Category Archives: Peer to Peer

PC Tools Exposes “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Cyber Threat

imageThe waiting game is almost over for Harry Potter fans who are hungry to feast their eyes on the much-anticipated final chapter in the Harry Potter franchise – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

There are always those of course who won’t wait – in this case until July 15. You know the type – the buttinskis who push ahead of you in line, or cut you off on the expressway – the ones you’d like to clunk upside the head.

Unfortunately, the obnoxious dimwits who behave in this way, tend to repeat this behavior across a broad range of personal activity, and I suspect, that the niceties of copyright law is well below their personal radar horizon.

The reigning experts in social engineering – cybercriminals (who, in my view, could teach “legitimate social engineering experts” a thing or two), are well aware of the “can’t wait buttinskis”, and in a perfect replay of the old “there’s no honor amongst thieves”, have made available through free torrent downloads –Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, except

ExceptPC Tools, the company which brings you PC Tools Firewall Plus (free), ThreatFire (free), and of course a complete line of award-winning commercial grade security offerings, has discovered that these free torrent downloads are nothing more than a new online malicious scam. Gotta admit – I love Karma payback!

I’m posting the bulletin PC Tools sent me yesterday on this, since it’s very instructive in terms of just how much effort cybercriminals will go through, in order to penetrate a target’s computer.

It’s not often possible to capture an online attack as it occurs, but in this case, PC Tools managed to do just that – see images and links listed below.

Here’s how the malicious scam works:

  • First, a user searches torrents for free downloads of the final Harry Potter movie
  • Results claiming to offer a free download of the new movie appear
  • Once users download the file, .RAR file and password.txt downloads appear
  • Users receive a message saying, “This video is password protected to stop automated leeching and detection. To get your password, please visit:
  • Here, users are taken through a series of instructions to obtain their password.

One of which is choosing a link for a special offer while the site “verifies” the password

  • Once users click on an offer, a new tab and pop-up open, asking users to save what seems to be a legitimate file
  • After saving the file, cybercriminals have access to your computer—and the movie, of course, never appears on the screen

Harry Potter Threat  Exposed

Here’s what victims find while searching for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 movie or videos:

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Users can discover apparently ripped versions of the new Harry Potter movie on file-sharing websites.

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It looks like the movie is being downloaded on the victim’s computer.

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The victim is instructed to decompress the archive.

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RAR and password.txt files suddenly appear.

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User is told to visit separate website by password.txt file.

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The victim then sees this screenshot, claiming to be MovieYT.com.

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User follows 3-step instructions, which takes them to a verification code check.

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User clicks on VLC Player and a new tab is opened.

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When hovering over the download button, the download executable file looks real.

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Once the user clicks on the file, they are prompted to save it – this, of course, contains malware.

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While all this is happening, the user is still waiting for the “Verification Check” from MovieYT – but the cybercriminals now have access to the victim’s computer. They have your password and other personal information that they can use to further attack you, your finances, your friends and social networks.

Worth repeating: Consider the trade-offs, and the very real risks involved with Peer to Peer and Torrent applications.

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share. So be sure to setup the file-sharing software very carefully.

If you don’t check the proper settings when you install the software, you could allow access not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive, such as your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, and other personal and financial documents.

It’s extremely important to be aware of the files that you place in, or download to, your shared folder. Don’t put information in your shared folder that you don’t want to share with others. Your shared folder is the folder that is shared automatically with others on peer to peer file sharing networks.

Copyright Issues: You may knowingly, or otherwise, download material that is protected by copyright laws and find yourself caught up in legal issues. Copyright infringement can result in significant monetary damages, fines, and even criminal penalties.

Some statistics suggest as many as 70% of young people between the ages of 9 – 14, regularly download copyrighted digital music. If you are a parent, you bear the ultimate responsibility for this illegal activity.

Adult Content: Again, if you are a parent you may not be aware that their children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family computer, and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography, or other material that may be unsuitable for them. It’s not unusual for other peoples’ files to be mislabeled and you or your children can unintentionally download these files.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. Spyware monitors a user’s browsing habits and then sends that data to third parties. Frequently the user gets ads based on the information that the spyware has collected and forwarded to these third parties.

