ITRC Solution 19
File Sharing and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Software Safety
One of the great things about the internet is that you can now share files with people all around the globe. Programs like FrostWire, BearShare, Limewire, Morpheus, Kazaa, etc. allow you to share and download movies, music, pictures, almost anything you could want with the online community.
Unfortunately, these programs are not 100% safe. These programs allow users to gain access to your computer and the files that are on it. Not just the files that are in your designated “to share” folder, but potentially everything you have stored on your computer. Users of file share programs have been able to access private pictures, tax return information, banking records, student loan applications, and just about everything else that a person would store on their computer.
There are several things you can do to protect your information being accessed:
- Do not store this kind of information on the same computer you use for file sharing. Have a separate computer set aside specifically for file sharing or store your sensitive information someplace other than on your computer (burned CDs, burned DVDs, external hard drive, etc.)
- Check the security preferences for the program you are using. See if you can set it so that only designated folders can be accessed by the file sharing program.
- Look into encrypting personal and vital information. Some newer computers come with this function already built in. For older computers, there are several companies that offer user-friendly encryption software for your home computer.