P-to-P could mean trouble

Antivirus firm Central Command on Wednesday released the findings of its annual survey, which showed peer-to-peer file-sharing sites are becoming virus writers' latest target.

The survey, mailed out to around 943,000 PC users, explored the recipient's computer's security settings and searched for known vulnerabilities.

But while over half (58 percent) of respondents said they had grown cautious of email attachments and would delete anything sent from an unrecognised sender, many were not aware of the threats posed by other applications including P-to-P websites.

"These numbers mark a great improvement from a year ago," said Steven Sundermeier product manager at Central Command. "We have relentlessly preached about the risks associated with email attachments and we're finally seeing the message is sinking into users minds. Unfortunately the lesson doesn't end there as other types of applications are now being targeted."

File-sharing or P-to-P applications, such as the defunct-Napster or popular site KaZaA, have been branded the killer application for broadband. But as more people flock to such sites the ubiquity of malicious code written for these applications is growing.

Over 39 percent of respondents admitted they were unaware of possible security holes and dangers of using such services.

So far the P-to-P viruses which have been detected have been pretty harmless. W32/Gnuman, commonly known as Mandragore, was one such virus which infected users of Gnutella software, spreading among users by posing as an MP3 file. The file was actually a .exe and infected the users computers as soon as the programme was ran.

But this and other P-to-P viruses, such as Surnova, have done little damage other than taking up extra resources on the computer.

"This doesn't mean that these viruses won't become more serious," said a spokesman at anti-virus firm McAfee. "P-to-P users should be aware of the possible risks of using such services."

The full results of the survey can be found at www.centralcommend.com/safesurvey2002.html.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Wendy Brewer

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?