The Risks Of Peer To Peer File Sharing

Peer to Peer file sharing can be an incredibly tempting proposition for many people. However, there are some grave risks to consider before engaging in such practises.

Many times I have had friends call me up to assist them after problems have arisen through their peer to peer downloading.

For that reason, I have decided that peer to peer transfers are not for me.

peer-to-peer

PRIVACY

Do you know that when you are connected to file-sharing programs you may be allowing others to copy confidential files from your pc, files that you may never have intended for other people to see?

If you don’t properly configure the file-sharing program when you install the software then you may be granting access to other information on your hard drive, such as tax returns, email messages, medical records and any other personal information that you may have stored.

Therefore, it is essential that you are aware of which files are stored in your shared folder.

Do not put any files in the shared folder that you wouldn’t wish anyone else to view.

COPYRIGHT

Knowingly, or otherwise, you may be downloading material that is protected by copyright laws.

Should you violate them then the consequences can be quite extreme.

Copyright infringement can result not only in financial penalties and damages but criminal records too.

If you are a parent then did you know that you would be held to account if your children were to download copyrighted material?

ADULT MATERIAL

Whether you are an adult or child there are risks associated with downloading files from anywhere on the internet and especially through file-sharing programs.

It is quite common for files to be mislabelled such that innocent looking  videos may prove in fact to be inappropriate adult content.

SPYWARE

Some file-sharing programs come bundled with additional pieces of software, such as spyware, that are then installed onto your system.

Typically, spyware will monitor a user’s browsing habits and then send that information onto interested third parties.

This may well then lead to the user being served all manner of adverts related to their habits whilst they surf in the future.

For this reason it is advisable to buy or download free anti-spyware software in order to  help prevent the downloading or installation of spyware, or to detect it on your hard drive once it has been installed.

VIRUSES

It should go without saying that you ought to use and update your anti-virus software on a regular basis.

Each and every file that you download could potentially be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted malware.

If you use good anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses then you should avoid picking up viruses other users through the file-sharing network.

Typically, your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd which are all potential havens for harmful programs.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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