ShmooCon: P2P Snoopers Know What's In Your Wallet

Being security researchers and all, Larry Pesce and Mick Douglas thought it would be a hoot to take a look at some of the information people send out over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. They were taken aback by what they found.

At the 2010 ShmooCon security conference Friday, the duo showed off the extremely sensitive information they've been able to intercept, including driver's licenses and passports, tax return forms with Social Security numbers; someone's last will and testament and information on one man's secret activities that could potentially be exploited by terrorists.

Also from ShmooCon:

Douglas and Pesce were inspired to look at P2P networks after highly-publicized incidents where leaked out on a LimeWire file-sharing network. In another incident, were found in a publicly available shared folder on a computer in Tehran, Iran, after apparently being leaked over a P2P network.

As part of the experiment, the duo used such search terms as word, doctor, health, passwd, password, lease, license, passport and visa. File names used included password.txt, TaxReturn.pdf, passport.jpg, visa.jpg,license.jpg,signons2.txt, and signons3.txt. They also hunted for material with the following file extensions: .pst, .cfg, .pcf, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .pdf, .tax, .qdb, .qmd, .qsd, .qtx, .idx, .qif, .mny, .ofx, .ofc, .txt.

Pesce described the findings as a lesson in stupidity and compared the act of stealing identities through P2P to "clubbing baby seals."