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Perils of P2P File Sharing

This is a discussion on Perils of P2P File Sharing within the Virus/Trojan/Spyware Help forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Until recently, p2p file sharing was fairly safe. That's no longer true. Malware writers are increasingly and agressively exploiting them

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Old 10-24-2008, 06:59 PM   #1
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Until recently, p2p file sharing was fairly safe. That's no longer true. Malware writers are increasingly and agressively exploiting them to spread their wares. There's a significant increase in the number of people infected via the use of P2P programs. Running any type of p2p application will make one far more prone to infection by malware. The nature of P2P filesharing is so that even if one is using a "clean" program, many of the files downloaded from non-documented sources have the potential of being infected. More than half of all files available for download from peer-to-peer networks have been deliberately infected with some form of malware. Most P2P file sharing programs are configured to automatically launch at startup and are also configured to allow other p2p users on the same network open access to a shared directory on the computer. File sharing is based on this unfettered acces to all computers across the p2p network. It's this practice that can make systems vulnerable not only to data and identity theft but also to becoming instrumental in the spread of malware.

Some examples how these programs become toxic:
  • poisoning attacks on the network (e.g. providing files whose contents are different than the description)
  • insertion of viruses to carried data (e.g. downloaded or carried files may be infected with viruses or other malware)
  • malware in the peer-to-peer network software itself (e.g. distributed software may contain spyware/malware)
  • identity attacks (e.g. tracking down the users of the network and harassing or legally attacking them)
  • spamming (e.g. sending unsolicited information across the network)

Bad and 'good' p2p programs links:

Spybot on P2P Programs

P2P..Popular and Perilous.

Other related links:

FBI Cyberletter To Users of Peer-to-Peer Systems

Comparison of Unwanted Software Installed by P2P Programs

Student Ordered to Pay $675,000 for Illegal Downloads

Update: Seattle man arrested for p-to-p ID theft

Identity Thieves Lurk in P-to-P Networks

Risks of File-Sharing Technology

Woman Fined $222,000 for Music Sharing

IM And P2P Malware Threats Nearly Triple

Cyber-criminals Use P2P Tools for Identity Theft, Security Analyst Warns

How to Prevent the Online Invasion of Spyware and Adware

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