Commentary

Some File-Sharers Leave Trails To Their Front Door

Following the publication of a paper which investigates how using the same username across multiple web sites may expose Internet users to scammers, TorrentFreak decided to apply the same research idea to a random sampling of file-sharers, with some eye-opening results.

A team of researchers from the French National Institute of Computer Science (INRIA) has just published their study of over 10 million usernames collected from Google profiles, eBay accounts and other sources. They discovered that around half of the usernames could be linked to another matching online profile, which could enable scammers to build up a more detailed profile of individuals they wish to target.

“A scammer could use this information to build a profile of a person and then target them with convincing phishing messages—perhaps referring to specific purchases on another website,” writes TechnologyReview in response to the study.

But while this research is certainly relevant to Internet users in general, it is also of great interest to those who may be sharing files online without the copyright holder’s permission. Continue reading…

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