Recently we've received at least four letters from our ISP that we are violating their terms and service by the downloading or the distribution of illegal software through bittorrent protocol. My son has apparently been using the site to download software and movies for free. Before we're revoked from our internet is there a simple way to prevent or block torrent websites?
The best solution for this problem is education!
This is due to the fact that there are other ways to download software and movies which are harder to block than torrents. On the other hand these mostly one click hoster based file sharing solutions are much harder to detect by the ISP and arent likely to bring you in that much legal trouble. The problem with torrents is that you are downloading and providing illegal copys at the same time. The offering part is the one that may cost you a lot.
Anyway there are various technical solutions. Some home router are able to block torrents. This ability relies heavyly on the product you are using. You can also buy an additional firewall that is able to filter torrents but that is of cause a costly solution for a private usecase.
There are many ways you can restrict torrent, including:
- Destination filtering: try to restrict access to all torrent websites, but you'd have to maintain a large blacklist.
- Control the applications installed on the computers on your network. Don't allow installing P2P applications
- Use some third-parties applications, like pfSense which is an open source firewall helps to block torrent traffic.
Finally, I think it's an education issue. Try to convince your users not to use torrent, and keep away from P2P connections.
BitTorrent is very difficult to block/firewall, since it can work on any port the BitTorrent client has been configured to. Your best solution is to either stop torrent downloads from your PC or hide their existence from your ISP.
Stop torrent: remove any torrent clients from your PC and then ban your son from it or convince him to no longer do this. You may also install content control software on your PC, but you are then counting on your son's inability to work around that.
Hide torrent from ISP: Set up an encrypted VPN to a VPN service provider (past/outside your ISP) and run all your internet traffic through that VPN. You must confirm that your ISP has not established a local security certificate on your PC to prevent them from "inspecting" your encrypted traffic.