File-Sharing: The Potential Dangers

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Today we can share information via email, social media and file-sharing programs. Most of these methods move information from one computer to another rather than from a central server. If you use a file-sharing or peer-to-peer program the settings you use determine which files are shared and can also schedule when they are shared. If the settings are incorrect you could share files, programs or other information that you would prefer not to. Even if you share material intentionally there can still be potential problems.

Viruses and other risks

File sharing is a perfect medium for spreading viruses, ransomware and other security risks. This is why you must have software that can identify and quarantine any suspicious download. Failure to maintain continually updated security software means you run the risk of infecting your computer and every other computer that shares your download.

Illegal sharing

Some years ago illegally downloading music was a topic that had a high profile. Today changes in access, behaviour, and the law had made it less of an issue, but illegally sharing other data can still get you into trouble. Before sharing anything that is not solely based on your own original material you should consider whether your sharing would be illegal. For example you may have written a report that includes data that you do not have the right to pass on. Or perhaps you may pass private label rights material to an outsourced writer without having the rights to share the original material. If you intend to share any data or other material with others it’s important that you check you have the right to do so.

Poor security

Sometimes even the most basic security measures are not taken. You should restrict the locations to which downloads can be made and which others have access to. You should also keep your most sensitive information in specific locations which ideally will be password protected. If you outsource work or have several people working on computers access should be restricted to only the most essential files necessary for their jobs to be completed. This means carefully allocating passwords and changing them when access to specific material is no longer required by certain people.

Filesharing can be a great asset in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, but it’s important to be aware of the risks. You need to give some thought to file sharing procedures, password safety, and copyright law if you are to safely make the most of the advantages it offers.

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