Secure File Sharing Guide

We all know something about file sharing. It’s everywhere on the internet and most users have engaged with some type of file sharing. File sharing has gone through a lot of changes since the usenet newsgroups of the 1980s. But do you really know how it works, what the most common file sharing methods areor how secure it is?

Let’s find out!

What Is File Sharing?

The term ‘file sharing’ describes the process of sharing computer data in a network, privately or publicly. It can also happen outside a network, for example through an email attachment, or physically with removable storage devices. However, in most cases, file sharing simply means distributing files in networks with different access privileges for users. File sharing is generally illegal, except for un-copyrighted data.

How It Works

For network file sharing, a live network connection is required.When users share files, they allow other users to access those files through the network. This can be public, so everyone can get the file, or limited, so only certain users can access it. It can also relate to private file storage in a file system.

Forms of File Sharing

1. File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the standard network protocol for file sharing between a client and a server over TCP/IP connections. Since it’s a client-server protocol, it relies on two communication channels between client and server. A command channel is for handling conversation and a data channel is for transmitting data. With FTP, files can be uploaded, downloaded and deleted. The user can also execute other commands. FTP is most commonly used for transferring files between user interfaces like banking and other services.

2. Network File System (NFS)

Network File System (NFS) is a client-server application that allows users to store files and data remotely over a computer network. The NFS protocol is a common standard for network-attached storage (NAS). The NFS protocol is an open standard, so anyone can implement it. It’s most commonly used with Unix, Linux and macOS operating systems.

3. Peer-to-peer (P2P) File Sharing Networks

P2P is undoubtedly one of the most popular forms of file sharing. From Napster to Kazaa toBitTorrent, P2P file sharing has evolved over the years. Peer- to- peer file sharing is a form of data distribution through peer-to-peer networks. It requires external P2P supporting software. This software searches for other connected computers and looks for the requested file. The peers are usually end-user computers and distribution servers.

Cloud-based File Sharing

Cloud-based file sharing is becomingincreasingly popular. It allows users to store and share files via a cloud provider, which users can access from any internet-supporting device. Cloud file sharing allows users to grant access to other users to share data successfully. It is considered one of the most secure forms of file sharing because of providers’ high security standards, cloud backup and file-syncing methods.

Risks of Torrenting

Everyone knows torrenting can be risky if you’re not cautious. Two of the greatest risks of torrenting in 2018 are malware/viruses and copyright issues. Let’s explore these further.

1. Malware and Viruses

This is the mostcommon risk with torrenting. Hackers target software, games and other programs with malicious software.In addition, torrenters’ IP addresses are visible, so advertisers, hackers and other cybercriminals can easily find them and use them for nefarious purposes.

2. Copyright Issues

When a computer connects to a network, the BitTorrent protocol makes every IP addresses visible. Large companies aren’t likely to take legal action against users, but do have the right to decide whether to take any further steps.Some individuals send copyright settlement letters to downloaders; ignoring these and stopping the illegal activity is usually the best approach.

Tips for Security

1. Have Good Antivirus Software

Having reliable antivirus/antimalware software is a no brainer, especially if you torrent regularly. This is often an overlooked topic, but it shouldn’t be – even if you are careful, problems can arise if you don’t have proper protection. If you use updated antivirus andantimalware software, your chances for avoiding a harmful malicious threat are excellent. Such software can both detect and remove malware and viruses.

2. Set Up a VPN

Setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN)is always a good idea when you need extra security for your network. There is a wide range of VPNs for torrenting and file sharing, so you can find one that perfectly suits your needs.

BeAware of Security Issues

Lack of awareness is the most common reason that users are harmed or infected with malware. Fortunately, now you know the risks and dangers – as well as the methods to keep yourself secure – you can increase the chances of keeping your data and files safe.

Safikul Islam
Web Developer & SEO Specialist with 3+ years of experience in Open Source Web Development, specialized in Custom PHP & WordPress development. He is also the moderator of this blog "WebTechHelp".

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