File Sharing - Protect Yourself
Using a p2p application on your computer is a security risk. The files you download come from unknown and unsecured sources. Many of the files available for download contain viruses or trojans that allow hackers access to your computer and the University network. Many P2P applications also install spyware on your computer. Spyware collects personal data about your Web surfing and other habits and sends that information to advertisers or other interested third parties. Spyware can cause pop up ads and may remain on your computer even after the p2p application is removed.
The only way to ensure P2P apps never cause any problems on your computer is to not install them in the first place. If you are running a P2P program you may want to consider removing it from your computer. WKU highly recommends not installing or running any p2p software while attending.
Visiting piracy related web sites is one of the fastest ways to get your computer infected with drive-by downloads and toolbars. Most pirated software comes pre-infected with trojans, and the sites themselves often host malware, deceptive ads and download links, pop-ups, and other undesirable content. Video streaming sites will often prompt the user to install 'codec packs' that also contain spyware and browser toolbars that can be difficult to remove.
File sharing programs often share much more information about who is using them and what they are downloading than their users realize. While most of these programs seem to be anonymous, it's usually trivial to reveal the IP address of the user running them. Also, some programs have been known to share out the total contents of a user's hard drive to the network. This complete drive sharing allowes anyone else on the network to download any file from the user's computer.
The majority of file sharing programs will use all the network bandwidth available to them for file sharing. This high network usage can make a user's computer appear to be running much slower than it actually is. Not only is this inconvenient to the user, it can slow down the network for everyone else trying to use it at the same time.