Hackers’ Latest Trick Looks Like Free Movie Streaming
The recent FIFA World Cup brought up another set of bad actors capitalizing on the streaming demand of popular games.
Instead of providing a link to a legitimate way to watch, those who have taken the bait are sent to malicious sites that install malware on devices.
That’s the problem with linking to what appear to be free streams and downloads of movies, videos and music sources.
Blind linking can cause more danger to your device than you think.
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What is the risk of downloading movies illegally?
All over the world, criminals and hackers want to make it their mission to trick people into giving them their money, private information, or both. They do this with popular online movies and entertainment by providing downloadable links it looks super convincing. People who end up clicking on it usually think that they will be able to consume what they want to watch for free.
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In fact, many of these links contain all kinds of malware that will allow the hacker to gain access to your information. And even worse, hackers are working overtime to find ways for these downloadable files to sneak past any kind of antivirus software that might stop them in their tracks.
What will happen to my device?
Changing your device may not happen immediately when you try to download these pirated movies. But eventually, you might notice your device getting much slower, random apps opening and closing without your knowledge, and even your battery draining fast.
For example, in 2021, ReasonLabs found a new form of malware disguising itself as a way to watch the latest Spider-Man movie for free online while it was still in theaters. It was a malicious file containing cryptocurrency mining malware, which can steal your device resources and mine currencies online.
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When consumers downloaded this file, the code would exclude antivirus software to prevent it from tracking suspicious activity and mine the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency. You can imagine how much of a headache this caused anyone who thought they just had a chance to watch a new movie for free.
How can I protect my device against malicious files?
The most important and necessary way for you to protect your device from all types of malware is to install strong antivirus software. Downloading antivirus software will allow you to scan any file on your computer for malware before you make the mistake of clicking on it.
Check out my expert opinion on the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices by searching for « Best Antivirus » on CyberGuy.com.
Is there a website I can use to check if the file is malicious?
Yes, and it’s called VirusTotal.com. This website is owned by Google and is able to analyze links to files that may contain malware. All you have to do is follow these steps:
- Get the direct link to the download file and copy it by right-clicking the link and selecting Copy (be careful not to accidentally click and open the link).
- Go to VirusTotal.com
- Click on the URL tab and paste the link in the box
- Press Search to start scanning
- VirusTotal will give you the result
Additional disclaimer: If you are going to use VirusTotal.com, make sure your antivirus is running in the background In case you accidentally click on this link.
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