ZapShares, Inc. announced today the public release of their ZapShares software, which is the first software specifically designed to help protect the 200 million users of P2P file-sharing software such as LimeWire, FrostWire, Shareaza, and Ares Galaxy who are at high risk of identity theft and lawsuits.
"Many people who use file-sharing software are at high risk of having their identity and private information stolen, or are at risk of being sued by copyright holders, and up until now there has been no solution," said Bernard Trest, President of ZapShares Inc.
A new study conducted by ZapShares shows that 95% of file-sharers are inadvertently making files available that could expose them to identity theft and lawsuits. "Many file-sharers are unintentionally sharing private information that can be used by identity thieves to empty out a victim's bank account or otherwise financially destroy a person," said Trest. The study found people are sharing, among other things, personal tax returns, banking and other financial information, credit card information, and other data that identity thieves could use to steal a person's identity. The US Federal Trade Commission has issued a consumer warning regarding the dangers of using file-sharing networks, stating that using such networks can lead to identity theft and lawsuits. Identity theft consistently ranks at the top of US Federal Trade Commission consumer complaints and costs consumers $1.2 billion annually.
"The abundant availability of private information on P2P file-sharing networks has now led to identity thieves and hackers using tools that automatically scan file-sharing networks for private data that can be used for the purposes of identity theft and other malicious reasons," said Trest. According to the ZapShares study, identity thieves and hackers are using these automated scanning tools to troll file-sharing networks for thousands of promising search terms such as "credit", "tax", "password", and "bank".
Businesses are also at risk. The ZapShares study also found confidential medical information, business plans, and sensitive financial data being inadvertently shared by employees of numerous businesses. Even more disturbing, the ZapShares study discovered the inclusion of many corporation names, some of which are involved in national security, and also the names of many government agencies.
People who share files using P2P file-sharing software are also at high risk of being sued by copyright holders. The entertainment industry has already filed lawsuits against well over 30,000 people that have shared copyrighted music and movies online. In one case, a Minnesota woman who was caught sharing music online was ordered by a jury to pay $222,000 in damages.
"Most people that use file-sharing software don't realize this," said Trest, "but many file-sharing programs by default automatically share every file you download. The sharing of copyrighted materials leaves the vast majority of users of these programs venerable to lawsuits by copyright holders."
To combat the rampant problem of identity theft and lawsuits on file-sharing networks, ZapShares Inc. has released a free software tool called ZapShares which scans a user's computer, identifies any potential security threats, and prevents potentially sensitive files from being shared.
ZapShares Inc. has launched two versions of their ZapShares software:
- ZapShares Basic, which is limited to scanning for security threats caused by file-sharing software that is installed on a person's computer. This basic version of ZapShares is offered as a free download and allows file-sharers to see if their computer has any security vulnerabilities caused by file-sharing software on their computer that could lead to identity theft and lawsuits.
- ZapShares PRO, which is a complete solution to help prevent file-sharers from being hit by identity thieves and lawsuits. ZapShares PRO automatically monitors a computer, identifies potential security threats caused by file-sharing software, and ensures that a user does not accidentally share files that could expose them and their private information to identity theft, or expose them to expensive lawsuits by copyright holders. ZapShares PRO also creates a "secure vault" by using temporary download folders that are automatically used by file-sharing software while downloading is in progress, and then moving the completed downloads to a final secure folder that is not shared over file-sharing networks. ZapShares PRO is available for $19.95.
ZapShares Inc.™ (zapshares.com) was founded in 2008 to develop innovative security solutions for P2P file-sharing networks.