Expert Series: Consequences of Pirate Services

Streaming content from pirate services carries risks. Here are just a few.

When a consumer deals with criminals, then there’s a good chance they’re going to be conned in some way.

As piracy grows as an industry, there are several threats.

People have been overcharged on their credit cards when subscribing to a pirate service.

It enables hackers to spread malware through consumer networks.

It also creates a possibility that a consumer’s IP connection is taken and used by others—potentially for illegal acts.

Your device could be used for Bitcoin mining on behalf of the pirates.

There’s no parental controls on pirate services. So, adult content will be exposed to kids.

There are so many great offerings out there from legitimate players. Why bother using a pirate service that maybe will be shut down in a couple of months. Why take the risk?

How Piracy Impacts the Entertainment Industry

Content piracy hurts more people than you might imagine.

Piracy is impacting not just the actor or the studio. It impacts everyone. It impacts the camera folks, people building sets, people that are connected to production.

If you as a consumer are investing in illegal operations, it means it’s a lost sale; it is something that is not going back to the ones that have created this concept.

And without piracy, the content industry can keep offering legitimate content for an affordable price.

Money for Nothing

The Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) reports that as more Americans turn to streaming, cyber threat actors have become more active than ever and it’s time we take piracy seriously. 

Stay safer using the tips on this site, and if you’re interested in taking more action, sign the DCA’s petition asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Congress, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to keep criminals, hackers, and terrorist channels out of our homes.

Streaming is now a popular way to watch movies, shows, even live events. But criminals have taken notice, selling piracy devices and subscriptions to illegal TV services.

Consumers may not realize when they use these piracy devices and apps that they’re inviting criminals into their home. Hackers use these streaming devices and apps to install malware that probes your home networks, steals passwords, personal and financial information and can even take over cameras in your devices to spy on you and your family. This is especially dangerous when we’re all stuck at home and our home network may be supporting corporate and government networks.

Houses with a piracy device and app are three times more likely to report a problem with malware. Even more dangerous, some piracy services allow others to take over your internet connection which means they can use it for illegal acts. And this is only half the story. Many illegal subscription services offer graphic adult content without parental protections. And provide terrorist supported channels that are barred from broadcasting in the United States.

Piracy isn’t just about stealing content anymore. It brings serious risks to you and your family and it’s time we take piracy seriously. Go to to sign the petition asking for the FTC, Congress and Department of Justice to keep criminals, hackers and terrorist channels out of our homes. And learn more at

How much are you willing to pay to get that free content? (WATCH)

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.

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