P2P File Sharing

p2p networkingP2P (or peer-to-peer) file sharing networks were developed so users could share files such as photos, music and data between personal computers. Unfortunately they also make these computers vulnerable to attack by opening a virtual doorway directly to the hard drive, where identity thieves can see everything you have stored.

Threat Level – Moderate!

P2P file sharing has been around since shortly after the internet started gaining popularity.  It was designed to connect networks of independent computers to each other via an internet connection and specific file sharing software. With this software, the connected users could then search for and share files on each other’s computers.  Peer to peer file sharing is a very easy and effective way to conveniently allow people to share music, movies and other file types amongst themselves.  However when improperly configured, it allows would be thieves access to the hard drives of those computers which have not been secured on the P2P network.

One of the best ways you can protect against P2P file sharing identity theft is to have solid internet security software installed on your devices. Right now you can save $30 on Norton Internet Security by visiting Norton.com here.  At checkout use the coupon code NortonSecurity30Off.  Your total price will be $49.99 for one of the best security packages on the market.  This is an ITA.org special promotion with Norton.

How Does Theft Occur On P2P File Sharing Networks?

ID thieves who target P2P networks such as popular music & movie sharing networks are able to download sensitive information from your hard drive once they gain access through the unsecured P2P network.  Any sensitive information stored on the computer such as passwords, bank account information, birthdays, social security numbers, will all be visible to the thief, who can then download it directly to their own computer. Enabling some form of identity theft protection is a must for any active P2P user.

How Can You Protect Agasint P2P Identity Theft?

The best way to prevent P2P ID Theft is to stop using P2P software altogether.  This will virtually eliminate the chances of someone accessing your sensitive information over this type of network. However if you are going to continue using file sharing networks, we strongly suggest you install Norton Internet Security to give you the maximum protection available against P2P threats.


Stolen Information Can Include:

  • Tax documents
  • Computer passwords
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card numbers

Possible Issues Resulting from Stolen Information:

  • Identity theft
  • Employment-related fraud
  • Loan fraud/payday loan fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Benefits fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Other identity fraud

 File Sharing & Identity Theft Stats:

  • At any point in the day, over 22 million people worldwide are downloading and sharing music, software and other files on the world wide web.
  • In 2009, The Today Show found 25,800 student loan applications, more than 150,000 tax returns, and nearly 626,000 credit on file-sharing networks.