I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove. Before you use any file-sharing program, you should buy, or download free software, that can help prevent the downloading or installation of spyware, or help to detect it on your hard drive if it has been installed.

Viruses: Use and update your anti-virus software regularly. Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might pick up from other users through the file-sharing program.

Generally, your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving possibly destructive files. While downloading, you should avoid files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd.

Default Closing Behavior: It is critical that you close your connection after you have finished using the software. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and will increase your security risk. Be sure to turn off this feature in the programs “preferences” setting.

What’s more, some file-sharing programs automatically run every time you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you should adjust the file-sharing program’s controls to prevent the file-sharing program from automatically starting.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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10 Comments

Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, PC Tools, Peer to Peer, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

GigaTribe Private P2P – Share Your Videos, Pics, And Docs Privately

image A few days ago, I ran a few tests on peer to peer downloads, on the off chance that things had improved in this malware infested playground. No such luck, of course.

Of the five game files that I downloaded, every one came packed with a Trojan downloader, which, had I installed any of these applications, would have wrecked havoc on my test machine.

In a nutshell, that’s the main problem with public peer to peer file sharing. The chances are high, that you will not get what you think you will, and you will get what you don’t think you will.

Additional issues (but not the only issues) are:

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share.

Spyware: There’s a chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove.

So what’s a fellow to do who enjoys file sharing, and who doesn’t want to be burned by the cybercriminals who skulk on public file sharing networks, searching for victims?

A terrific solution to this quandary is a free application from GigaTribe. An application which is designed to create a private network between you, and your friends, relatives, co-workers, or, whomever you choose.

If you have every used peer to peer software, then you’ll find no learning curve involved in using GigaTribe – it’s functional, efficient, attractive, and “follow the bouncing ball” intuitive.

How much more simply can it be than this:

GigaTribe

The following graphic is from the publisher’s site.

image

Fast facts:

GigaTribe has more than 1, 600,000 users.
Its unique technology has been developed by talented programmers with a strong history in the software industry.

There are no limitations on quantity or file size.
All your files are kept on your hard drive, eliminating the need to transfer them to an external server.

Files are available in their original format.
In just a few clicks, you can share and also find files as if you were in a virtual library. You will see files as they were organized on the hard drive, and you can download them in their original format.

You don’t waste time uploading files.
Once you select which folders you want to share, the contents of those folders are instantly accessible to your friends.

Your files remain yours!
Files you have decided to share are not saved on another company’s equipment. You keep your data under your control.

It´s a two-way sharing service.
Each contact can both share and download. You decide which content is worth downloading among the files available to you.

You may invite up to 500 friends.

Transfer automatically resumes.
If a download is interrupted (for example, if a contact goes offline), the transfer automatically resumes with no loss of data when your contact comes back online.

Security is, of course, GigaTribe´s major concern.

Only the people you have invited can see your files. Only the folders you have selected are visible to your contacts. Every exchange is strongly encrypted – No one can see what is being shared.

Downloads are encrypted (Blowfish 256-bit).

As an added bonus, users’ can create profiles, and have access to personal chat and a private blog, all from within the program. Now that’s cool!

According to the developers, GigaTribe (although I haven’t tested this), can also be used to access your PC from a remote location.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, Windows 7. (no indication on the publisher’s site of x64 compatibility).

Languages: English, Español, Français, Deutsch, Italiano, Português

Download at: Gigatribe

It’s not often that I can rate an application 100%, but GigaTribe comes very close. A superb application! If you’re into private file sharing, or it’s something that you’ve considered, then give GigaTribe a whirl – I think you’ll be glad you did.

For additional information checkout the developer’s FAQ.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

6 Comments

Filed under downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Networking, Peer to Peer, Privacy, social networking, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Ditch Facebook – Go Private With Free Flink12

imageThere are 600 Million plus, active Facebook users, but I must confess – I’m not one of the active users. It’s true, I do have a Facebook page but, I use it sparingly.

Since many software developers are now into the – “visit our Facebook page, click on the Like button, and we’ll give you ……….” school of marketing,  I use my Facebook account to meet this manipulative requirement.

My list of grievances with Facebook is a long one, but privacy, or more precisely, the lack of privacy, overrides all other concerns – I’ll leave the considerable security issues aside, for the moment.

