What Are the Best Methods for Transferring Digital Files?

The exchange of digital files, encompassing various types of data such as text, images, audio, and video, has become an integral part of our routine activities at home and in professional settings. Although several approaches are available for transferring such files, certain methods may pose cybersecurity threats. In a corporate environment, the responsibility of securing file-sharing falls under IT systems management; however, individuals must take ownership of their actions in the personal context. This article will explore the primary file transfer techniques, their pros and cons, and their potential security risks.

Send files by email.

Although emailing files as attachments remains a common and straightforward file-sharing method, it presents significant security risks. All emails pass through a mail server that any unauthorized individual can access, potentially leading to data theft. Moreover, network sniffers can intercept data on the network between the sender and the mail server. Such breaches can have severe consequences, including identity theft or loss of sensitive company data.

The best way to secure data during file transfer is to encrypt it, particularly for significant data files. Encryption is not necessarily complex and can be done easily by users. Moreover, it is advisable to use a Virtual Personal Network (VPN) that provides a secure tunnel between the device and the network, making it difficult for malicious individuals to identify the user’s IP address.

Transfer files by USB flash drive

USB keys are a convenient and easy-to-use method for file sharing, especially for large files that are too big to send through email. While USB keys are less likely to experience data theft, they are a popular vector for virus transmission, as an infected USB key can spread throughout the system rapidly. Traditional network security procedures may be insufficient to safeguard against such threats. Additionally, some PCs may have automatic execution enabled, preventing prior analysis of the USB key. The same risks apply to other removable storage media like external hard drives, optical discs, and memory cards.

To prevent virus transmission through USB keys, it is necessary to disable automatic execution in PC settings and install high-quality antivirus software. Antivirus software is essential to protect the system from virus attacks and maintain its integrity.

Share files with an online sharing service.

Online file-sharing services have grown in popularity in recent years for personal and professional use. Such services typically route files through their servers before downloading. They offer a notable advantage of sharing up to several gigabytes of large files.

From a virus perspective, most online file-sharing sites are relatively secure, and the risk of infection is minimal. However, there is still a risk of data theft, especially when using low-end sites.

To mitigate such risks, users should opt for secure sites with data encryption, such as Transfer XL. Additionally, users can manually encrypt their data or install a VPN for added security.

Use a P2P network to send files.

P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing involves connecting two computers on the same internet network to share files. This transfer method has become popular due to its speed and convenience, particularly in business settings.

However, P2P file sharing is perhaps the riskiest way of transferring files, as it poses a significant risk of virus infection and data theft. P2P networks are notorious for breeding for malware and other online threats. Downloading files via P2P is often more dangerous than downloading from a website (excluding illegal sites). Furthermore, low-quality P2P software frequently contains security vulnerabilities that can compromise the security of users’ files and allow unauthorized access by other network users.

Indeed, to minimize the risks associated with P2P file-sharing, it is recommended to follow the same precautions as with other file transfer methods. This includes deactivating automatic execution, installing up-to-date antivirus software, and using a VPN for additional security.

It is also important to be cautious when selecting the P2P software to use. Opt for well-known and reliable software with built-in security features. Avoid using free or unlicensed software, as it is often less secure and more vulnerable.

While P2P file-sharing can be a practical and fast way to share files, it is essential to be aware of the associated risks and take all necessary precautions to protect your data and system from potential threats.

Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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