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Study: P2P traffic growing more diverse, problematic

Thu, 01/23/2003 - 7:00pm
Duffy Hayes

According to a new study, peer-to-peer applications and traffic continue to proliferate on the Internet, moving beyond simple MP3 trading into other media formats, and creating traffic and security headaches for network administrators everywhere.

The new data from Websense Inc. shows that, because file sharing is moving beyond simple music files to include movies, software and even video games, the number of unique peer-to-peer applications available on the Web has grown to more than 130. Websense also reports that the number of P2P file sharing Web pages has increased more than 300 percent in just the last year to more than 89,000.

While the sharp increase in P2P traffic and pages means more file content is freely available for users to swap, a large percentage of the downloads are occurring at work, sapping corporate bandwidth and creating security headaches for corporate network administrators charged with keeping their networks efficient. Legal issues also loom over corporations that don't closely monitor what their employees are downloading via P2P applications.

However, it doesn't appear that corporations are overly concerned with the co-opting of their networks for personal P2P downloading; Websense reports that 64 percent of companies do not do even basic monitoring of music or video downloads by their employees.

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