can be disguised as an .mp3 file. Dont click links that asks you to download here or get password.
- If you ca’t help downloading copyrighted torrents, download files from trustworthy sources (or at least those that look trustworthy). To tell legit files from fake ones, check the file name. Beware of files that contain only the file name that you searched for. Some bad hosts auto-generate malicious files based on your original search keywords.
- Scan everything you download. This means all files, not just executable ones (with the .exe extension). If your antivirus program detects a threat, quarantine it. Try waiting a few days and running a scan again. If it still detects a threat, it’s best to delete the file.
- It’s not recommended to use FrostWire and other P2P programs if you’re connected to a local area network, even if it’s just a home network. Use just one computer for downloading torrents, and isolate it from the rest of your devices. Don’t keep important and sensitive documents in that computer.
- Check what files you are sharing. Open the FrostWire folder and delete any files that shouldn’t be shared with the public.
- Keep your notebook screen safe from scratches with anti fingerprinting screen protector.
- Be picky about the files that you’re downloading. Recently released TV shows, movies and music are among the most downloaded torrent files on FrostWire; unfortunately, this also makes them prime targets for people who want to spread malware and viruses. It’s best to download old releases, but if you can’t help it, always run a virus scan and wait a few days before opening or running the file.
FrostWire is a great program to share digital content online, and the program itself is 100% virus-free. It’s how you use it that can get you in trouble. Sharing personal files or digital content you’ve created is fine, but that’s not what majority of people are using FrostWire for. Until the powers that be legalize sharing of files under copyright, it’s still considered stealing. If you can’t help but download copyrighted files, at least make sure you’re not putting your system at risk for online threats. Never download files using FrostWire without an updated antivirus and firewall program. Examine the files before and after downloading them. Scan everything, not just executable files, and quarantine anything that is infected. It’s best to wait a few days before opening the file you’ve downloaded, as it can take a while for your antivirus to detect a threat. If repeated scans turn up the same warnings, just get rid of the file.
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