File Sharing Introduction
File sharing is when people share files from their computer with other people through a network. This is called a peer to peer model, where people both upload, and download files. Lots of people use file sharing for many different purposes, including videos, and software. However the most popular is sharing music.
Sharing music is actually when file sharing all began. This was because of Napster. They allowed people to share and download music for free. The music industry, were very concerned about this and took Napster to court. Napster now exists but you have to pay a fee, similar to ITunes. This highlights a ongoing serious issue with file sharing, in that people are very happy to download illegally.
Attacks peer-to-peer networks
Many peer-to-peer networks are under constant attack by people with a variety of motives and so you need to be careful.
- Poisoning attacks (e.g. providing files whose contents are different from the description, aka "spoofing")
- Polluting attacks (e.g. inserting "bad" chunks/packets into an otherwise valid file on the network)
- Defection attacks (users or software that make use of the network without contributing resources to it)
- Insertion of viruses to carried data (e.g. downloaded or carried files may be infected with viruses or other malware)
- Malware in the peer-to-peer network software itself (e.g. distributed software may contain spyware)
- Denial of service attacks (attacks that may make the network run very slowly or break completely)
- Filtering (network operators may attempt to prevent peer-to-peer network data from being carried)
- Identity attacks (e.g. tracking down the users of the network and harassing or legally attacking them)
- Spamming (e.g. sending unsolicited information across the network--not necessarily as a denial of service attack)