PaidContent.org published an interesting article yesterday entitled, How ‘Cyberlockers’ Became The Biggest Problem In Piracy.
PaidContent uses the term “cyberlocker” to refer to browser-based-based file sharing applications which pose a new challenge to the music industry’s efforts to thwart illegal sharing of music, aka piracy.
The article highlights some of the better known applications like RapidShare, Hotfile, Mediafire, and Megaupload. It also points out that Google Docs qualifies as a cyberlocker, although it’s used mostly for Word and Excel documents.
What the article fails to mention is amount of malware lurking in these cyberlockers. The file you download may be the song you think it is or it may be trojan.
Palo Alto Networks, the Next Generation Firewall manufacturer, has the statistics to corroborate PaidContent’s claim that browser-base file sharing is growing rapidly.
Palo Alto Network’s Applipedia identifies 141 file sharing applications, of which 65 are browser-based.
Any organization which has deployed Palo Alto Networks can control the use of browser-based file sharing with the same ease as the older peer-to-peer file sharing applications.
Furthermore, if you configure Palo Alto to block the “file sharing” sub-category of applications, not only will all of the known file sharing applications be blocked, but any newly discovered ones will also be blocked. However, there are valid business use cases for using a file sharing application. Therefore you would want an exception for the one you have selected.
Finally should you choose to allow a file sharing application, Palo Alto will provide protection against malware.