Shifting sands in the P2P landscape

Some new research published by the Digital Music News Research Group has revealed some interesting changes in the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing applications.

Limewire rules the roost – according to the Digital Music News Research Group’s data it accounted for 36.4% of all P2P use in September 2007 (it was 34.1% a year before). The second most popular file-sharing application is µTorrent, which rose from 3.0% in September 2006 to 11.3% a year later.  Other products which have had their usage detailed include BitTorrent, Ares, Azureus, eMule, BitComet and Frostwire.

So why does this all matter to people tasked with securing their business?

Well, P2P file-sharing is not only a way for copyrighted material like music and movies to end up on your network, and a potential hit on your internet bandwidth, but it has also been a source for malware infection in the past (read about this Trojan which spread via the Japanese Winny P2P network for instance).

Furthermore, there have been countless incidents of uncontrolled use of P2P file-sharing applications leading to confidential data accidentally leaking into the public domain.

It’s important for all businesses to control their users’ behaviour online to avoid the problems of malware infection, accidental data leakage or copyright theft. One way to do that is only to allow authorised users to run approved P2P clients.

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Sophos’s Application Control functionality – which is integrated into Sophos Endpoint Security and Control – puts the power in system administrator’s hands to control usage of all of the P2P clients mentioned in the article above, apart from Frostwire. We’ll have added Frostwire to the list by the end of this month.  Of course, we also provide control over computer games, instant messaging applications, VoIP, and much more else besides.
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* Image source: Anthony Piraino’s Flickr photostream (Creative Commons 2.0)