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The Top 5 Threats of P2P Technology

written by: Matt Isaac•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 6/18/2010

This increasingly useful technology comes with rap-list as long as the wires connecting all these peers together. For those of you who have decided to take the step from leaching buddy to marauder of the tubes; there are a few key potholes to avoid, in-order circumvent an unsatisfactory experience.

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    Intro

    P2P content is something that affects most people living in developed areas of the world. Even those who have never used a computer in their entire life have benefited from it's use. How many times have you passed on video or music to a computer-incompetent friend? Despite the many years worth of popular entertainment it makes available, this increasingly useful technology comes with rap-list as long as the wires connecting all these peers together. For those of you who have decided to take the step from leaching buddy to marauder of the tubes; there are a few key potholes to avoid, in-order circumvent an unsatisfactory experience.

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    05 - ISP Account Changes

    Although it may not be spying in it's purest sense, your internet service provider is keeping tabs on your account. Due to the nature of the technology, p2p applications will share your downloads with other users who are searching for the same content, hence peer-to-peer. If an ISP discovers that a large percentage of a internet-user's connection is comprised of this p2p traffic then they may decide to take some sort of punitive action. Their weapons-of-choice being either: connection throttling or account cancelation. Connection throttling is a fairly self-explanitory process, meaning, in laymen's terms, that your max possible connection speed is temporarily reduced until the situation is rectified. This action will affect any application that connects to the internet, not only p2p software. To avoid these possible, weekend ruining consequences you should avoid being too generous and remember to take breaks from time to time. Locate your uploading or seeding settings(the specific name is dependent on the application) and make that the max upload speed is set moderately below your connections max upload speed.

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    04 - Fakes

    Because you are always retrieving content from somewhere other that it's original source, there is a exponentially greater risk of encountering fakes. From virus distributers to entertainment industry henchmen, many use these fake files as a delivery method for their lackluster schemes. These files may contain code to track your internet usage to find incriminating evidence, or use your computer in a massive online attack. The scariest part of this story being that most of the downloaded content will perform as intended, rendering the user unaware of the potentially dangerous activities going on in the background. Most p2p applications today have built-in security that will help prevent against such occurrences, but the best way to circumvent such disaster is a little common-sence. Use applications that allow users to leave feedback and ratings regarding the content. Compare the specific similarities of the good content that you download and learn trends. A lot of times, merely knowing the average size of a particular file type(music, video, etc) can prevent a user from downloading fake content.

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    03 - Quality

    Most users of p2p file sharing technology are specifically in search of entertainment. One of the greatest dilemmas in this search in bad quality. All of us at one point will download something only to delete it immediately after opening it. The problem being that we had to patiently wait for a file only to realize that the audio, video or both are so terrible that we are not willing to suffer though. Again this issue can be avoided with a little learning and common-sense. Most content is labeled with specifics regarding it's quality. Look for words like resolution, frame-rate, and bit-rate and pay close attention to these details so you can learn what looks and sounds better.

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    02 - Legality

    I am not one to judge those who do not wish to take out a mortgage to increase their music collection, but one must always keep in mind the legality of their actions. Some (meaning most) of the content available through p2p services is protected by copyright law. The distribution of this content without permission being illegal and punishable by law, unless you are located somewhere in Africa. Thousands of users around the globe have been sued by the entertainment industry in a an ill-concieved effort to curb this inevitable practice. Putting forth an unmistakable decree that from children to the dead, no one is safe from high media prices.

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    01 - Change

    Since one of my few redeeming qualities is my opinionated nature, it seems like a good idea to go out on it. That being said, my number one threat surrounding p2p technology is change. Perhaps, the realization that few of us turn off the VCR when we don't have express written consent, will drive the entertainment industry to stop raking us over the coals when it comes to media prices. Perhaps the slipping sales will teach them that there are two equal sides to this story and we are tired of being taken advantage of. The more they try to wrangle customers like cattle, the more will slip through their fingers. But, I must digress, for greed is a powerful drug and the industry junkies are numerous; so don't expect the change to happen soon.