File sharing involves using technology that allows people to share files that are located on their individual computers. You can use peer-to-peer (P2P) applications to share music, movies and games, or cloud storage services such as Dropbox or Google Drive to share files.

What is P2P?
Peer-to-peer (or P2P) technology works by connecting individual computers directly to share digital information across the Internet. P2P networking is popular in homes as the software is usually free and provides easy access to download many types of files.

Is file sharing safe?
Downloading a file through a peer-to-peer network is generally quite risky. Many of the files being shared carry viruses or other malware. Also, when sharing files, you are giving other people access to the files on your computer. Although most people try to only share specific folders, it’s possible to accidentally share the entire contents of your computer.

Some files have misleading labels to hide the true nature of its content. This means there is a risk of your kids encountering pornography or other inappropriate content through file sharing networks. Even if you have set up parental controls on your computer, they may not catch this kind of file.

Best practices

  • Think twice before you download anything.
  • Run security software such as antivirus and enable a firewall. Remember to update your security software regularly.
  • Be careful about downloading files ending with .EXE, .BAT, .ZIP or .VBS. These file extensions can contain malicious code.
  • Scan files before opening or installing.
  • If you use a cloud storage service, choose a strong password that is difficult to crack, and change your password often.

Tags: Online File Sharing