Why Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Is Not a Good Idea

Published, August 1, 2008

Privacy TipPeer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, which link computers directly, allowing users to swap digital movies, music and files with other users without centralized security controls or oversight.

There are more than 120 free software titles available for online file-sharing including, Morpheus, WinMX, Kazaa and BitTorrent. Unauthorized use of these file sharing services is prohibited and such applications must be eliminated according to Naval message DTG 161108Z JUL 05: "Effective Use of Department of the Navy Information Resources." Violations of this policy on Navy and Marine Corps legacy networks are seen almost weekly. The following is an excerpt from this message:

"Unauthorized use of P2P file-sharing can result in significant vulnerabilities to DON information systems including unauthorized access to information, compromise of network configurations and denial-of-service. Operations may be threatened by excessive consumption of enclave and network bandwidth and file storage space as a result of file-sharing applications. Finally, many files being shared on P2P networks are distributed without the permission of the owner, which can lead to a violation of Federal copyright laws."

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