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The tracker connects you to various other computers (other peers) who also have the file and you start downloading bits of it from each of them, which is what makes it all so fast.

It's a good system because it means you take a little bit of the file from everybody, rather than put a drain on just one source.

Bit Torrent users who have downloaded fakes will quickly put comments in to warn other peers.

The legal side of things Using Bit Torrent is not illegal, and neither are the tracking servers, technically, because they only hold information about where a file is, not the file itself.

But it also has lots of legal uses, and there are plenty of music, movie and game files that can be downloaded legally.

Any type of file can be transferred, so some companies use Bit Torrent to distribute large files like software updates etc.

The original seeder only needs to send out one copy of the file for all the clients to receive a copy.

Bit Torrent software There are lots of free Bit Torrent programs (sometimes called clients) available. On the other hand, it's not inherently dangerous as long as your computer is up-to-date with the latest operating system updates, and you have a firewall and anti-virus system in place. If your computer's healthy, other peers can't access any of your other files when you are connected to the swarm.

One danger is that they could disguise some malicious software, such as a virus as a movie or sound file that will spring to life and do nasty things once you open it. These look like movie files, for example, but when you try to play them you get a message saying the file is encrypted and if you want to be sent the unlocking code you need first to sign up for a special offer at a link provided.

Once you have downloaded it, you may well find that you have been uploading it to others at the same time, and that is all traffic that will eat into your allocation if you're on broadband. As stated above, you don't need to do much once it's installed other than click on a Bit Torrent link.

Dialup users can also use Bit Torrent, but the file transfer will still only be as fast as their connection allows, no matter how many peers they are connected to. Programs like Torrent will then automatically kick in and do the rest of the work for you. This is the Internet we're talking about, so nothing's necessarily safe.

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