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News

File Sharing Networks Provide Point of Access to Data Thieves

LifeLock : 12 March, 2010  (Technical Article)
LifeLock is warning users of Peer-to-Peer networks that it is common for such networks to be unprotected from data and identity theft
According to the Washington Post, in any given second, nearly 22 million people around the globe are on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks downloading and swapping movies, software and documents over the Internet. Unfortunately, these same networks also provide identity thieves an open door to consumers' personal information. LifeLock is warning consumers about one of the latest identity threats facing consumers today. Cyber thieves are targeting their newest identity victims through the use of file-sharing networks. Consumers and their family members need to be wary about with whom they share music, photos or documents online because criminals could be downloading the information stored on personal computers, including Social Security numbers, home addresses and even health information.

Users of file-sharing networks can inadvertently expose the contents of entire hard drives containing personal information to others on the network. By simply searching for specific keywords, identity thieves are able to access and download personal information of thousands upon thousands of individuals. Footage from The Today Show in February 26, 2009, demonstrated the dangers of these networks. They found an astounding 25,800 student loan applications, more than 150,000 tax returns and nearly 626,000 credit reports, all made easily accessible on file-sharing networks.

While antivirus software can help protect computers from viruses, many of these programs cannot help stop thieves from accessing the computer's hard drive, especially if the computer user has given the intruder permission through a file-sharing network. Through the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, consumers are essentially handing over this access.

In addition, many consumers are not aware of the ways in which the people they trust with their personal information store that information or keep it private, such as doctors or employees of financial institutions. According to the Washington Post, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently warned nearly 100 organizations, including companies, schools and local governments, that the personal information of their customers and/or employees had been leaked onto online file-sharing networks. The information found included Social Security numbers, health information and drivers' licences.

LifeLock was the first to offer peace of mind with an identity theft solution that helps protect from theft via peer-to-peer networks. Now, with LifeLock Command Center membership, LifeLock provides a comprehensive service that helps put a stop to these online data breaches. This exclusive service uses the latest advancements in technology to actively search file-sharing networks worldwide for consumers' personal information. When a leak is detected, LifeLock alerts the member with specific details and then takes action to help shut down the breach of information.

In addition, LifeLock alerts members to many other potential identity threats, patrols over 10,000 criminal Web sites for the illegal selling of personal information, helps cancel or replace the contents of a stolen wallet (excludes pictures, cash and other monies), giving consumers peace of mind that their information is protected 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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