How to Avoid Malware From Illegal Streaming Sites? | What to Watch Out For

Pirating was on the decline, well…at least in Europe. According to a 2019 European Union Intellectual Property Office study, only 49 percent of those polled between the ages of 15 and 24 admitted to stealing stuff from sites such as The Pirate Bay – a rather large decrease from 2016 when 60 percent of young people the same age confessed to doing so.  As you might expect, the poorer the country, the higher the piracy. In Germany and the UK – the first and second richest EU countries – numbers in 2019 hovered around 14 percent for the aforementioned age demographic. In Lithuania, which is among the 10 poorest nations in the European Union, youth piracy figures were about 45 percent.

CDs with Software Piracy note

Piracy and Streaming Malware Stats and Acts

The spikes in the numbers of malware-infected machines, stolen passwords, and the theft of other sensitive personal information and data on computers have been described by some news outlets as “unprecedented.” What’s more, cybercriminals are now also using legitimate-looking sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video to spam, scam, or scan you online. Take : this open-source media player can be installed on all sorts of devices including Apple TV, and Amazon’s Firestick. Kodi, by itself, is not illegal. However, some bad actors leverage the platform for evil, such as with “add ons” or “plugins.” They might promise “premium” content with a quick download of this or that, but what they really want is to install a Trojan viral horse into your laptop and network.

In recent years, the United States Congress has tried to go after radio pirates, with the House passing legislation to stop illegal broadcasting called “The PIRATE Act (Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement).” The bill is still stuck in the US Senate, but no points for guessing what many radio pirates did when they started to feel the heat: they switched to streaming platforms. Like any new tech, streaming has solved some issues, while creating others.

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Beware of Malware From Illegal Streaming Sites!

As the great plague of 2020 arrived and kept much of the world indoors and bored…cue the illegal tv streaming sites. 123 Movies or Go Movies are just two examples of the numerous TV or movie illegal streaming variants that have cropped up. No sign-up, no login – just find the movie or show you want and stream it: illegally – an even simpler option than a bit torrent download. But nothing comes for free, and in the case of “free” streaming sites, you often pay by allowing malware or malicious software onto your computer.

Stats from industry analyst Muso show that – as Covid hit hardest – visits to TV piracy sites skyrocketed, with March 2020 numbers showing over 600 million TV piracy site views, beating visits to film piracy sites hands down, where 137 million visits were recorded. It should be common sense, but some may not be aware that by either users browsing or visiting an illegal streaming site – and of course by downloading illegal files – you’re opening your digital presence up to a boatload of security issues.

Promises of Premium Content May Deliver Trojans and Other Viruses

The spikes in the numbers of malware-infected machines, stolen passwords, and the theft of other sensitive info and private information such as bank account or credit card information on computers have been described by some news outlets as “unprecedented.” What’s more, cybercriminals are now also using legitimate-looking sites to spam, scam, or scan you online.

Take Kodi as an example: this open-source media player can be installed on all sorts of devices including Apple TV, and Amazon’s Firestick. Kodi, by itself, is not illegal. However, some bad actors leverage the platform for evil, such as with “add ons” or “plugins.” They might promise “premium” quality content with a quick download of this or that, but what they really want is to install a Trojan viral horse into your laptop and wireless network.

a person holding a Cyber Crime sign

What Is the Best Way to Stay Safe While Streaming?

Having a legal subscription to a legitimate site is obviously the best way to stay safe while streaming. But boosting your online defenses, in general, is a good idea as well. It’s shocking how many intrusive ads – many of which appear on “real” websites – are actually secret malware.

One way of stopping malware of all sorts is by simply blocking it, and you can try using one of the newly popular blocking apps to do so. Blocking apps are more commonly used by people trying to concentrate. The app blocks certain internet content – which you first specify after you install it – during certain times. These apps help people avoid the temptation of checking out social media or doing online shopping when they should be studying or working.

But a blocking app can also block malware ads and proactively warn you that a site is not what it claims to be. Consider installing a blocking app into your browser like Firefox or Google Chrome: some highly-rated ones are free, they sync across all your devices, and add that extra layer of safety to your online defenses.

So What to Look for When Streaming? - Reasonably-Priced Subscription Fees That Give You Access to Streaming Content on-Demand

You don’t need us to give you a lecture on the morality of illegal streaming or IP piracy in general. Many people reportedly don’t really consider piracy a “crime.” And – to be fair – we have to give Napster and other bit torrent sites their due. If the pirates hadn’t made the big players walk the plank, major content providers might never have leaped into the future we enjoy today: reasonably-priced subscription fees that give you access to streaming content on-demand.

You can still pirate if you like, but think about it: breaking moral codes or the law could be the least of your concerns. Getting rid of entrenched malware is hard, and having your identity or data stolen could cost you your job or your credit rating: hardly a fair trade for a free watch of the latest Snowpiercer episode.

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FAQs

1. Do illegal streaming sites have viruses?

Even if video streaming services are legal, viruses continue to be a threat.

If you click suspicious links and download one of these illegal pirate applications or add-ons, the likelihood is that you will also download malware.” According to a 2015 report from the non-profit Digital Citizens Alliance, approximately one-third of illegal streaming websites exposed users to malware.

2. Are illegal streaming sites safe?

Unauthorized websites are not secure. When people visit illegal streaming sites, they do not consider the importance of using cutting-edge security. Numerous websites are transient in nature and make scant efforts to keep their visitors safe. They are not required to adhere to the same standards as other legal websites. It is advisable to install antivirus software to keep your system safe from malware from illegal streaming sites (see 'How to Install Antivirus on Firestick').

3. Is illegal streaming bad for your computer?

Each time you access illegal content, whether through modified streaming boxes, Smart TVs, or streaming sticks, or other devices. An unauthorized website, app, add-on, or another illegal source, you risk being exposed to dangerous pop-ups, spread malware, and/or the risk of fraud and hacking.

4. Can you go to jail for streaming movies?

No, you would not face jail time for streaming pirated content, though you could face legal action. There have been instances of individuals downloading/streaming pirated content being sued for thousands of dollars by the distribution companies that own the rights to specific films.

5. What happens if you go on illegal websites?

Not only could you commit crimes and face jail time, but you could also face hefty fines from the copyright owner, as well as suspension of your internet service. Apart from torrenting, remember that unofficial streaming services that broadcast tv shows or films without permission may be illegal.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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