Pirated episodes of Game of Thrones, the most popular malware bait

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Pirate content is being used to distribute malware

The episodes of Game of Thrones are the most popular bait used by malicious agents seeking to capitalize on the spread of malware through pirated television content, according to a study by specialists in ethical hacking.

In their research, the experts detected over 170k attempts to infect illegal downloads of Game of Thrones episodes that affected some 50k unsuspecting users.

Experts in ethical hacking mentioned that malicious agents increasingly resort to pirated episodes of popular television programs as a vehicle to distribute malware, because executable malicious files can be attached or disguised as video files in a very easy way, and only require a user to start the video file to trigger the infection.

The next most popular bait is the pirated episodes of AMC’s seriesThe Walking Dead, with about 100k infection attempts detected in nearly 20k devices worldwide.

A lesser number of malware attacks related to other TV programs were also detected. In total, the investigators detected 13 257 notifications of malware attacks hidden in pirated episodes of the Netflix series Stranger Things, affecting 4 600 users, 5 300 attempted infection in 2 063 computers disguised as HBO Westworld episodes and 3 348 attempts to attack 1 334 devices using malicious malware disguised as  Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black.

In addition to malware infections, specialists in ethical hacking from the International Institute of Cyber security mention that these sites also perform practices such as cryptojacking and spam, so it is recommended to regular users of pirated content consider the risks to which they are exposed browsing through this type of web pages.