I’ve always found it difficult to get a handle on Facebook’s constantly shifting definition of privacy and, it’s difficult to understand and hard to apply, personal privacy restrictions.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I just can’t get my head around the idea of putting private information out into the ether of the Internet. On the other hand, there are those who love the Facebook experience, and it seemingly plays an important role in their lives. I think it’s safe to say, that this is a market which will continue to grow exponentially.

Some people see this as inevitable progress – but I’m not one of them. Instead, my definition of progress in this market, is the development of private social networking platforms. Platforms that are designed specifically for friends, families, and  work teams, to privately share, discuss, organize photos, videos, etc., – all in a single easy to use private environment.

One such platform that caught my attention recently is Flink12. It was a “no-brainer” really. An application that can set out in a sentence, or three, an approach to privacy that meets my requirements, is sure to grab my attention.

Here’s what Flink12 has to say on social sharing privacy:

“Privacy first” is the highest priority at Flink12. This approach ensures that your personal information will remain completely secure. With no privacy settings to manage, your information is automatically safe. Personal information will not indexed on the web by search engines. You decide when, where and how much of your life you want to share and with whom.”

Since Flink12 passed my first test, I went on to the next set of questions – did it meet my requirements for functionality? Did it meet my requirements for usability? It did in both cases – and, the following list of features was very convincing.

Fast facts:

Safe & Private – Our “Privacy first” approach ensures that your personal information will remain private. Your information will not be indexed on the web by search engines. We designed Flink12 at its roots to be “udderly” private. Users have complete control.

Easy Photo Sharing – Easy to upload, free, fast, private photo sharing. Caption your photos. Comment on photos. There are several options for sharing each photo and privatizing comments. It’s truly the best way to share photos and comments.

Private Texting/Chat – Free instant communication one-on-one between you and any person in your Flink. Texting is free on Flink12.

Blogging – Write about your personal thoughts and activities as often as you wish. Blogging on Flink12 is quick, easy and fun. There are several options for sharing of blogs and comments amongst your flinks.

Friend Mapping – See where your friends are anytime, worldwide. You have a choice to show your location to your Flink friends or not. Very useful for travelers or friends and relatives across the globe or meeting up with friends for coffee.

Playful Icon Themes – Never forget to play. Our icons are all about expressing yourself in a playful way. Flink icons are uniquely humorous and allow you to quickly share your mood, health, activities and events using preset text or by entering your own text. Choices of several fun themes such as Moms & Babies, Sports Fans, Diva’s, Teens and Pets are coming soon.

Web & Apps – You can join and update on any platform- website, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android and you only have to post it once- Flink 12 updates seamlessly on all platforms.

Alerts – There are several options for notifications or alerts from your friends. On mobile, MOO’s and cowbells let you know when your friends have posted fresh news.

For more information and to sign up – visit the developer’s site: Flink12

Bottom line:

Flink12 is a technology rich application; full of powerful features – many more than I’ve been able to cover in this short review. At the same time, Flink12 has been designed for speed and simplicity.

If you’re into social networking and privacy is a concern, then take Flink12 for a test drive – I think you’ll be glad you did.

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Filed under Cloud Computing, Connected Devices, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Mobile Applications, Networking, Peer to Peer, Privacy, Social Blogging, social networking, Social Networks, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

OPSWAT’s Latest Quarterly Report Breaks Down Antivirus Market Share, Windows Usage By Version, And More

imageIf you’re a techie then you’re very likely familiar with AppRemover, a free powerful anti-malware, antivirus application remover from OPSWAT. Beyond this direct connection however, you might not be familiar with OPSWAT.

So, who are OPSWAT, and what do they do?

From the site:

OPSWAT offers software manageability solutions to streamline technology partnerships between leading technology solutions and software vendors. By enabling seamless compatibility and easy management capabilities, we make connecting your solutions with other software applications effortless.

As a Blogger, information gatherer, and distributor, there is an additional area of OPSWAT’s expertise that I find invaluable, and that is – the regular reports which the company releases on vendor market share for antivirus, hard disk encryption, backup clients, and peer to peer applications.

In its latest quarterly report, (to be released later today), OPSWAT has focused on Worldwide and North American Antivirus vendors market share, with additional data breaking down Windows usage by version and, bonus data on Peer to Peer application usage.

