Man Charged for Extortion and Illegally Streaming Major US Sports Leagues Games
A Minnesota man faces multiple criminal charges for allegedly selling streams of games stolen from the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball. The man is also charged with attempting to extort $150,000 from Major League Baseball. Read the Full Article
‘Squid Game’ Lures Used by Threat Actors to Distribute Dridex Malware
The immense popularity of Netflix’s series Squid Game has given threat actors new bait with which to trick unsuspecting fans into downloading harmful malware. The cybercriminals use a phishing scheme where they attach malware to emails, supposedly from Netflix, that promise the latest Squid Game content. Read the Full Article
The role you play in stopping ransomware
n organization’s cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. Sometimes that link is technological, but sometimes it’s the behavior of individual employees. Read the Full Article
Parenting blogger Harriet Shearsmith joins call to parents to get clued up on risks of digital piracy
Many parents think downloading or streaming pirated childrens’ content is permissible and safe. Award-winning parent blogger Harriet Shearsmith wants to educate parents about the risks of accessing illegal, pirated content. Read the Full Article
The Digital World is Built on Advertising. How Do We Help Kids Navigate It?
Advertising in the internet age is ubiquitous, often targeted and sometimes camouflaged. Here are some things to know about how businesses are trying to influence your kids online. Read the Full Article
The Rise of the Pirate Stream
Whether or not you’ve heard of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) you’re almost certainly familiar with it. In a nutshell, IPTV is live television—sometimes now called linear television—delivered via the internet rather than through cables or satellite feeds. Sling, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV are all examples of legitimate, licensed IPTV subscription services.
As IPTV services become more established, more and more illicit, pirate IPTV services pop up. These pirate IPTV providers can look and feel like the real thing, but not only do they trade in stolen content, subscribing to them comes with risks.
An August 2020 report from NAGRA (a global leader in digital security) and the Digital Citizens Alliance offers new clarity into the world of pirate IPTV providers. It details the structure and players in this criminal enterprise and provides the following data and conclusions.
- Whether or not they know they are buying pirated content, millions of US broadband users subscribe to pirate IPTV. Pirate IPTV sellers do their best to fool customers into thinking that they are legitimate. There are an estimated 3,500 pirate IPTV retailer “storefronts” on the internet; they run ads all over social media, design professional looking websites, sell subscriptions, and take payment by credit card and other common methods like PayPal. A pirate IPTV user interface can look as clean and professional as legitimate services, and they often offer video on-demand. Sometimes the only obvious identifier of a pirate IPTV service is that subscriptions are unreasonably cheap.
- Pirate IPTV operators potentially make around a billion dollars per year in revenue, in just the United States. Consequently, that is money not going to honest content providers, and not being taxed for the benefit of all Americans. And that revenue doesn’t include piracy related income like selling illegal streaming boxes and devices, illicit website advertising revenue, and, most ominously, payment from hackers for access to pirate IPTV subscribers.
Whenever one does business with those dealing in stolen property, there is risk. The most likely risk in subscribing to a pirate IPTV service is that it will be shut down without warning and subscribers will lose their money. Other less likely but more serious dangers are that pirate IPTV services use or sell customers’ credit card information, or that they sell hackers access to subscribers’ networks. In this case, hackers then infect subscribers’ computers and devices with malware.
Pandemic Provides Opportunity for Pirates and Hackers, Increased Risk for Viewers
During a pandemic, people spend a lot of time at home watching television and film, increasing demand for engaging content. And since increased content interest also increases demand for risk-laden pirated TV and movies, hackers take advantage of the opportunity to spread malware to more and more devices and home networks.
A summer 2020 survey by the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) discovered that approximately 13% of Americans use illegal pirate streaming boxes and devices in their homes to view unlicensed content. Piracy devices and apps are the main avenue by which hackers bypass our cyber-defenses and access personal information. So, it’s not surprising that 1 in 4 who self-report using piracy devices also report having been victims of malware attacks in the three months prior to the survey. And nearly half of piracy device and app users report malware attacks in the previous year. Conversely, only 16% of people who don’t view pirate stream
That people using piracy devices and apps increase their vulnerability to the dangers of malware is particularly important at a time when many depend on a secure home network and uncompromised devices to work from home. Because if malware infiltrates a home network, it has access to private information on any device that runs on that network.
Cybersecurity company Carbon Black reports that once people began working from home in large numbers, there was an immediate spike in global ransomware attacks. This 148% increase from just weeks prior was hackers attempting to take advantage of weaknesses in people’s home defenses. Predictably, financial organizations were the main target of increased attacks.
According to the DCA survey, nearly one-third of people who use pirate devices and apps say that, during the pandemic, they don’t have access to enough good content. The greater problem is that the method they’ve chosen to increase their options comes with significant risks for their security and privacy and their employers’ sensitive data.