Security Corner

Aug 21 2012   1:55AM GMT

We must be careful about what we do on the internet: Part 2

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

In “We must be careful about what we do on the internet: Part 1,” Hunter Mitchell introduced us to fake AV programs and gave some good advice. The advice continues in this post.

FrostWire/LimeWire/Share bear etc. are not safe ways to download free stuff!!!
 
I’m sure all of us have downloaded a free song, game, or what not.  I’m guilty of it as well, but the longer I was interacting with these kinds of sites, the more I was opening my computer to viruses and other nasty programs.  The thing is that you have to trust that what you are downloading is exactly what it says it is.  I personally would love to trust these people who upload these songs and such, but sadly, I’ve seen too many computers fall victim to the same fate.  You are downloading at your own risk every time you use these programs.  These files aren’t checked before you download them so anyone could add anything they want to the download link such as viruses and malware.  They also may have access to your IP address, meaning they could possibly access your computer if they had the right software.
 
Here are some articles, but again, these go into some pretty deep IT stuff, so I will try to break it down.
http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/reference/malicious.threats.pdf This one gets really deep into the threats of P2P (Peer to Peer) networking,
http://www.techrepublic.com/article/take-precautions-against-peer-to-peer-threats/1048032 This one is a little bit easier to read but deals with more of the legal issue P2P networks pose for companies in which employees use P2P programs to download illegally.
We don’t allow any file sharing networks at the college, period. There’s just too much risk in them. Hunter’s experience mirrors my own; for years, I had to clean up the effects of people downloading from Kazaa, LimeWire, etc. Best just to avoid them altogether.

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  • Ben Rubenstein
    What does it mean when you say you don't allow any file sharing networks? Surely students are finding ways around that. 
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  • Ken Harthun
    Known file sharing networks are blocked as part of our use of OpenDNS filtering. We also block them at the firewall. It may be that students can find a way around it, but we have an Acceptable Use Policy in place that allows me to take action in the event I discover circumventions of security. So far, we've had no major violations or malware outbreaks.
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