P2P file sharing is a common practice. Many people will download file sharing software from popular networks such as LimeWire or BitTorrent, then download songs or share their own music for free. Millions of people have downloaded or uploaded songs, videos, or other media at some point.
However, P2P file sharing isn’t always safe, for a wide range of reasons, including:
Adware, Viruses, and Spyware. Most networks will claim to have no s[yware or adware on their networks. However, even if the network you are using claims to be free of adware and spyware, the people who log onto your computer might not be. This makes file sharing dangerous for your computer when there is a chance that you could contract computer viruses that could slow down, damage, or destroy your computer’s files and information.
Copyright laws. Many P2P networks are considered illegal and the songs that are shared through the networks are done in violation of copyright laws. Recording companies have gone after people who have shared and downloaded songs and fined them for thousands of dollars for copyright infringement.
When it comes to P2P file sharing, not all networks are as safe as others. The following are some of the safest networks for P2P file sharing:
Kazaa is one of the more popular file sharing networks, but has been under fire for copyright infringement for quite some time now. Now there is a more legal version available in which users can only download songs and media that aren’t copyright protected.
As far as spyware and adware go, they have been getting better, but many people have found that by running spyware software, Kazaa’s free version still comes up with adware or spyware on it. Even though Kazaa claims to not have spyware, the spyware they use doesn’t fall under what they define to be “spyware,” although technically it is. For this reason, Kazaa is not one of the safer networks.
LimeWire is very popular and has both free and fee-based versions. Spyware tests and software scans have revealed that there is no spyware or adware installed on their network, making it one of the safer P2P networks for file sharing and downloading.
BearShare has a free version and a fee-based version. The majority of BearShare’s files are audio files, and many people like BearShare because it also doubles as an instant messenger. If you use BearShare, a popular P2P file sharing network, be wary of the adware and spyware they install onto your computer. A recent scan found three separate types of adware on their program.
Perhaps the most popular P2P file sharing network now, BitTorrent is also one of the safest, with no types of adware or spyware installed on their network. Over 70 million users access BitTorrent, and its program is available worldwide in over 20 different languages.
Keep in mind, however, that even if a network itself doesn’t install adware or spyware, they still don’t guarantee the safety of the files that you’re downloading, which come from millions of different computers across the world. So make sure you have a good anti-virus and firewall on your computer to protect your information.
There are many popular P2P file sharing networks, but some are safer than others. Make sure you do your research before downloading to make sure networks won’t infect your computer.