Saturday, December 12, 2015

Security Risks of Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing is the distribution and sharing of digital media using Peer-to-Peer networking technology. It allows users to share almost any form of digital media including MP3's, videos, pdf's or software with one another.

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

In P2P software program, normally there is no centralized server to upload, store and download contents. Instead, each user system acts as a server. When a user searches for a specific file or content, it is searched in the network of connected computers and when found in some computers, the file is downloaded from them. The ease of use and lucrative amount of downloadable data is the main reason why it is so popular nowadays.

If we look through the history of P2P File Sharing Software, it was first introduced by Napster. It started as a MP3 file sharing software. But, due to increasing amount of consumer demands many services followed Napster with sharing of almost any type of digital media.

Many of us are well-aware of the security risks of these P2P File Sharing Software. Many of us know that there are considerable amount of security risks with these software, but we do not know exactly what those risks are.

Today we will discuss about the security risks of P2P File Sharing Software in this article, to increase awareness among us.

Security Concerns of Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Let's cover the security issues one by one.

No centralized software to monitor downloads

As I said earlier, P2P File Sharing Software is a decentralized software, which means there is no single server to upload, store or download contents. Any user can upload file and that uploaded file can be downloaded by any user. The software provider does not have any responsibility on the actual content of a file being shared. If a user, knowingly or unknowingly uploads a malware or spyware affected file, it will keep distributing over the network and will affect any computer that downloads that file.

Sometimes, malicious users, for the purpose of attacking more computers, upload virus affected files. Sometimes, even users do not properly check the content of files and upload it. As a result, it becomes very easy for computers with P2P File Sharing Software to get affected.

Revelation of IP address

P2P File Sharing Software sometimes reveal the real IP address of its users. And, that is even a bigger threat. With a user's real IP address, an attacker can spoof his IP address and sniff data or even make more attacks. And that makes the innocent users vulnerable to attacks.

Risk of private data getting shared

With P2P File Sharing Software certain directories get shared with other computers in the P2P network. But, sometimes, directories more than what is intended get shared with the network. As a result, without the knowledge of the user, user's private data gets shared. And sharing of information, more than what is intended is always harmful, especially when it falls in hand of malicious users.

Rogue Software

To increase the revenue of their software, sometimes the software provider gives a false sense of security to the users. With wrong information in hand or with misinterpretations of information, user users with firewalls, make a hole in the firewalls for the P2P File Sharing Software. They think, if they do not create hole, their file sharing will be affected, and they won't be able to properly download lucrative data. And by now we know, what threats hole in the firewalls possess !

Monetary gains of miscreants

And the last but not the least, setting up a P2P File Sharing Software is very costly. If the software provider distributes free digital media over that network, our common sense says, they must have some profit plans for them.

Most of the cases, they earn through adware. Almost all P2P File Sharing Software contains adware, which gets downloaded to users computers when they download the software. And sometimes, with adware they contain malware and spyware too, knowingly or unknowingly. And those get distributed to all users who download the software.

So, think twice before using these P2P File Sharing Software. This article was just to inform you about the risks, so that you can protect your system better. Stay safe, stay secure.

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