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File Sharing

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Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File-Sharing Management

Improper use of "free" file-sharing programs can result in potential legal liability if the files being shared - music, movies, software - are copyrighted.

  • Copyright holders can tell which IP addresses are offering copyrighted files for sharing and have been asking courts to require internet service providers, such as the University, to disclose personal information about who is using infringing IP addresses.
  • The University will comply with legally-issued subpoenas.
  • Those found guilty of breaking United States Copyright law face penalties ranging from $750 - $150,000 per file!

Infection by worms, viruses, trojans and other "malware" that can allow your computer to be controlled by hackers from anywhere in the world.

  • Hackers routinely attach infectious code to many popular free software files traded via peer-to-peer networks to remotely take control of vulnerable computers.
  • If your system disrupts the University network your connection will be disabled. Remember - you are responsible for the security of your system and will be held accountable for what it does.

General computer slowness and privacy issues

How do many web sites offering "free" software support their development costs? Through advertising income from marketing firms that attach spyware programs to your system which piggyback on the "free" software installation! This software often tracks the sites you visit and sends this information to spammers all over the world.

Spyware can grab personal data you enter in forms and send it all over the world.

Many spyware programs are "self-updaters," i.e. they can change their function on your computer at the whim of the designer, without your knowledge. Improper removal of spyware may damage your network connection and render it unusable.

Act Responsibly

  • Use legal services to purchase music and software online
  • Remove peer-to-peer file-sharing programs
  • Remove spyware from your system
  • Use an antivirus client and keep the subscriptions and definitions up-to-date

OnGuard Online, U.S. Department of Homeland Security