The Dangers of File Sharing and How to Protect Your PC

If you are using file sharing networks there are other things to consider besides copyright infringement that can pose threats to the security of your PC. It is important to understand that when you use file sharing networks you can potentially open up your PC to a host of malware threats such as worms, trojans, keyloggers, spyware, adware and more, if you do not understand how to protect your PC when using file sharing networks.

How File Sharing Can Threaten Your PC

File sharing poses a threat to your PC due to the fact that your PC is being used as a server to everyone else's and vice versa. This means that you cannot control the content that is being transmitted through the network that is being used for file sharing. Since everyone's computer is open to the network, this makes it easy for a hacker to distribute malware inside a file that looks legitimate.

For example, let's say you have downloaded one of your favorite songs through a file sharing program. The music file can be infected with malware when it is placed in your file sharing directory. Once it is in the file sharing directory it is available to others on the network so it is very easy for the malware to spread quickly.

It is also important to note that the malware can be contained inside the software itself or the file sharing application. Others can access your system through the file-sharing application even when you are not using it.

How to Protect Your PC

  • Disconnect the File Sharing Program: Turn off your file sharing program when you are not using it to search or download files. This way it will not run in the background when you are using your PC for other activities. Some file sharing programs do not allow you to turn them off and others provide the option to disable them when not in use.
  • Update the File Sharing Application: Keep your file sharing program updated with the latest patches to prevent exploits to existing vulnerabilities in the application.
  • Control Your Directories: Make sure you monitor what you are sharing by copying the files you want to share to the default directory and restricting access to all of your other directories.
  • Use a Reputable Antivirus Program: Use a reputable antivirus program that performs automatic signature updating so your PC is protected against the latest threats.
  • Run a Spyware Program: Run a spyware removal program periodically to check for any unwanted downloads.
  • Back Up Your Registry: Back up your PC's registry files to a separate location in case you are infected with malware that destroys your computer files. This way you can easily restore your PC to its original state.
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There are many ways one can back up a computer: special equipment or online programs, which are becoming increasingly popular, can help you to create a sort of 'insurance policy' for the protection of all of your computer-based data.