Illegal streaming services that enable viewers to watch paid-for TV shows and sports for 'free' are expected to be a major target for scammers this week.
New research by cybersecurity firm Webroot reveals that criminals are planning a blitz on hit subscription shows such as the Game Of Thrones prequel, House Of The Dragon, which is being screened on HBO Max from Aug 21. The scammers are also targeting major pay-to-watch sports events, such as live Premiership football matches shown on subscription channels Sky and BT, as the season gets into full swing.
The temptation to use a pirate service to watch paid-for shows over the Internet without spending any money can be hard to resist – especially when the cost of subscriptions is rising.
Yet according to security software provider Opentext Security Solutions, malicious software known as trojans are often hidden in the pop-up windows that appear on such websites. Once unwittingly clicked on, these windows can download the software on to a computer, hacking into personal information such as banking details and providing enough information to enable criminals to empty a bank account. The data can also be sold to others on the Dark Web, where you might later be targeted with emails designed to trick you out of money.
Kelvin Murray, a researcher at Opentext, says: "We expect growth in illegal streaming over the coming days and weeks – with new subscription service shows and paid-for sports events enticing many towards dodgy websites. But these are often run by criminal gangs that have set them up simply to steal personal data.
"Trojans can get planted onto a computer by including a pop-up window that asks the user to click on it to unmute what they hope to watch. The best protection is to steer clear of suspicious websites." – Daily Mail/Tribune News Service