A new warning signal regarding the PC security appeared after Gregory Kopiloff from Seattle received 51 months of prison for committing identity theft through the LimeWire peer-to-peer networks.
After he was arrested in September, he was charged of mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and accessing a protected computer without authorization. He was sentenced to jail by the U.S. District Court in Seattle and ordered to pay $70,000 in restitution.
In order to locate and download federal tax returns, student financial aid applications, and credit reports from the PCs of other P2P users, he utilized file-sharing programs. He not only used stolen identities to open accounts over the Internet, but he also make use of the dumpster diving and stealing mail methods.
This case of P2P networks used to commit identity theft is the first of this kind, as federal prosecutors agreed. After an investigation made by InformationWeek, was revealed that, in the P2P networks’ case, the number of personal information and sensitive business documents increased. More information on this subject is available in "Your Data And The P2P Peril" and "Our P2P Investigation Turns Up Business Data Galore."
Music, video, and other files can be shared through the file-sharing programs. LimeWire (for the Gnutella network), BitComet (BitTorrent), and FrostWire (Gnutella) are three of the top 10 Windows programs are file-sharing apps available on Download.com.
They registered 2 million downloads on the site in one week and more than 200 million downloads in total and are not the only existing: Kazaa, Morpheus, eMule, and BearShare are from the same category.
If Kopiloff was caught, doesn’t mean that others won’t try to do what he did, especially when users store personal data in the same folder used for music sharing or are not careful when configuring the application, exposing too much of their hard drive.