Peer to Peer
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) is allows people to share files online through a network. Users can share music files, movies and games using software that connects one computer to other computers running the same software. Using P2P applications, makes it is difficult, if not impossible, to verify if the source of the files is trustworthy. These applications are often used by attackers to transmit malicious code. These applications may also give unauthorized people access to financial or medical data, personal documents, sensitive corporate information, or other personal information. Files shared through P2P applications may include pirated software, copyrighted material, or pornography. If these are downloaded, even unknowingly, you may be faced with fines or other legal action. Peer to peer sharing can result in access to your personal information, malware distribution and if your computer is on the institutional network and exposes student/faculty/staff information, both you and the institution may be liable.
How can you Protect Yourself?
The best protection would be to avoid using P2P applications. But, if you are considering it, you can minimize the risk by doing as follows.
- Install antivirus and antispyware programs from a trusted source.
- Keep all software up to date. Regularly install updates for all your software and subscribe to automatic updates wherever possible.
- Be cautious of what or how much you share. Install P2P programs carefully, and understand exactly which folders will be made public.
- Close your connection. Double click on the file-sharing program, choose the file menu, and then choose exit.
- Create separate user accounts. Consider setting up separate user accounts with limited rights separate from administrator account.
- P2P File Sharing Risks – OnGuardOnline.gov
- P2P File-Sharing: Evaluate the Risks – FTC (PDF)