Pirating content like movies, TV shows and music is against the law, and not something that anyone should be doing. And yet across the country it happens countless times every day. Whether it’s that TV show you forgot to watch or that song you don’t want to pay for, there’s a pirating site out there for every purpose.
But new findings suggest another reason not to visit these sites beyond just legality: Most of them are also maliciously infected.
Research Points to Vast Majority of Pirating Sites Being Tied to Malware
Anyone who pirates content is inherently taking a gamble, but new research illuminates just how much of a risk that is.
According to TorrentFreak, a new analysis conducted by Intelligent Content Protection points to the alarming finding that among the most popular pirating sites, 90 percent of them directly link to malware or otherwise unsafe software. Unsurprisingly, most of these malware platforms want one thing from visitors: a credit card number.
In an age when the Internet is rife with malicious attacks, it doesn’t make sense that a computing user would knowingly take measures that place him or herself at greater risk. And yet every time a user visits a pirating site, that’s what he or she does.
Unfortunately, as Advanced Television reported, the malware present on piracy sites is either covert or outright misleading, making it difficult for the untrained eye to pinpoint.
Frequently, for instance, the malware will dress itself up as the “Play” button for a TV show or movie. Having no reason to think the button will trigger anything but the TV show, the user will click it and unwittingly release malware onto their system.
“You could end up getting far more than you bargained for when clicking on a link to watch a film or TV program if it’s from an unauthorized site,” said Kieron Sharp, the director general of Federation Against Copyright Theft. “Not only are you putting your personal security at risk, by using pirate websites you could be helping fund the organized criminal gangs who run these sites as a front for other cyber scams.”
BYOD Workplaces Should be Mindful of Malware
The trend of bring your own device is more popular now than ever before. In fact, it is becoming more than a trend — it’s now just another way to do business. At offices across the country, employees come into work already plugged into the company network via their cellphones, or work remotely with full access to the business infrastructure.
But what happens if one of those employees visits a piracy site on company time, and when logged into a company network?
While malware on smartphones isn’t likely to be the attack vector to infiltrate an organization, it is still advised that companies with BYOD policies take additional identity safeguarding measures.
Businesses Should Take Enterprise Security Measures to Safeguard Operations
All it takes is one employee deliberately or accidentally stumbling upon a malicious pirating site to potentially expose an entire company infrastructure to a criminal intrusion. And yet if that attack happens, the blame will not fall on the single employee, but instead on the company as a whole. Fortunately, there are measures a business can take to prevent this from happening. By firming up security and making sure strong authentication is in place, an organization can go a long way toward preventing the encroachment of malware.