Online streaming sites are often considered a cheaper and more reliable substitute for various paid streaming platforms. Sure these free streaming platforms do not cost you an arm and a leg for merely streaming a movie or sports event, nor are there any geo-restrictions, but 90% of these sites classify as risky.
Some of these sites are run by organized crime groups, who use the proceeds to fund other illegal activities. These sites are crawling with malware, often embedded within links, and have phishing links to other sites. Moreover, most people streaming content online are unaware of the dangers associated with these sites. According to research, many people often end up providing their email addresses, leading to them falling victim to identity theft and Fraud. Amidst this, users must realize the threats associated with free streaming sites.
Can streaming be Illegal? Possible scenarios
When it comes to online streaming, people rarely ever give much thought to whether it is legal or illegal unless they live in a country with strict copyright laws. Nevertheless, even if the copyright laws in your country are lax, it is best to understand that only streaming copyrighted material is legal. This means that any content you stream online must be on a platform where the content creators have provided streaming permissions. Here are the scenarios which make online streaming an illegal activity:
- Using a VPN to bypass geo-restrictions on legal streaming platforms such as Netflix
- watching a live stream of a sporting event on a platform that does not have streaming rights
- streaming video and audio content without the copyright owner’s permission is a violation of copyright law
The penalties for illegal streaming can vary depending on the country you are in and the severity of the infringement. In some cases, you may only be fined; in others, you could face jail time. In most cases, however, streaming copyrighted material without permission is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine.
Security risks of illegal streaming platforms
Here are some of the prominent security threats related to online streaming and free streaming platforms. All our data is well-researched and based on actual facts;
Malware attacks are one of the most prominent security threats. Free sites that use pirated content are the most common source of malware. These sites are commercially supported and easy access places for hackers. Moreover, these websites are illegal. They make small contracts with ad agencies to make money out of their business; these advertisers show explicit and inappropriate ads to users and lure them into installing malware by clicking on those adverts.
Moreover, this malware attacks users when people search for streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, and HULU. Fake website owners fool users into clicking on malicious links and URLs. It was reported during the FIFA world cup 2020 that many users became a target of malware attacks as hackers lured them in by setting up fake streaming websites. What happens when you download malware on your device? Well, once your device starts performing very slowly, you will notice random and unusual pop-ups while using your device; it will redirect you to unwanted websites.
Phishing is another way of data theft. It is a way of stealing and frauding customers into sharing their personal information such as emails, credit card number, payment methods, bank account details, and others. Remember receiving emails from universities you have never heard names of? They ask you to click on a link to confirm your admission and pay the admission fee. Well, we all know how big of a fraud those emails were. Similarly, hackers have created fake websites and lookalikes of streaming sites.
This is an example of how fake sites have found new ways to fool users. The urge to watch the newly released show and the movie has made people avoid all the security threats and look for new ways to stream. However, look out for these types of phishing acts.
It is a type of malware that is usually disguised as legit-looking software and links. The main purpose of these trojans is to steal customers’ bank account details. These trojans can be hidden anywhere on illegal streaming websites, and by accidentally clicking on them, you can install the malware on your device. Later, that malware will rob all the bank details, and users can become money theft and fraud targets.
Exposure to explicit content
You see, not all the time damage is done by stealing money or data. When you visit an illegal streaming site, it bombards you with malicious ads and pop-ups. Most of the time, these ads are explicit and inappropriate. Moreover, Parents often let their teenagers and even toddlers have access to phones, tablets, and other devices. And young children can easily become exposed to this explicitly.
Crypto scams work by luring customers into sharing their bank details with hackers. They appear as malicious ads and expose users to fake news in an attempt to fool them into clicking on the ads and links. Once the user clicks on the link, they are asked to share their bank details for investment purposes, and other fake promises are made. This is one of the newest forms of security threats after the rise of cryptocurrency.
Identity theft and Fraud
According to a report, 65% of users use the same password and email for all their accounts. When you log in to a streaming site, your credentials become vulnerable to hackers and snoopers. They can easily access your data by logging in to your account, which can result in data theft and various other types of Fraud. These frauds are performed mainly by selling users’ data to third parties.
It is the most common and lethal security threat of streaming. Free sites are often known for hosting pirated content. They have no rights to any movie or show and use third-party affiliated servers to provide users with streaming content. However, this is considered illegal in most countries.
As Hollywood, Bollywood, and other film industries spend millions of dollars in the making of a single title; they are reluctant to give their copyrights for free and use streaming platforms as a source of long-term money making. When a pirated site without copyrights hosts a movie, they violate laws. Thus, countries have various punishments for copyright fragments, including jail time, penalties, and permanent blocking of IP. Most free sites get blocked by ISP and the government due to copyright issues, and moreover, people who stream pirated content are also always at risk of Fraud, legal issues, and identity theft.
How to stay safe?
There are a lot of illegal streaming sites that offer free content. While this may seem like a great deal, these sites often pose a threat to your safety and security. Here are some tips on how to stay safe when using illegal streaming sites:
- Be careful before clicking on any links or images. Many illegal streaming sites contain malicious ads and links. Avoid clicking on anything that looks suspicious.
- Avoid unnecessary downloads, as some of these sites offer downloads of pirated content. This is illegal and can put you at risk of getting sued or infected with malware.
- Ad blockers can also be helpful in avoiding malicious ads while streaming.
- Use a malware blocker, these help in blocking trojans, spyware, viruses and others. Make sure you have your software updated regularly.
- Look out for websites that seem fake and have a layout of popular websites. These are scamming websites, and risky to stream on.
Following these simple tips can help keep yourself safe when using illegal streaming sites. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Yes, streaming sites can give you viruses. You may inadvertently install malware onto your device when you click on links or download files from these sites. This malware can then wreak havoc on your system, leading to data loss, decreased performance, and other problems. To avoid this, only stream from reputable sites and have a good anti-malware program installed on your device.
Many types of online threats include viruses, spyware, phishing scams, and malicious websites.
1. Malware: This is a type of software that is designed to damage or disable computers and computer systems.
2. Social engineering attacks: These are attempts by criminals to trick people into revealing confidential information or performing an action that will allow them access to systems or data.
3. Frauds: These are crimes committed using the Internet, such as identity theft, phishing scams, and auction fraud.
4. Surveillance: This is monitoring online activity by government agencies or other organizations.
There is no ideal answer to this question, as it largely depends on the country in which you are streaming. However, generally speaking, illegal streaming refers to any type of streaming content that violates copyright laws. This could include streaming movies or TV shows without the proper licensing or using unauthorized streams of live sporting events.
As the craze of online streaming continues, people are trying to find cheaper ways to stream online, regardless of the fact that most of these sites are scams and other traps to rob user data and personal information.
There are several risks associated with online streaming, such as phishing, malware attacks, banking trojans, crypto scams, identity theft, pirated content streaming, and explicit content. These are the most prominent security threats of online streaming, and thousands of people become a target of cybercrimes yearly due to these.
However, a few security tips can be followed to avoid cyber crimes and maintain online privacy. Privacy tools can help in security and data protection; moreover, other safety precautions such as antivirus software, etc. Stay safe on the internet with these tips.