Happy Thursday, Yorkies! The week is almost done, and today we'll talk about a feature hackers have been attempting to abuse for decades- file sharing.
Ever gotten an Airdrop you wish you didn't see? Maybe you attempted to download a game only to infect your computer with malware? If you've ever been in those scenarios, you've been a victim of malicious users taking advantage of file sharing for their intentions. File sharing is extremely widespread today, and it's likely you've engaged in it today without even realizing. Something as simple as sending a co-worker a humorous image is considered file sharing. While we use it commonly, here's how some use it for malicious purposes:
- Taking advantage of peer-to-peer networks: Hackers often use the largely unregulated nature of peer-to-peer communication protocols in order to insert malware into seemingly innocuous files, such as movies, video games, and TV shows. This malware can do anything as long as it obtains the firewall permissions, which users often unknowingly provide.
- Unknowingly spreading malware: Malware implanted in peer-to-peer content often propagates by the the same users unknowingly uploading the malware into other computers.
- Violating copyright infringement laws: Even the innocuous content can sometimes lead to legal trouble. Media shared on peer-to-peer networks is often copyright protected, and is being spread illegally.
- Using close-range communications: Features such as Airdrop, Bluetooth, and NFC (Near-Field Communication) are useful, but provide an avenue for malicious users to attack. The best way to avoid receiving unwanted communications through these channels, however, is to simply close them when they are not in use.
- Posing as protective software: One tactic that can be used by malware creators is to disguise the malware as a download for a popular antivirus. When the user is prompted to give the program extensive permissions, the name's reputation prompts the user to trust it, although the malware could be used to steal or delete sensitive information.
Make sure you are vigilant about what you are downloading! And remember:
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.