Wait… I have to worry about P2P on my Android too?

That’s right… According to a recent PC Mag article, FrostWire (a popular Peer2Peer application) has taken its talents to Android!  This is a big concern for IT Admins.  The PC world had more certainty.  With free tools like Peer2Peer Terminator, I can watch for P2P applications on my PCs.  But what about Android devices?  How do I handle this major security risk here?

Luckily, advancements in Mobile Device Management (MDM) have made it possible to meet this challenge head on.  Companies like MaaS360 by Fiberlink offer a cloud based MDM platform that provides deep management capabilities of Android, iOS, ActiveSync, and Notes Traveler connected devices.  You can view Software Inventory of your Android devices to search for devices with FrostWire (or similar P2P applications).  You can also setup application blacklist rules to ensure these apps don’t pose a problem in the first place.

In the end… the game is the same as the PC.  Get ahead of the problem before its too late.

Learn more about MaaS360 Mobile Device Management.

BPI Study Quantfies the Risk of P2P File Sharing

According to BPI’s Digital Music Nation 2010 Study and Harris Interactive, illegal P2P File Sharing is still growing in the UK… no surprise there.  What was interesting was some of the statistics around the actual risks of illegal file sharing.  According to the study “four in five (79%) had encountered some sort of problem when acquiring music illegally from a P2P network.”  These “problems” ranged from simply downloading a bad track to more serious viruses and costly laptop repairs.  Some interesting numbers:

  • 41% downloaded Spyware
  • 39% downloaded a virus or trojan
  • 38% computer slowed significantly
  • 32% downloaded unwanted explicit content
  • 12% had to have their PC repaired
  • 17% said their PC crashed and was unusable for some time

Pretty interesting statistics… ranging from viruses threatening corporate security and identity theft to loss of productivity to explicit (potentially illegal) content.  Costs ranging from end user downtime to PC repair costs to actual data breach costs…

The risks are real.  Do something about it.  Download Peer2Peer Terminator by MaaS360 and ensure no dangerous P2P File Sharing software is putting you at risk.  Use the cmd line to secure endpoints silently within the enterprise.  Its free!

V3.co.uk Names Top 10 Dangerous Technologies. P2P is #7.

I’ve been meaning to share this for some time, as I find the blurb on P2P dangers very well written.  Last year, V3.co.uk (formerly Vnunet), released an article about the Top 10 Dangerous IT Technologies.  Shaun Nichols and Iain Thompson offered the following write-up on the dangers of P2P.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

7. Peer-to-peer (P2P) technology
Shaun Nichols: Imagine a system where people send each other boxes of food at random. Each person will receive some food from an unknown source which they will then eat and share among their family.

If you had no idea who was making that food or what they put in it, you’d be more than a bit reluctant to eat it, wouldn’t you?

This is a lot like the risk posed by P2P networking. Just as taking candy from strangers is dangerous, so can downloading and opening software packages from strangers. File-sharing services are some of the best places to pick up malware infections. Even Mac users have been hit by malware from P2P networks.

Not only is P2P good for spreading malware, it’s good for managing those infections. Botnets such as Storm and Conficker use peer-to-peer techniques to manage their hordes of infected systems.

Iain Thomson: P2P is a genuinely useful technology, despite what the record companies would like you to think. It enables the efficient transport of large files and makes a lot of business models work.

But from a security standpoint it’s highly dangerous. After all, you’re downloading what you hope is the right file from someone you don’t know. Given the fact that I check with the sender before opening every email attachment, the idea of downloading via P2P gives me the willies, and sends security buffs wild.

P2P could be safe if we had a decent system of reputation online. People’s online habits could be correlated into a system whereby users could tell if they were trustworthy, something that would not only make P2P much safer but help overall online commerce. Until then I’ll stick to legitimate downloads, thanks.
Read more: http://www.v3.co.uk/vnunet/news/2241965/top-dangerous-technologies#ixzz17N0I7bNi

That sums it up pretty nicely.  P2P could be safe… but its not.  It could provide legitimate use… but most times, it doesn’t.  It may not result in legal problems… but then again, it may.  In the end, we need to make smart decisions about our use of technology and P2P just doesn’t have a case for use on most enterprise assets.