Using peer-to-peer networks can be risky, and unfortunately, they do often leave your computer open to viruses and adware. This is because nobody monitors p2p networks and any file that is uploaded could potentially be harmful to your computer.
So just how can you use p2p networks safely?
How to Use P2P (peer-to-peer) Networks Safely
Protecting your Computer
The main way in which you can protect your computer while you are using p2p networks is to install a virus checker and spyware software. That way if you download a file that is corrupt, the spyware and virus checker will pick it up and prevent you from opening it.
Of course, this doesn’t eliminate the problem of spending time downloading something that turns out to be rubbish!
The only way you can truly stay safe using p2p networks is by using a paying one. You will find many free p2p file sharing networks online but these are actually illegal. Unless you are downloading independent music that has been placed on the network by the artists themselves, it should not be free.
Mainstream music and movies are meant to be purchased, and so you can only legally download them by paying for them. You can find various paid download sites online and they will usually only contain proper files as people will not pay to send corrupt files to other members. They will only do it if it costs them nothing.
One way to see if the p2p software is trustworthy or not is to check the site you are getting it from. Do they have a built in spyware/adware scanner that scans the files before they are added to the site? If so, then the chances are the software will be safe to use.
If you are a parent worried about your children using p2p networks then you can ensure that the chat feature is switched off. You should also check that no personal information is being shared with the rest of the world. The folder that is used by the p2p network is visible to everyone. So if there is a file in that folder that contains personal information it will be on view. Make sure that you and your children have nothing personal being shared if you want to stay safe!
As well as viruses, something else that you will be subjected to is pornography. You will not only be bombarded with files containing ordinary pornography, but you will also find that you could be downloading child pornography. Many pedophiles use p2p networks to share their child porn and to potentially contact children. They use file names such as “Barbie” or “Disney” to ensure that the reach the right audience and to cover up what they are doing.
Overall, there are many potential dangers that come with p2p networks. To stay safe you need to choose a good respectable piece of software, you need a virus checker and a spyware/adware remover.
If you follow this advice, then you will keep yourself and your computer protected.