Infections in the Real World, Part 4

We’ve talked about infections many times, at our location, in our newsletters, and here on this blog. But you might be asking yourself, just how do real infections act in the real world, without being filtered through a maze of possibilities and opinions that each infection seems to have.

Part 4: The Unruly Application

What Is an Unruly Application?

Many people use applications (programs) that can be easily used for purposes they were not intended to be used for. For example, instant messaging programs and peer-to-peer (P2P) programs can be used to transfer files from one location to another. While that feature is potentially useful, it can pose a security risk if someone compromises that person’s account and sends a file that may potentially be infected. Some examples of potentially unruly applications are instant messaging programs, peer-to-peer programs (usually used to download “free” music), social networking sites, games, and voice over IP (VoIP) programs.

The Real Life Example

In 2010, the United States Federal Trade Commission informed close to 100 organizations and individuals that their personal information – including sensitive data about customers and employees – had accidentally leaked onto peer-to-peer networks due to the P2P software not being configured correctly.

How Do I Protect Myself?

Be very mindful when installing and configuring programs on your computer, especially programs that have the potential to send or receive information. An incorrectly installed P2P program can and will expose everything on your computer to the World Wide Web. If you find that you’re unsure how to set up the program correctly, you may want to either contact someone familiar with the program or just not install the program at all.

Computer Works would like to thank Sophos for information used to write this article.
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