Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker

The US Government (House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) is responding to reports that peer to peer (P2P) file sharing allows internet users to access other P2P users most important files including bank records, tax files, health records, and passwords files. This same P2P software allows users to download p2p pirated music, movies and software.

What’s interesting is that they didn’t already know this was going on. Probably most of the committee has kids who have iPods and their own home PCs probably have P2P software installed.

Recently an academic from Dartmouth College did a study and found medical files. In my own research I have uncovered tax returns, student loan applications, credit reports and multiple social security numbers. I’ve found family rosters which have usernames and passwords to all their sites and all the families’ socials. I’ve found their Christmas lists. Love letters, private photos and videos (naughty ones too) and just about anything else you can file digitally.

Installing P2P allows anyone including criminal hackers access to your data and can result in data breaches, credit card fraud and identity theft.

This is the easiest and frankly the most fun type of hacking there is.

I’ve seen reports of numerous government agencies, drug companies, mortgage brokers and others discovering P2P on their networks after social-security-card our data was leaked.

Recent reports of President Obamas private helicopters blueprints were compromised because a Maryland based defense contractor had P2P software leaking it to the wild wild web.

The committee sent letters to the countries Attorney General and FTC Chairman asking what the Department of Justice is doing to prevent illegal use of P2P. Which is kind of ridiculous, because it’s not illegal to use P2P programs. Even if made illegal, P2P is a wild animal that can’t be tamed.

The letter also asks what the government is doing to protect its citizens. OK. I’ve sat with both the FTC and the DOJ. These are not dumb people. I‘ve been very impressed by how smart they actually are. They know what they are doing and see the big issues we face. But they aren’t in a position to prevent an internet user from installing a free, widely accessible software, and being stupid about setting it up and sharing their C-drive with the world.

No government intervention can prevent this. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform should focus more on educating the public about smart use, or no use at all.

More than likely politicians are being lobbied and funded by the recording and motion picture industries to put pressure on the providers of such software. So letters like this and government noise p2p-image will not do anything to stop P2P. While there have been plenty of witch hunts leading to prosecutorial victories, the public will always be vulnerable and it is up to us individually to protect ourselves.

1. Don’t install P2P on your computers.

2. If you don’t know if a family member or employee installed P2P, do a scan of your machines and determine if anything is installed. A look at your “all programs menu” will show most everything and do a scan on the net and ask “what is…name of program” and the first page of search will tell you.

3. Set administrative privileges preventing the installation of anything.

4. If you like to dance with the devil make sure you don’t share your hard drives data and when setting it up don’t let the P2P program run a scan on your PC and select data for you.

5. Because you don’t have control of what others do on their PCs make sure you invest in identity theft protection and keep your PC updated with anti-virus protection.

6. If you have anything to add to this list please do.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker video hacking P2P getting lots of fun data.

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