A report from internet security company Kaspersky reveals that popular episodes of shows from HBO, AMC and other TV networks downloaded from websites serving torrents and illegal downloads contain malware, adware and even dangerous Trojans.
According to the latest Annual Piracy Report by Muso – a global technology company providing anti-piracy, market analytics and audience connection solutions – the numbers of pirated content consumers are growing.
Being a lucrative source of content, torrents also prove to be a popular way of distributing malicious code, and there are many studies on how cybercriminals exploit that opportunity.
Kasperky’s report analyzed the 31 most popular and most pirated TV shows of 2018.
According to the report, the total number of users who encountered by TV-show-related malware in 2018 is 126,340 globally, one-third less than in 2017. The number of attacks by such malware has seen a decrease of 22% to 451,636 registered attempts.
Other key findings of Kasperky’s report include:
- The top three TV shows most often used for bait and used to attack the greatest number of users: Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Arrow.
- Game of Thrones accounted for 17% of all the infected pirated content in 2018, with 20,934 users attacked, despite being the only TV show in the list that didn’t have new episodes released in 2018.
- The first and the last episodes of each Game of Thrones season analyzed turned out the most dangerous, accounting for the greatest number of malicious files in Kaspersky Lab’s collection and affecting the most users.
- ‘Winter Is Coming‘ – the very first episode of the show – was the one most actively used by cybercriminals
- Within two years Kasperky detected 33 types and 505 different families of threats hiding behind the Game of Thrones title
- On average, 2.23 users were attacked seven times per each malware file guised as a TV show
- American Horror Story proved to be the most effective malware cover – each malicious file hidden behind the title has reached an average of three users
- Not-a-virus: Downloader and Not-a-virus: AdWare turned out to be two of the most popular threats delivered via TV show content, the most popular one being the dangerous malware type called Trojan