Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Dark Secrets of Kazaa

Peer to Peer (P2P) downloading/file sharing has become a craze! People use software like Limewire, BearShare, and Kazaa to exchange large amounts of content on any given day. In matter of fact, a large amount of the total internet bandwidth is used for file sharing. But this all comes with a price. Though it's an easy way to gather any type of electronic formats of media, many times it's not what you're looking for. I've seen spyware, viruses, trojans, and all sorts of other malware, disguised as media, available for download. Often times a user will download this malware and before it's too late, their computer is infected.

This may be a familiar story to many out there, but there is also another aspect that is not often looked at. The software that many people use to share files (such as Limewire, Berkshire, Kazaa) can also contain malware. It's possible that along with the file sharing program, one may also be installing web traffic analyzers, malicious data gathering tools, etc. MSNBC had an interesting article that describes Kazaa as one of the leading pieces of spyware out today.

A corporate-backed watchdog group that monitors software for deceptive and abusive practices on Wednesday named a widely used file-sharing program and three other applications as violators of its guidelines.

Kazaa, which its producer Sharman Networks claims is the most popular program for sharing files over the Internet, "misleadingly advertises itself as spyware-free, does not completely remove all components during the uninstall process, interferes with computer use, and makes undisclosed modifications to other software," according to a report from the group