I want to warn all my clients not to use Limewire. If you must download (uncopyrighted!) material through a file-sharing program, use a bit torrent program such as Bit Comet. The reason bit torrents are safer is that Limewire distributes the file from one source, while a bit torrent client downloads pieces of the file from many sources or “seeds”.
(Of course, it is illegal to download copyrighted music and video. You can purchase these online from many legitimate, virus-free sources including itunes and Rhapsody.)
You could think of the bit torrent model as more “community-based”. In the bit torrent model, every computer with a given file can be a a “seed”. This means the file is available for upload from that computer to another computer. The bit torrrent program can download pieces of the file from many different computers. The more people who have the file available for download (“seeds”), the more people have downloaded and saved it and the more likely it is that the file is legitimate.
This does not mean that bit torrent files are safe, only that you are less likely to download an infected file. When you download anything from the internet, you should run a virus scan on the file before opening it.
When I go on-site to a client’s home or business and see that little green Limewire icon, I know I’m looking at a spyware issue. I have yet to see a PC with Limewire installed that is not infected.
Please don’t use Limewire. The money you spend on getting your malware infection cleaned up will be greater than what you will save from free downloading.