Safe P2P File Sharing

Each year we often get asked: does NU allow the use of peer two peer (P2P) file sharing technology? The short answer is yes, but…

P2P technology, like any other tool can be used both for good and bad (illegal) activities. It is the responsibility of the user to stay within the laws while keeping their data safe and secure. Before you install and start looking for P2P files please keep in mind the following points:

1. To start off, federal regulations require us to state that it is illegal to download, distribute, or otherwise make available copyrighted material. Don’t do it, it is against the law and the NU Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) that you agreed to when connecting to the NU network.

Read more about Copyrights, Downloading, and how Northeastern University responds to these complaints.

2. P2P files may contain malware or spyware. You might think that you are downloading the latest song but it is actually a Trojan virus in disguise. Install and keep up to date anti-virus software on your computer (Apple and PC).

3. Misconfigured P2P software may expose your entire computers contents to the Internet. There have been many instances where an individuals’ sensitive information such as tax returns, photocopies of passports, and private pictures have ended up on P2P networks because local folders were not shared correctly. Read the software setup guide for proper configuration instructions.

4. P2P software may come bundled with adware and other malware. Just like free software you download from the internet P2P software may come with unwanted programs such as browser toolbars that will slow down your computer. Fully read the EULA before installing any free software.

5. Do not allow P2P uploading to your computer. To allow anonymous uploads is inviting the Internet to store copyrighted, malicious, and illegal material (child pornography) on your computer. You do not want to find yourself in a position having to explain why you own this material. Do not allow uploading.

6. Students, secure your residence hall wireless access point. As stated in the NU Appropriate Use Policy the individual who registers a wireless access point is solely responsible for ALL network activity over the access point. If your friends connect to your wireless network, YOU are responsible for their Internet activities. Ask them not to download copyrighted material.