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August 15, 2009

Peer to Peer software puts you at risk for identity theft

Robert Siciliano posted the following article on his blog at

"Peer to peer file sharing is a great technology used to share data over peer networks. It’s also great software to get hacked and have your identity stolen.

Installing P2P software allows anyone, including criminal hackers, to access your data. This can result in data breaches, credit card fraud and identity theft. This is the easiest and, frankly, the most fun kind of hacking. I’ve seen reports of numerous government agencies, drug companies, mortgage brokers and others discovering P2P software on their networks after personal data was leaked.


I did a story with a Fox News reporter and a local family who had 4 kids, including a 15 year old

with an iPod full of tunes, but no money. I asked dear old dad where she got all her music and he replied 'I have no idea'. What he didn’t know was she had installed P2P on the family PC and was sharing the families data with the world. The reporter asked much personal information I could find on the P2P network in 5 minutes, I responded, 'lets do it in 1 minute'.

There are millions of PCs loaded with P2P software and the parents are clueless their data is in the hands of identity thieves. P2P is the path of least resistance into a persons computer. Make sure your PC isn’t loaded with P2P.

Don’t install P2P software on your computer.

If you aren’t sure whether a family member or employee has installed P2P software, check to see whether anything unfamiliar has been installed. A look at your “All Programs Menu” will show nearly every program on your computer. If you find an unfamiliar program, do an online search to see what it is you’ve found.

Set administrative privileges to prevent the installation of new software without your knowledge.

If you must use P2P software, be sure that you don’t share your hard drive’s data. When you install and configure the software, don’t let the P2P program select data for you.

Get a credit freeze. Go to and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief."
All good points on how to prevent identity theft via a P2P program. You should also know your rights under the FCRA and, when necessary, consult a consumer attorney to protect those rights.

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