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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 16:18 GMT
Morpheus file-sharing 'safe'
Napster user
Online song-swapping is very popular
The popular file-sharing service Morpheus has denied reports of a security hole in its software.

The company behind Morpheus, Streamcast Networks, said in a statement that there had never been a security breach in Morpheus since its introduction in April 2001.

Streamcast reminds its users to be sure they are not sharing files they want to keep private or files that are copyrighted

Streamcast statement
However, members of the computer security group 2600 said on Sunday that they had found a way of exploiting the way the file-sharing software works to gain access to more than just music or video files on a user's hard drive.

The exploit, first reported by BBC News Online, appears to be a result of the way people have set up the program.

It means that potentially millions of people who have downloaded Morpheus may be accidentally sharing more files on their computer than they intended.

Leading file-sharing expert Jack Spratts said: "It seems to be a vulnerability exclusively for those inexperienced enough to share entire drives."

"For those caught unaware, this exploit can be catastrophic, regardless of how much responsibility they share in their own misfortune," he told BBC News Online.

Sharing too much

Morpheus works by allowing people to share files on their computer and swap them over the internet.

When people download Morpheus, they are advised to place the files that they want to share in their My Shared Folder within the program.

This ensures that the user does not inadvertently share something private, as all files in shared folders are accessible by any other Morpheus users.

However, Stuart Moore, who runs, said: "It appears that many people have set up the program to share the entire C: drive, whether by accident or on purpose."

Keeping files private

Using the exploit discovered by the members of the 2600 group, anyone could pry into the computer of a Morpheus user who is sharing their entire hard drive.

But in a statement, Streamcast said it "reminds its users to be sure they are not sharing files they want to keep private or files that are copyrighted".

"Morpheus provides the best user experience available due to its ease of use, rapid download capabilities and persistent data.

"Streamcast is very committed to providing this technology product to consumers to give them a way to communicate and share information directly," the company said.

Morpheus is one of the most popular file-sharing programs. It has been downloaded over 60 million times in just 10 months.

See also:

29 Oct 01 | New Media
File-swapping 'halves' in Europe
05 Dec 01 | Sci/Tech
Goner virus gets everywhere
10 Oct 01 | Business
Napster 'successors' emerge
10 Oct 01 | New Media
Crunch day for Napster
12 Jun 01 | Business
EU opens online music probe
06 Jun 01 | Business
Victory for music giants?
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