Unsure if you’re viewing pirated content? Wondering about the risk of malware, and potential harms if you get infected? Award winning technology expert Katie Linendoll answers common questions about video piracy and its dangers. She explains that there are no safe pirating sites or safe illegal streaming sites, and tells you why. Katie also gives tips on how to avoid piracy.
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Hi, I’m Katie Linendoll and I’m going to be answering a few questions around video piracy that I often get asked. And for starts, let’s break it down:
What is piracy?
Well, piracy is the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted content that is then sold to you at a considerably lower price than you’d expect to pay. Or, content that may be offered for free with the purchase of an unauthorized device. If it says it’s free or inexpensive, or the price of a device is just too good to be true – boom, your radar should be going off. It probably is too good to be true.
So, what are the risks involved in downloading or streaming pirated content?
Let’s talk about malicious software known as Malware. Piracy websites and apps may spread malware that infects your device or network, putting your personal information at risk. And the numbers don’t lie. Studies have found that 1 in 3 sites that offer pirated content also deliver malware. And further, almost half the people who stream pirated content report malware attacks. Malware, it’s not only annoying, but also can potentially ruin your computer.
Another risk of downloading or streaming pirated content is Identify Theft. Criminals can use malware to infiltrate your computer and network to capture your valuable personal, medical and financial information. The odds of getting something for free just aren’t worth the potential damage.
And unreliable Services: seemingly inexpensive piracy devices, apps or websites, they often get shut down for distributing pirated content, leaving the users out to dry.
So, you may be asking:
How do I avoid piracy?
Avoid piracy by being a smart consumer.
Be wary of free or very inexpensive top-quality content offered by brands that you’re not familiar with – I mean really when was the last time anything was truly free?
Also, take notice of the warnings from your anti-virus software and watch for disclaimers on unfamiliar content websites or devices. Disclaimers on these sites may include language along the lines of stating, “they don’t endorse illegal activity” even if that’s precisely what they are doing.
And of course, research options to learn whether they’re legit—do your homework and see what others are saying about them. Are your friends using the site? Is it reputable?
The list, it goes on and on, but just a few other points worth noting:
Keep your software up to date
Back up your data regularly
Carefully manage and regularly change your passwords
Beware of unknown websites and emails from unknown sources or requests from sites that ask for any of your personal information over email
And lastly, do know that some websites, especially torrenting sites, may suggest you obtain a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, before using them. VPNs are recommended by pirating sources because they help users disguise their device and location identity to avoid detection. This, of course, is a red flag.
So, there you have it—some information on piracy and how you can stay protected.