The Dangers of File Sharing

For Children

How to stay safe

Individuals engage in file sharing technology, as it is a fast and easy way for them to share content with each other and/or transfer content to the Internet. There are arrays of applications that can assist individuals to do this. Most of the applications are free; however, individuals would need to pay a subscription if they want fast and larger storage capacities for their files.

File sharing is a great fast way to allow other people to access your work and content without having to meet with them in person; however, it also makes youth more vulnerable to online viruses and threats.

Know the risks

File sharing with friends can put your personal information at risk. Although you are sending the file to someone that you know, it is virtually impossible to trace and verify the receiver getting the content.

Youth downloading illegal content such as music and videos do so without having any prior knowledge of the source. This opens up security risks and in turn can put their personal information and details at risk.

Hackers use file sharing as a means to install viruses, Trojan Horses and spyware. Therefore, when individuals download the content free they are inviting an array of security threats with it. It should be noted that it is crucial to safeguard devices in order to make sure security risks are not an issue.

Nadia Kovacs, author of the article How to stay safe when file sharing online states that “some file sharing interfaces expose your computer directories without your knowledge, allowing attackers to view information you might not have intended to share. You might also share personal data willingly, and assume it’s safe to do so because it’s being sent directly to known sources”.

Staying safe

  • Be conscious of the type of information that you are sending online as well as the type of information that you are downloading
  • Do not send personal information and details through file sharing services (rather do this face-to-face)
  • Do not engage in illegal downloading. Individuals do this because it is fast, easy and free, however this could have legal consequences. If you would like to download music rather do so from reputable paid sources such as iTunes
  • Update your devices security software to limit exposure to threats and viruses. Make sure the antivirus/antispyware software and firewall are working before engaging in downloading activities
  • Be very careful when downloading executable files (.exe). These are the types of files that are often used in viruses and once downloaded these files run on your computer
  • Use trusted download websites and sources