If you are currently using P2P software, or are planning to use
it on the UCSB network, then you should carefully read the
University Policy on Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Copyright Law.
P2P Best Practices
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- Set up the file-sharing software very carefully. If you don't check the proper settings when you install the software, you could open access not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive, like your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, or other personal documents.
- Be aware of spyware. Some file-sharing programs install other software known as spyware. Spyware monitors a user's browsing habits and then sends that data to third parties. Sometimes the user gets ads based on the information that the spyware has collected and disseminated. Spyware can be difficult to detect and remove. Before you use any file-sharing program, get an anti-spyware program from a vendor you know and trust. Set it to scan on a regular basis at least once a week and every time you start your computer, if possible. And delete any software programs the anti-spyware program detects that you don't want on your computer.
- Close your connection. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and could increase your security risk. If you have a high-speed or "broadband" connection to the Internet, you stay connected to the Internet unless you turn off the computer or disconnect your Internet service. These "always on" connections may allow others to copy your shared files at any time. What's more, some file-sharing programs automatically open every time you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you may want to adjust the file-sharing program's controls to prevent the file-sharing program from automatically opening.
- Use an effective anti-virus program and update it regularly. Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might pick up from other users through the file-sharing program. Not all anti-virus programs block files downloaded through file-sharing, so check your program's capabilities and settings. In addition, avoid downloading files with extensions like .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd.