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Is BitTorrent safe for my network?

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform/protocol designed to deliver large files over the web.  You can read about the details of BitTorrent here .
 
The answer to the question--is it safe?  Well, it depends.
 
Well known BitTorrent clients are relatively safe, but like all software that connects to the internet they are susceptible to attacks. For example, most browsers are virus free but hackers always find ways to attack your computer through them because they have a connection to the internet. 
 
The question really is--is BitTorrent a safe way for users to download content?
 
If the BitTorrent user is downloading an authoritative build of an open source software such as Linux then you should be OK.  
 
However, if the BitTorrent user is downloading other content such as music then this is not safe and may be illegal.  
  • Illegal--It's well known that BitTorrent is mostly used to download illegal copyrighted music, movies or software--this can get you into financial & legal trouble. Copyright owners (for example, the Recording Industry of America, and the Motion Picture Association of America) have teams of lawyers litigating cases where people have downloaded content they did not purchase.
  • Safe--Hackers have no compunction about taking advantage of people who are looking to get "something for free." The result could be a nasty virus infection, unwitting enslavement in a botnet, or even identity theft.  Several studies on BitTorrent have indicated that a large portion of files available for download via BitTorrent contain malware.  This study indicated that 18% of all executable programs available for download contained malware and BitTorrent was used as the distribution mechanism for 47% of all zero-day malware.
The problem is that you have no control over what the BitTorrent user is downloading and you don't want to end up like this guy . ( or these people )  ...and if your users are downloading content they do not own then YOU can (at a minimum) expect a letter from your ISP ( more ).   This  3 year study  by the University of Birmingham in the UK found that BitTorrent users are easy to track (your IP address is on full display for anyone connected to your torrent swarm).  They also concluded that copyright enforcers were “Monitoring Bittorrent usage on a massive scale.” If you downloaded a popular torrent file from one of the largest BitTorrent trackers you’re IP address was likely tracked and logged “within a matter of hours.”
 
Also--BitTorrent can consume a lot of expensive network bandwidth.
 
Our recommendation--block BitTorrent.
 
Tags:
"Use of Peer to Peer (P2P) Software"

 

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