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P2P Networks: The dangers explained

by Charles Oakland

P2P Networks: The dangers of Kazaa and other file sharing platforms explained.
 
Using Kazaa and other peer-to-peer networking programs can be alluring to the uneducated user. The Music is within easy grasp, the clients are simple to use, and even the communication aspects are things that people find irresistible. But before you delve into the world of music downloading, there are a few things that every user needs to know. Through proper information we can be forewarned. And forewarned is forearmed.
 
P2P networks are a breeding ground for viruses and malicious software
 

 
When you first install Kazaa or any other peer-to-peer networking programs, the first thing that crosses most of our minds is the music we're thinking of downloading. What we should be asking though, is what dangers are involved and is it worth the risk of using this software! It's time to get forewarned people!
 
The first thing that needs to be understood is that installing this software gives any potential viruses an entry point into our computers. It's through P2P programs that viruses are able to bypass the general security software on our computers, such as firewalls and anti-virus software. These security systems do have flaws, especially when you're basically opening the door and letting these critters roam on in.
 
All of these viruses have only two functions, but it's enough to do a lot of damage. The first function is to replicate and spread to other users, and the second is to carry out the objective they were programmed to perform. The objective can be anything from erasing data that screws up different programs in you're computer, it can make your computer difficult to load by using your system's resources, and it can even cause programs and files to completely disappear.
 
For example, the 'My doom' virus recently got a foothold into Kazaa and spread at a ferocious rate. The virus would sit in someone's download folder and assume the name of a popular file. That file would then be downloaded by another user, and the infection would keep spreading until it got out of hand. The result, 1000's of people with damaged computer systems, and a lot of frustrated users.
 
What about Spyware?
 
Spyware is exactly as the name implies, (Spying Software). This spying software can usually be located within the P2P client itself, and it's used to collect information that is later sold to various advertising companies. You know what that means right? Not only do you have viruses to worry about, you also got Kazaa violating your basic constitutional rights. It's absolutely atrocious that these Kazaa and other companies are making money off the average user in this way
 
The RIAA
 

 
If you thought there were only two things to worry about, you were wrong. The Recording industry association of America is also out to get you. Their strategy to counter online piracy is to make an example of the people who use these programs. Don't think for a second your safe, because 1000's of people have already been slapped with lawsuits.
 
The RIAA finds out who you are by following a fairly simple process that leads to an eventual charge of copy right infringement. First, your IP is obtained from sharing music online. Second, a lawsuit is filed against a "john doe user", because a specific name can't be obtained from your IP address alone. Third, a subpoena is requested against your internet service provider, accepted, and your full name is given to the RIAA. Lastly, the RIAA will usually write a letter demanding a settlement, and if refused, the RIAA will then amend their lawsuit to name you as the John Doe user, and proceed with trial.
 
There have been 15,000 lawsuits filed since 2003, and the number is continuing to rise. The increasing number lawsuits is just another of the many dangers of using P2P networking for your source of music downloading.
About the author:
Charles Oakland runs the review site: http://music.webreviews.ca
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