Here’s a few teasers from this report:

The avast! Antivirus product line has helped AVAST Soware maintain its position as the top antivirus vendor worldwide for the last two quarters, despite a slight drop to 16.19% global market share in this report.

Avira GmbH and AVG Technologies are second and third in global market share with 13.22% and 11.47% respectively. In comparison to the worldwide data from our December 2010 report, Avira GmbH shows a considerable increase of 4.96%, which could result from a higher percentage of the current data originating from countries where they have a stronger hold on the market.

The only other worldwide market share increases were by AVG, with a 1.76% gain from the December report, Lavaso, with a 0.82% rise, and Comodo, with a minimal increase of 0.06%.

Worldwide Antivirus Market Share

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

North American Antivirus Market Share

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

The following graphic might hold some surprises for those who insist that Windows XP is dead. If you were to Google “Windows XP is dead”, for example, you might be surprised to see 25 Million search results.

I’m continuously amazed at the gullibility of consumers, particularly here in North America, who are so easily convinced to discard workable solutions in favor of “the latest and greatest”.

As one who continues to happily run Windows XP on an older machine, I must admit to a certain sense of satisfaction when more than half of Worldwide users continue to resist Microsoft’s planned obsolescence cycle.

And yes, I’m quite familiar with the so called “security issues” inherent in running XP. What I find curious is – on the one hand we (those of us involved in system security), extoll users to develop situational awareness while on the Internet, while on the other hand, there’s a tendency to lay the blame for system intrusion based, in large part, on older operating system deficiencies. Marketing gone mad, anyone?

Windows OS Usage – by Version

Click on the graphic to expand to original.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

P2P Application Market Share

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7 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Myths, Opinion, Peer to Peer, Point of View, Reports, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

BitDefender’s Free Virus Guard Protects BitTorrent Users

imageIf you’re into downloading open license movies, music, games and applications, then there’s a good chance you’re into the enormously popular BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing application.

Just to be clear – I am not a fan of public, peer to peer file sharing – here’s why: Peer to peer file sharing carries with it a high risk that the user will not get what he thinks he will. And, may pick up something nobody wants to pick up.

So is this a serious risk? You bet – take a look at the following from the BitTorrent Beginner’s Guide –  How do I know that someone isn’t sending out viruses on BitTorrent?

In short, you don’t. You should treat something downloaded with BitTorrent just like any file downloaded from the internet – that is, if you don’t trust the source of the file, then you should use caution when opening it.

BitTorrent guarantees that the content you download is not altered from when the torrent was originally created, but if the source files used to create the torrent were already infected, this will provide no protection!

What’s a user to do then, who enjoys file sharing through BitTorrent, and wants to reduce the risk of being burned by cybercriminals who lurk on public file sharing networks? BitDefender’s new Virus Guard, might provide part of the answer.

BitDefender’s free Virus Guard, which is now part of BitTorrent’s App Studio, is available to BitTorrent’s 80 million users.  Virus Guard quickly scans torrents before they’re launched, and flags any potential threats it finds; effectively giving users an opportunity to delete torrents before they can do any harm.

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Here’s a screen capture of the BitTorrent application with BitDefender’s Virus Guard installed. Click on the graphic to expand to original size – 1260 x 745.

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BitDefender’s Virus Guard Fast Facts:

Scan from within BitTorrent — avoid wasting resources on a full disk scan.

Check all torrent downloads (including ZIP, RAR, and TAR archives) to eliminate potential threats before they occur.

Protect against viruses and other malware using industry-leading technology.

Keep all your torrent downloads safe and clean.

BitDefender provides industry-leading protection based on two proactive threat detection technologies.

Virus definition library updated continuously to protect you from the latest threats.

Download Virus Guard at: BitTorrent’s App Studio.

Old advice, but more important than ever: Trade-offs and risks you should consider if you’re a fan of Peer to Peer file sharing.

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share. So be sure to setup the file-sharing software very carefully.

If you don’t check the proper settings when you install the software, you could allow access not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive, such as your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, and other personal and financial documents.

It’s extremely important to be aware of the files that you place in, or download to, your shared folder. Don’t put information in your shared folder that you don’t want to share with others. Your shared folder is the folder that is shared automatically with others on peer to peer file sharing networks.

