March 28, 2005

Are You Sharing Your Children’s Pictures With Pedophiles?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:37 pm

What a horrible thought.

And yet, you may be doing exactly that if your computer contains Peer to Peer software, the type that countless people use to share music files.

As Rick, at See What You Share, has pointed out in the past, unless you configure your Peer to Peer software to permit sharing only music files, anyone with the same software can access all the files on your C Drive.

The possibility of sharing your kids’ pictures with pedophiles is not a bunch of theoretical baloney. Rick has seen instances where the pictures of User A’s children stored in his computer have shown up on the User B’s computer, along with numerous child p0rm files (as is plain from the disgusting file names).

The problem is that many, if not most, of these programs default to permitting the sharing of all files, and they automatically run each time you boot up your computer. The net result is that the same freak who can download pictures of your kids also can download your resume, your tax returns, your correspondence, your credit card and banking information and everything else that you may have stored on your C Drive, including the type of information that makes locating you and or your children a snap.

This is frightening stuff and something that law enforcement authorities and legislators had best begin paying attention to. Law enforcement authorities can and should use Peer to Peer software to locate and prosecute child p0rn collectors and purveyors who prey upon unsuspecting Peer to Peer software users. Legislators can also play a role by requiring the licensors of Peer to Peer software to configure their programs such that they do not default to “all files.” In addition, the software companies should be required to prominently post a warning of the potential consequences of permitting access to “all files.”

However, at the end of the day, the most important tool to combat this problem is education. People who use Peer to Peer software must be made aware that, while they think they are only sharing tunes, they might actually be sharing the entire contents of their computers with countless numbers of people all over the world, many of whom are predatory animals.

Memo to Mainstream Media: Wake up!!!

Update: Michelle Malkin weighs in with “Child Porn and P2P: a Reality Check,” which includes some horrific screen shots.

5 Comments »

  1. That’s been known for YEARS… but whenever computer security geeks (like me) say anything – we get shot down for being kill-joys. After all – no one would REALLY get on your computer now would they… how could you possibly have anything they would be interested in??? We just want to take all the joy out of downloading and sharing music – there’s no real threat – just ask anyone who uses Napster, Grokster and all the other P2P software. I gave up on that one – let ‘em lose all their info… I get tired of beating my head against the wall – gives me a headache.

    Comment by Teresa — March 29, 2005 @ 12:25 am

  2. That is exactly why Paul refuses to use any music sharing program.

    Comment by Kate — March 29, 2005 @ 10:07 am

  3. I’ve been using WinMX for a year or so. It allows you to block access to any files, even the music files. So I can download but not share anything. It’s still risky, though. I gave up on McAfee and Norton security – both let viruses get onto my PC even though kept up-to-date. I’m using Panda these days on the advice of my compute repair guru. So far so good . . .

    Comment by Shamrock — March 29, 2005 @ 10:31 am

  4. That’s why you put an old bare bones PII on the network… ;) Nothing in it anyone would care to get to, and you strip it of anything valuable as soon as it downloads….

    Not that I do that, mind you. That’s illegal, right? I mean, I’ve just heard things….

    Comment by pam — March 29, 2005 @ 1:32 pm

  5. Holy cow!

    It never even occured to me. There’s no telling what my daughter has loaded up on my pc. I need to look for it…now.

    Comment by jmflynny — March 29, 2005 @ 9:53 pm

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