However, getting a subscription doesn’t guarantee privacy. If for some reason the connection with the VPN is lost, BitTorrent downloads will simply continue from one’s residential IP-address.
Luckily there are ways to minimize this risk and make sure BitTorrent downloads only work when the VPN is connected. Vuze, for example, now has a “connect through VPN only” option built-in.
This new feature comes with Vuze’s updated proxy and VPN support in version 188.8.131.52. It notifies users via a pop-up and asks them whether they want to connect only when the VPN is running.
“Vuze now includes logic to detect when you are running over a VPN and prompts you explicitly to bind to its interface to increase privacy,” Vuze explains on its blog.
If the automatic detection doesn’t work, which is often the case, the feature can be activated manually in a few simple steps.
1. ‘Tools’ > ‘Options’ > set ‘Mode’ to advanced
2. Go to ‘Connection’ > ‘Advanced Network Settings’
3. Make sure that you are connected to the VPN. Select the right network interface from the list and enter the corresponding id in the “Bind to local IP address or interface” box. This varies per computer.
E.g. On Windows PPTP/L2TP generally goes through the WAN Miniport and OpenVPN uses the TAP-Win32 Adapter V9. Usually you will see the name or IP-address of the VPN listed.
4. Make sure the box “enforce IP bindings” is ticked at the bottom.
Then when everything is working correctly a green “routing” icon should appear in the bottom bar of the client.
To check whether it’s working you can simply disconnect the VPN. The “routing” icon should then turn red and all active downloads and uploads will be halted.
As far as we know Vuze is the only popular BitTorrent client that has a network interface binding feature. Many BitTorrent / uTorrent users have been asking for a similar privacy protecting option as well, but for now these clients only allow binding to static IP-addresses.
For those not using Vuze there are other options available though. The easiest, and perhaps most safe, is to install a general VPN monitoring tool. We’ve discussed these and other tips in a previous article on VPN security.
Do you have other tips or suggestions? Please post them in the comments.