Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, welcomes the
news that the US Justice Department made its first arrest of
someone using file-sharing digital data to commit identity
Gregory Thomas Kopiloff used the file-sharing program, Limewire,
to steal people's personal financial information, which he then
used to open new credit card accounts. According to a four-count
indictment, Kopiloff charged as much as $73,000 on the cards,
reselling all of the purchased items at half-price and keeping the
rest. Authorities have identified 83 victims so far.
Concerns about the security of P2P file-sharing applications
such as Limewire have been growing during the past several years.
Because of the network framework that drives P2P, individuals are
able to share files unknowingly, meaning there is a significant
opportunity for hackers to access private (and often confidential)
information to use to their advantage. Current P2P networks do not
have adequate security measures to block users from unknowingly
sharing information or warn them that it's happening.
"P2P networks present risks to not only businesses, but also
home computer users," said Ron O'Brien, Boston-based Sophos senior
security analyst. "For example, if one person in the house
downloads an application and stores the file in the 'My Documents'
folder and a hacker happens to gain access to that P2P file, he or
she can search any file within the entire folder. If the owner of
that file has personal documents like medical records, resumes,
documents with their address or phone number on it, or any other
private, personal information, the hacker can access any of
Solutions such as Sophos's Application Control offer network
administrators relief from these potentials threats. Application
Control allows system administrators to selectively block
unauthorized VoIP, P2P, games and Instant Messaging (IM)
applications that can present risks to company data and networks.
Sophos's solution gives system administrators the power to
selectively allow or block usage of applications by individuals or
groups. As a result, they can implement flexible policies that
reflect the diverse needs of groups across the enterprise. Sophos
currently blocks Limewire, as well as popular P2P sites emule,
bitorrent, utorrent, morpheus and Azureus.
"Until file-sharing networks integrate enhanced security
features, it is imperative that businesses and household users of
such programs take proactive measures to protect their intellectual
property and private information against potential hackers fishing
for personal information to use to their advantage," continued
O'Brien. "While implementing technologies like application control
solutions is one way to protect yourself, computer users must
remember to always update or employ the most recent security
features offered to guarantee the utmost protection."