Copyright Issues: You may knowingly, or otherwise, download material that is protected by copyright laws and find yourself caught up in legal issues. Copyright infringement can result in significant monetary damages, fines, and even criminal penalties.

Some statistics suggest as many as 70% of young people between the ages of 9 – 14, regularly download copyrighted digital music. If you are a parent, you bear the ultimate responsibility for this illegal activity.

Adult Content: Again, if you are a parent you may not be aware that their children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family computer, and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography, or other material that may be unsuitable for them. It’s not unusual for other peoples’ files to be mislabeled and you or your children can unintentionally download these files.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. Spyware monitors a user’s browsing habits and then sends that data to third parties. Frequently the user gets ads based on the information that the spyware has collected and forwarded to these third parties.

I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove. Before you use any file-sharing program, you should buy, or download free software, that can help prevent the downloading or installation of spyware, or help to detect it on your hard drive if it has been installed.

Viruses: Use and update your anti-virus software regularly. Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might pick up from other users through the file-sharing program.

Generally, your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving possibly destructive files. While downloading, you should avoid files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd.

Default Closing Behavior: It is critical that you close your connection after you have finished using the software. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and will increase your security risk. Be sure to turn off this feature in the programs “preferences” setting.

What’s more, some file-sharing programs automatically run every time you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you should adjust the file-sharing program’s controls to prevent the file-sharing program from automatically starting.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

15 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, BitDefender, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Malware Protection, Peer to Peer, Software, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

Free GigaTribe – Go Private With Your File Sharing

imageThe Recording Industry Association of America which represents the recording industry distributors in the United States, has managed to have LimeWire banished from the playing field – Boo, Hiss!!

I must confess though, I’ve never been a fan of public, peer to peer file sharing. Unfortunately, with public peer to peer file sharing, the risk factor that the user will not get what he thinks he will, is extremely high.

For example – the last time I tested public peer to peer file sharing, of the five game files that I downloaded, every one came packed with a Trojan downloader, which, had I installed any of these applications on my test machine., would have wrecked havoc.

The two main issues with peer to peer file sharing (but not the only issues) are:

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove.

So what’s a user to do who enjoys file sharing, and who doesn’t want to be burned by the cybercriminals who skulk on public file sharing networks searching for victims?

A terrific solution to this dilemma is provided by a free application from GigaTribe (last updated April 23th, 2010). An application which is designed to create a private network between you, and your friends, relatives, co-workers, or, whomever you choose.

If you have every used peer to peer software, then you’ll find no learning curve involved in using GigaTribe – it’s functional, efficient, attractive, and “follow the bouncing ball” intuitive.

How much more simply can it be than this:

GigaTribe

The following graphic is from the publisher’s site.

image

Fast facts:

GigaTribe has more than 1.5 Million users.
Its unique technology has been developed by talented programmers with a strong history in the software industry.

There are no limitations on quantity or file size.
All your files are kept on your hard drive, eliminating the need to transfer them to an external server.

Files are available in their original format.
In just a few clicks, you can share and also find files as if you were in a virtual library. You will see files as they were organized on the hard drive, and you can download them in their original format.

You don’t waste time uploading files.
Once you select which folders you want to share, the contents of those folders are instantly accessible to your friends.

Your files remain yours!
Files you have decided to share are not saved on another company’s equipment. You keep your data under your control.

It´s a two-way sharing service.
Each contact can both share and download. You decide which content is worth downloading among the files available to you.

You may invite up to 500 friends.

Transfer automatically resumes.
If a download is interrupted (for example, if a contact goes offline), the transfer automatically resumes with no loss of data when your contact comes back online.

Security is, of course, GigaTribe´s major concern.

Only the people you have invited can see your files. Only the folders you have selected are visible to your contacts. Every exchange is strongly encrypted – No one can see what is being shared.

As an added bonus, users’ can create profiles, and have access to personal chat and a private blog, all from within the program. Now that’s cool!

Here’s a great example of GigaTribe in action (testimonial from the publisher’s site).

GigaTribe allows us to exchange our course materials or photos and videos of our evenings. We do not need any more to transport our external disks for sharing the big files.

