Although millions of people use peer-to-peer applications, don't for a moment think these apps are above suspicion. They pose some very serious threats to your organization's security. Here are some of those threats:
- A number of peer-to-peer applications automatically install malware when the file-sharing application is installed.
- Peer to peer applications allow users to share a portion of their hard disk, but it is sometimes possible for users to accidentally share their entire hard disk, exposing sensitive information to the world in the process.
- If a file-sharing application is used to exchange copyrighted music or video, then having those types of files on the hard drives of company-owned computers could potentially expose the company to copyright infringement or, in the case of sexually explicit content, sexual harassment-related litigation.
- If users are sharing files, they are probably also downloading files from others. This exposes your network to malware threats.
- It isn't usually a security issue, but peer-to-peer applications rob your organization of Internet bandwidth.
Blocking peer-to-peer applications
Step 1: Blocking peer-to-peer applications
Step 2: Firewalls
Step 3: Application-level filters
Step 4: Software restriction with Group Policy
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR:|
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, he has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit his personal Web site at www.brienposey.com.|
Copyright 2005 TechTarget
This was first published in July 2006