What's a torrent? There's a link to one on the Project Reality mod in BF2. Is it illegal?
I can assure you torrents are 100% legal until you decide to download copyrighted material for example "Vantage Point" or anything outside the public domain from places such as *cough*rlslog.net*cough* places like that distribute illegal content.
good Torrent FAQ here
yes, it's legal, but risky to use. Often they are a conduit for viri by users who do not take appropriate measures.
Too much hidden Trojans, worms, viruses embedded into the applications.exe now not worth the trouble to destroy you OS and get it infected.
There are many legal torrents. But to answer your other question more directly, there are .torrent files that contain information to allow you to connect to a tracker which then gives the program you are using a list of peers. Those peers have all or parts of the file(s) associated with the .torrent. You get pieces from those peers and you also send out pieces to other peers that don't have the pieces you have.
As for getting viruses and other malware, I think that is far overblown. It doesn't take much effort to stay clean. Lets say you wanted something that was found on rlslog.net, that page has the torrent name, which in itself should be enough to only get what you wanted. I think it is extremely unlikely that if you get a torrent that is the exact name as something listed on rlslog that it will have anything bad in it. Then, beyond that, you are also given the size and nfo for the torrent. And then, most trackers have a place for comments on the torrent, so just a quick scan of the comments ought to tell you whether or not the file(s) contained are real.
I agree, and I have helped FAR too many people that have used P2P/Torrent software that got infected.
If they were stupid enough to get infected, then it may as well have happened when browsing the web, opening the wrong kind of e-mails, accepting random files sent by instant messages, installing every "cool" piece of software advertised on porn sites or whatever. You can't blame technology for the stupidity of people.
BitTorrent is the only protocol I know of that allows for maximum transfer speeds without putting too much strain on a server's bandwidth, since the users themselves are sharing the data. It's legally used for distributing software like World of Warcraft (the 10-day trial only) and OpenOffice.org. As for illegal uses, kinda depends on what you're downloading and where you're located.
For a safe and easy-to-use torrent client, try uTorrent. It's light on resources, comes as an executable file and is free.
After having been a former recruiter and also worked in sales for many years, It never ceases to amaze me the lack of intelligence in the general population.
Major agreement with that. Lol.