GigaTribe allowed to create a network of exchange exclusively intended for the students of the school. It facilitates sharing and the mutual help between students.

It’s not often that I can rate an application 100%, but GigaTribe comes very close. A superb application! If you’re into private file sharing, or it’s something that you’ve considered, then give GigaTribe a whirl – I think you’ll be glad you did.

Checkout GigaTribe’s one minute Guide.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7.

Languages: English, Español, Français, Deutsch, Italiano, Português

Download at: Gigatribe

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

7 Comments

Filed under downloads, File Sharing, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Peer to Peer, social networking, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

LimeWire Is Dead – Long Live FrostWire!

If you visit the official LimeWire website, you will, no doubt, be surprised to see the following message –  “This is an official notice that LimeWire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal.”

The Recording Industry Association of America which represents the recording industry distributors in the United States, has struck once again in its aggressive battle to combat what it defines as copyright infringement. While I’m not a supporter of copyright infringement, I do consider RIIA’s tactics not far removed from those that were once employed by the Spanish Inquisition. Heavy handed – to say the least.

image

Unfortunately, if you were a LimeWire user you’ve noticed that searching, downloading, uploading, file sharing and so on, are no longer available. But, don’t despair – there are other solutions. Maybe now is the time to take a close look at a LimeWire alternative – FrostWire.

FrostWire (newest version: 4.21), released September 29, 2010, is a free, open source Peer to Peer application which incorporates all of the now dead LimeWire’s functionality, as well as a number of the features of the old LimeWire Pro – including multi-threading downloads, and Turbo-Charged connections.

To insure broad appeal, FrostWire is a multi platform program running on Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, NT, Mac OS X 10.4 or later, Linux, and some flavors of Unix.

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Fast facts:

Open-source

Firewall-to-firewall transfers

Built-in community chat

Connects to more sources

Creative commons license support

Broadband network connection

Junk result filters

Turbo-Charged download speeds

iTunes integration

Gnutella support

BitTorrent support

Proxy Support

If P2P file sharing is one of your interests, then you’ll find that this program, with its highly intuitive interface, should meet all of your needs. With almost 30 Million downloads on CNET alone, calling this application “very popular” is a bit of an understatement.

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows NT, Windows XP, Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Linux, Unix such as Solaris.

Additional requirements: Java Runtime Environment 1.6

Download at: FrostWire.com

Note: Consider the trade-offs, and the very real risks involved in Peer to Peer file sharing.

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share. So be sure to setup the file-sharing software very carefully.

If you don’t check the proper settings when you install the software, you could allow access not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive, such as your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, and other personal and financial documents.

It’s extremely important to be aware of the files that you place in, or download to, your shared folder. Don’t put information in your shared folder that you don’t want to share with others. Your shared folder is the folder that is shared automatically with others on peer to peer file sharing networks.

Copyright Issues: You may knowingly, or otherwise, download material that is protected by copyright laws and find yourself caught up in legal issues. Copyright infringement can result in significant monetary damages, fines, and even criminal penalties.

Some statistics suggest as many as 70% of young people between the ages of 9 – 14, regularly download copyrighted digital music. If you are a parent, you bear the ultimate responsibility for this illegal activity.

Adult Content: Again, if you are a parent you may not be aware that their children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family computer, (Susan Naulls), and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography, or other material that may be unsuitable for them. It’s not unusual for other peoples’ files to be mislabeled and you or your children can unintentionally download these files.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. Spyware monitors a user’s browsing habits and then sends that data to third parties. Frequently the user gets ads based on the information that the spyware has collected and forwarded to these third parties.

I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove. Before you use any file-sharing program, you should buy, or download free software, that can help prevent the downloading or installation of spyware, or help to detect it on your hard drive if it has been installed.

Viruses: Use and update your anti-virus software regularly. Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might pick up from other users through the file-sharing program.

Generally, your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving possibly destructive files. While downloading, you should avoid files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd.

Default Closing Behavior: It is critical that you close your connection after you have finished using the software. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and will increase your security risk. Be sure to turn off this feature in the programs “preferences” setting.

What’s more, some file-sharing programs automatically run every time you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you should adjust the file-sharing program’s controls to prevent the file-sharing program from automatically starting.

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