File sharing clampdown

Isis Forensics, a Lancaster University spin-out company, has developed a tool to help businesses clamp down on illegal file sharing.

Isis Forensics, a Lancaster University spin out company, has developed a tool to help businesses clamp down on illegal file sharing.

Businesses can face serious consequences from illegal file sharing that takes place on their network, whether the files contain confidential client data or copyrighted material such as music downloads.

But many companies appear to be powerless to stop it. As part of a study, Isis Forensics observed that more than a third of FTSE 100 companies and more than half of Fortune 100 companies were sharing copyrighted material such as music, films and software using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing software.

By building on P2P file sharing monitoring techniques, Isis Forensics can non-invasively monitor the file sharing activities of organisations based anywhere in the world and alert them should compromising behaviour be detected.

James Walkerdine of Isis Forensics said: ‘The risks of illegal file sharing are huge. There have been examples of file sharing software bypassing a company’s network security. This has led to virus infiltration making company computers open to attack.

‘There have also been documented cases of employees accidentally sharing sensitive information – this is particularly worrying for an organisation that is responsible for financial or personal information relating to clients.’

He added: ‘Isis Forensics can monitor file sharing activity to ensure it is safe without interfering with day-to-day business. Ultimately we can help companies to stop illegal file sharing before it becomes a problem and they are faced with the consequences.’

Isis Forensics was created by Danny Hughes and James Walkerdine of Lancaster University’s computing department.

Their company is already working with a range of large international organisations and has provided services to public institutions both in the UK and abroad.