Security & File Sharing
File-Sharing: A Fair Share?
Every day, millions of computer users share files online. Whether it is
music, games, or software, file-sharing can give people access to a wealth
of information. You simply download special software that connects your
computer to an informal network of other computers running the same software.
Millions of users could be connected to each other through this software
at one time. The software often is free and easily accessible.
Sounds promising, right? Maybe,
but make sure that you consider the trade-offs. Ffile-sharing can have
a number of risks. For example, when you are connected to file-sharing
programs, you may unknowingly allow others to copy private files you never
intended to share. You may download material that is protected by the
copyright laws and find yourself mired in legal issues. You may download
a virus or facilitate a security breach. Or you may unwittingly download
pornography labeled as something else.
To secure the personal information
stored on your computer:
up the file-sharing software very carefully. If you don't check the
proper settings when you install the software, you could open access
not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information
on your hard drive, like your tax returns, email messages, medical
records, photos, or other personal documents.
aware of spyware. Some file-sharing programs install other software
known as spyware. Spyware monitors a user's browsing habits and then
sends that data to third parties. Sometimes the user gets ads based
on the information that the spyware has collected and disseminated.
Spyware can be difficult to detect and remove. Before you use any
file-sharing program, you may want to buy
software that can prevent the downloading of spyware or help detect
it on your hard drive.
your connection. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program
window does not actually close your connection to the network. That
allows file-sharing to continue and could increase your security risk.
If you have a high-speed or "broadband" connection to the
Internet, you stay connected to the Internet unless you turn off the
computer or disconnect your Internet service. These "always on"
connections may allow others to copy your shared files at any time.
What's more, some file-sharing programs automatically open every time
you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you may want to
adjust the file-sharing program's controls to prevent the file-sharing
program from automatically opening.
and update your anti-virus software regularly. Files you download
could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use
anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might
pick up from other users through the file-sharing program. Although
your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving possibly
destructive files, computer security experts suggest you avoid files
with extensions like .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and
with your family about file-sharing. Parents may not be aware that
their children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family
computer and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography,
or other material that may be inappropriate for them. Also, because
other peoples' files sometimes are mislabeled, kids unintentionally
may download these files. In addition, kids may not understand the
security and other risks involved with file-sharing and may install
the software incorrectly, giving anyone on the Internet access to
the family's private computer files.
To protect your privacy and help keep your
computers data safe you can use privacy protection software, security
software and monitoring software that is readily available online:
Privacy & Protection Software:
PC Delete - www.pcdelete.com
Protection Reviews Articles & Related Information.