The dangers of peer-to-peer “peering”
Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:34 am
The Press 6.15.10 Congress recently suffered one of the most embarrassing federal security breaches on record: a sensitive memo regarding an ethics investigation of 30 House lawmakers and staffers inadvertently leaked to the media.
The thief obtained the ethics memo through a simple peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing network — the kind that internet users throughout the world use to share music, videos, and photos.
We’re all familiar with identity theft. In many cases, all a thief needs to wreak havoc is your Social Security number or your bank PIN.
No longer must criminals sift through trash or steal wallets to get the information they need — they can rob you from the comfort of their own computers.
Home computers aren’t the only repositories for our personal information. If the receptionist at the doctor’s office uses P2P file-sharing software at work, for instance, every patient’s medical and financial information could be available for the world to see.
Consumers should seek out services that scan P2P networks for their personal information as well as limit the information they provide to business organizations. Taking these steps will reduce potential information exposure.
Lawmakers must take note of the risks posed by P2P networks — and empower Americans to protect themselves from becoming yet another identity theft statistic.