Fans of TV shows find ways to watch their favourites. Whether it’s subscribing to a streaming or satellite service like Netflix or DSTV, or resorting to more dodgy means like downloading illegally pirated TV shows off of popular pirating sites, fans will find a way. Although they might be technically free, those pirated TV shows could come at a price as a new report found that they could cause the spread of malware.
Pirated TV shows, movies, music, and more is a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away. Millions visit torrent sites, to download pirated content. Now, a new report by research firm, Kaspersky Lab, has found that pirated content is also a fast way to distribute malicious code, which could cause malware to spread more rapidly.
Our goal was to see which pirated TV shows were the most popular with the malware pushers and to take a closer look at what kind of threats are distributed that way.
The research firm took 31 popular pirated TV shows, which includes the likes of The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things and ran it through its malware database.
The research firm found that:
- Malware attacks through pirated TV shows affected 126 340 users worldwide in 2018.
- The top three pirated TV shows that are most used to spread malware is Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Arrow, with Game of Thrones accounting for 17% of all infected pirated content in 2018. 20 934 users were attacked, despite no new Game of Thrones episodes released in 2018.
- The first and last episodes of the Game of Thrones seasons are the most dangerous in terms of possible malware if you’re pirating the show. Winter is Coming (the pilot episode of Game of Thrones) contains the most amount of malicious files according to the research firm’s findings.
- American Horror Story was the most effective in spreading malware, with each malicious file contained in an episode reaching an average of three users.
- The malware threat delivered through these pirated TV shows include Not-a-virus:Downloader and Not-a-virus:AdWare, with Trojan being the most popular hidden in torrent files.
When you download content for which you do not have the license or permission (i.e. pirated content) then you run the real risk of getting your system infected by malware software. So, we recommend you rather subscribe to a streaming service, or other entertainment services, where you’re legitimately paying for content, thereby supporting the artists who created it, and also avoiding some of the serious risks associated with downloading pirated content.