Downloading content over the internet is a great way to enjoy music, video, games and other entertainment. Downloading is also a very convenient way to obtain information in the form of Word documents, PDFs, photos and other files.
- You could unknowingly give others access to your computer while file sharing, who could potentially copy private files. This can happen when you’re asked to disable or alter your firewall settings in order to use Peer-to-Peer (P2P) to upload to a file sharing program, which could leave your computer vulnerable.
- Downloading viruses, malware and spyware to your computer without you knowing it. They’re often disguised as popular movie or song downloads.
- Inadvertently spreading viruses and other malware that damage the computers of those with whom you’re file sharing.
- Downloading offensive/illegal material or viruses disguised as something else.
- Exposing yourself to legal issues such as copyright infringement if you download movies, TV shows, music or software that are copyright protected, even if you didn’t realize it.
- Ensure your computer and devices have the most current security software, web browser, and operating systems.
- Download executable files (.exe) with extreme caution. These are files used by programs to run on your computer. However, they are also commonly used in viruses. Only download executable files from trusted sources, such as software vendors.
- Use trusted download websites rather than peer-to-peer systems to obtain programs.
- Don’t let people browse your files directly, and configure the program carefully so that you only share the files you want to and keep the rest of your files and personal information private. This avoids sharing your emails, photos, financial information or work files with complete strangers.