Searching for pirate copies of Game of Thrones could lead to malware infection

When you pirate the Game of Thrones - you either win or get infected with malware

Pirated software

Security researchers have warned that Game of Thrones fans may be at risk of malware when searching for pirate copies of the hit HBO series.

Research carried by RiskIQ identified over 450 pirate content sites serving malware to people trying to download or stream illegal versions of Game of Thrones. It said that recent investigation it carried out showed that 6 in 10 consumers access pirated content and 75 per cent of it is often used as the bait to serve malware.

The firm used its virtual user technology across five countries, running Google searches for Game of Thrones download or streaming content and interacting with the resultant list of URLs as real users would.

It said that even with the ongoing efforts of the show's creator to shut down illegal websites, at the end of ten days of scanning it identified more than 450 unique sites serving malware. Of these, the company identified 323 unique sites and 571 unique pages on those sites serving malware and 127 unique sites and 668 unique pages that had recently been flagged by other security organisations as malicious, although its virtual users weren't infected.

"While we're increasingly hearing that pirate sites are to be avoided, our recent research into people's behaviour shows that the message is being ignored by many", said Ben Harknett, VP of EMEA at RiskIQ. 

"Specific examples like this will hopefully make it more real for people and result in a change in behaviour. It's not only your internet safety that you put at risk, but your employer's as well if you use your personal devices to access corporate systems".

The research was conducted earlier in May with virtual users launched from the US, UK, Germany, France and Netherlands. Of the malicious pages detected, 34 per cent were spreading malware through malicious ads.

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