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[ISN] Can peer-to-peer coexist with network security?


By Elinor Mills
March 6, 2009

Security experts have long cautioned about the risk posed by the use of 
peer-to-peer file sharing by individuals working in corporations, 
warning that the practice creates holes that let malware in and 
sensitive data out.

Their message may be having an impact in the P2P development community.

A trade group representing peer-to-peer file sharing providers next week 
will publish a report that finds P2P software companies are modifying 
their programs in an effort to make it harder for users to inadvertently 
share sensitive information.

For corporate IT administrators, that shift can't come soon enough. The 
problem was highlighted by the recent news that avionics blueprints of 
President Obama's helicopter had leaked through a peer-to-peer network 
used by a defense contractor to an IP (Internet Protocol) address in 

This isn't the first time sensitive data has trickled out via popular 
file sharing networks. Last summer, personal information of some 1,000 
former patients of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center was believed to 
have been leaked via a peer-to-peer network. Sensitive health care and 
financial data has also been found on file sharing networks, according 
to studies from Dartmouth University and P2P network monitoring service 
provider Tiversa, which also uncovered the leaked presidential 
helicopter data.


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