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is using torrent client safe

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a very long time ago my computer got hacked. i think it happened in 2003. back then i wasn't using proper protection software. i was using windows xp at that time. i guess i could have been using torrents back then and that's how the hacker got my ip address

after that i installed a proper antivirus which has a firewall and i continued to use torrents. i am still downloading by using torrents and there never has been another incident. thus as long as i am careful and i don't download malware by using torrents and i am using proper protection software then it's safe to use torrents?

also is there a need to connect to vpn if i want to use torrents? my internet service provider doesn't care for what i download and using torrents is allowed in the country where i live 

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Always scan downloaded files. However, some files may be archived using an algorithm that some A/V apps may block. In cases like that, you may need to disable the A/V, extract the files and restart it (usually it's a keygen that causes the problem). Once you have the key and it's installed, then scan again.

If your ISP is turnimng a blind eye to downloading, you shouldn't have any problem. However, in the end it's not down to the ISP but one (or more) of the 'anti-piracy' organisations. They can get a court order to make your ISP hand over details and then go after you. In that case, a VPN will hide your activoty.

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