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peer-to-peer file sharing and malware

Aug 12th, 2009 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support

Remember the good ol’ days of Napster and people trading music for free?  There are still many free peer-to-peer sites and applications to get free music, and practically any other digital media you want.  However, just because it is free does not mean you don’t pay a price in the end.  Malware.  Malicious software, such as viruses, trojans, worms, backdoors, rootkits, etc…

That’s right, essentially every computer I’ve seen in the past 3 years that has a peer-to-peer file sharing program on it with free downloaded music, movies, etc has many very dangerous trojans and rootkits on it also.  The most popular one I keep encountering is Limewire.  You may not think it is a big deal that your kids (or you) are downloading some free music from the Internet but is that the same computer you use to connect to your company network using vpn?  Or send out emails on your work or personal account?  Or do your online banking or bill paying?   More often than not the home computer doubles as the after hours work computer.

peer-to-peer P2P file sharing software commonly infects computers with malware (viruses, worms, rootkits, etc.)

peer-to-peer P2P file sharing software commonly infects computers with malware (viruses, worms, rootkits, etc.)

Maybe you still don’t think it is a big deal.  Do you know what many of these trojans and rootkits do?  They open up a backdoor to your computer from the Internet without you knowing it; allowing others to fully control your computer, gather data & passwords and infect your computer with more malware, viruses, etc., and  here is another reason Limewire may be a bad idea to have on your system.  Not only do you risk having your identity stolen, losing data and delivering viruses to your friends, family, coworkers and customers but often your computer becomes so slow that you need to have your computer rebuilt or buy a new home computer.  Some of the first scenarios have intangible costs but replacing or rebuilding a computer is several hundred dollars and a whole lot of your time to get it back with all your software customizations and applications installed.

You may want to forgo the free music and sign up with iTunes or another inexpensive music download service or even try out Pandora Internet radio.  Either way, I definitely recommend you do not install any peer-to-peer filesharing programs on your computer and if you already have one installed I give you very good odds that you already have several viruses on your computer…

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