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Peer to Peer Applications
Peer to Peer technology has been around now for a few years. Applications such as BitTorrent and PopcornTime use a series of computers as a network allowing individuals to share files back and forth between each other without relying on a central location. These networks create a very stable and reliable way to share information; however, there is a dark side to this sharing of information.
- This sharing of files can very easily lead to violation of Federal and State copyright laws. It is against the law in the United States to copy intellectual property without permission of the copyright holder. Many of these applications will claim that there downloads are legit and that downloading from them will not get you into any trouble; however, we recommend that you read the small print that states only certain downloads are permitted. Instead, use an application to legally purchase files. More recently, applications that appear Netflix like but promising first run movies are actually peer to peer applications with illegal copies of media.
- Many of peer-to-peer applications rely on high bandwidth providers, such as university systems, to provide a high quality of service for their downloads. When these applications are run on high bandwidth networks the networks provide very fast downloads. At the same time, the heavy use of bandwidth degrades the network for legitimate uses of the university network such as research and business use
- File sharing is exactly that: sharing of files. These programs are designed to share files, but improperly configured applications can make any–or possibly all files on your computer–available to anyone else using the same P2P network as you. We have seen tax records, social security cards, immigration records, bank account statements, and other very sensitive information shared on the Internet.
- Many malware writers use P2P applications to spread their malicious tools to unsuspecting downloaders. With the promise of "free software" comes the very real possibility that you expose your credit cards, bank accounts, and any other information on your computer to criminals.