The downside is that being “always on” renders computers more susceptible.
Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection—be it spyware or a botnet that employs your computer’s resources to reach out to other unwitting users.
The FBI is educating and warning citizens about certain risks and dangers associated with the use of Peer-to-Peer systems on the Internet.
While the FBI supports and encourages the development of new technologies, we also recognize that technology can be misused for illicit and, in some cases, criminal purposes.
The FBI cautions parents and guardians that, because there is no age restriction for the use of Peer-to-Peer services, pornography of all types is easily accessible by the many young children whose parents mistakenly believe they are only accessing music or movies.
In fact, children may be exposed to pornography—and subsequently lured by sexual predators—even though they were not searching for pornography, as some network users deliberately mislabel the names of files for this purpose.
The FBI urges you to learn about the risks and dangers of Peer-to-Peer networks, as well as the legal consequences of copyright infringement, illegal pornography, and computer hacking. The FBI takes seriously its mission to enforce the laws against those who use the Internet to commit crime.
These networks are established for the purpose of sharing files.
In fact, some worms have been specifically written to spread by popular Peer-to-Peer networks.
Also, if Peer-to-Peer software is not properly configured, you may be unknowingly opening up the contents of your entire hard drive for others to see and download your private information.
Typically, users of Peer-to-Peer networks install free software on their computers which allows them (1) to find and download files located on another Peer-to-Peer user's hard drive, and (2) to share with those other users files located on their own computer.
Unfortunately sometimes these information-sharing systems have been used to engage in illegal activity.