There’s a feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you realize you’ve been taken. And it gets worse when you realize that you made it possible. Just to save a few dollars. It can be hard to find all the content you want to watch when you want to watch it.
So, what do you do?
As with everything, you start with the internet.
There you find websites, and ads for devices and streaming apps, that offer all the content for really cheap. Maybe even for free. Great, right?
Not great. Because free isn’t free.
And if you’re not paying for licensed content with money, you’re paying with something more precious: unguarded access to your computer or home network.
Surprisingly cheap or free content is pirated content.
When you hook up a pre-loaded set-top box, or jailbreak a device, you make yourself vulnerable. And when you download from a pirate website or stream from an illicit device or app, you render your security useless.
Once inside your computer or network, the criminals have you at their mercy.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get annoying but relatively harmless ad or spyware.
If you’re unlucky? There’s ransomware, which allows hackers to lock up your computer until you pay ransom.
Remote Access Trojans allow hackers to covertly take control of your computer and access all of your confidential information…
And then there’s identity theft. Login credentials can lead to spending sprees. Credit card numbers can be used or sold. And bank account numbers can cost you all your money.
There’s a saying that when something is free online -you’re not a customer, you’re the product. Don’t be the product.