The trading of files has seen more and more fans throughout the years.
While some of the file trading that goes on is of the legal variety, for most people, they feel that it is their way to get free music, movies and software applications.
Trading these files over the internet has been going on for a long time but now, with the use of peer to peer networks, the practice has gone mainstream and now everyday people are starting to get involved.
They know that Hollywood and the music industry is charging an outrageous price for their products but they still want to have a way to be able to see them.
So they hear from their friends that there is a way to make this happen and they go online and download the first peer to peer software that they can get their hands on.
While these products may make it easier for you to get these types of products, they also make it easier for you to pick up something else as well.
They make it easier for malware makers to deliver their warez to your computer.
If you are a person that does not know what to look out for, then you can easily fall for their temptations that they leave out on the net.
In this article I will talk about some of the dangers that are involved with the online sharing of files and, if you insist on doing it, how you can protect you and your computer.
What Is Malware?
Since the main danger that is on the peer to peer networks is malware, I think that I should get you more acquainted with the term.
Malware means that there is something on your computer that should not be there; it is a program or a file that is delivering a virus, Trojan, worm , or something else just as devious to your computer.
Malware is not a good thing for your computer to have and is something that you want to avoid if at all possible.
There are several programs that will help weed these problems out once they are stuck on your computer but I will discuss them later.
What Is Peer To Peer?
Now that I discussed malware in the previous paragraph, I will discuss peer to peer as well.
There are a lot of people out there who probably use peer to peer technology but do not know what the term means.
Peer to peer technology is technology that allows you to download files from another user’s computer.
Before peer to peer, if you wanted to download a file from a computer, it had to be uploaded to a server first, then the person would download it from there.
Now with peer to peer technology, you can just look at the files on another person’s computer and download them that way.
This is a more direct and a faster method.
There are flaws to this method as well though.
One flaw is that you do not know if the files are safe or not.
Also, another flaw is that the connection to the other person’s computer might be slow and you will have to wait a long time to get the file.
But now that I have described what peer to peer is exactly, let’s get back to talking about the dangers of the technology.
The Dangers Of Peer To Peer Networks
As I said, for most peer to peer networks, there are going to be a lot of files that are dangerous to your computer on there.
These files will deliver different types of malware to your computer.
Most of the time, the file will be dressed up as something that would be enticing to the end user.
It might be a popular movie or song that is hot on the charts right now or it can be an adult file that says that it has a popular actress nude.
While the person might not have been looking for the file at the time, this is a great way to get a person’s attention.
There is also another danger that goes along with peer to peer networks.
The fact is that someone can download a file from you that you do not want them to.
If they can look at one of your folders that you both download and save to, then that can mean that they can find potentially damaging information as well.
That is the last thing that you want to happen but it can easily be done.
Some of the more popular peer to peer technologies are BitTorrent, Limewire, Bearshare and a few others.
While they all do not hold the same level of threat, you should be aware when using all of them.
If you are going to download files from these services, make sure that you have an updated antivirus on your system.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you should remember that malware will be the least of your worries if you choose to download copyrighted material.
So don’t do it!