Digital piracy, false economies that can cost you dearly

We have already drawn attention in the past to the paradoxes and risks of consuming pirated content, that is to say content offered by platforms without any authorization or right to distribute this content and therefore in flagrant violation of the copyright.

Offering pirated content is illegal, as is profiting from it. It seems obvious, but it’s not: a survey by iPSOS on behalf of FAPAV shows that only 37% of users are fully aware of having committed a crime. The problem of the use of pirated content has already been tackled thanks to the coordinated action of the police who, moreover, thanks to increasingly sophisticated investigative techniques, are now able to identify end users of illegal sites and platforms who risk heavy administrative fines and penalties. This is also why it is quite appropriate that the public be sufficiently sensitized on the subject.

Even leaving aside for a moment the illicit aspect of the phenomenon, piracy of audiovisual content is a practice that contributes to financing crime and at the same time, it harms the entire chain of creation, production and distribution of audiovisual content, whether works or sporting events, since it takes resources away from these sectors and contributes to destroy jobs.

Pirated Content Platforms: User Safety Threatened

But there is more: the use of pirated content poses risks to the user, even beyond the possible legal consequences. Let’s talk about the possibility of are victims of scams, identity theft or compromise of their PC. It is good to clarify a notion right away: as much as the user can believe that he is consuming content for free, the platforms that distribute such content do not benefit anyone.

On the contrary, the one who finds himself managing a pirate streaming platform is a real criminal entrepreneur, whose goal is to raise money through illicit means, using “free” content as a lure and attracting potential victims. . EUIPO, the EU Intellectual Property Office, notes that only IPTV streaming is registered in the EU an annual turnover of 1 billion euros of illegal income.

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What are the sources of revenue for these platforms? Beyond those realities that anyway provide some form of payment in exchange for content (although at a lower cost than legitimate services and/or with a larger “catalog” on which they do not hold any cases of rights), a substantial number of hacking websites and applications make use of the so-called “malvertising”: these are banners and advertisements that mimic plausible advertisements and exploit the mechanisms of social engineering, tricking users into opening links, performing actions on their browser, downloading files or filling in forms registration.

The consequences can be varied, but with a single objective: to be able to divert illicit profit at the expense or to the detriment of the user. In fact, those who run pirate streaming platforms have two ways to win: directly exploit adware, ransomware, spyware, keyloggers, etc. and therefore directly harm the user, or simply act as an advertising vehicle and collect commissions from the malware vendor. both for advertising and for any successful infection.

Malware and data theft: using pirated content is a false economy

The user of pirated platforms therefore faces two main risks. The first is represented bymalware infection, which can be of any type: from spyware/adware, to the most infamous and lethal ransomware, to the newest cryptominers. In any case, there is damage for the user, who can see his activity on the web spied on, or lose access to the data present on the system in the face of ransom demands, or even see the resources of his system unduly exploited. for secret purposes. mining of cryptocurrencies for the benefit of third parties.

The second risk concerns the Data theft. This can be consumed through the use of spyware or more directly: some platforms in fact push the user to register in order to use the content. In these cases, sensitive data is communicated, with a varying level of depth depending on what is required by the different platforms, but for which there is no guarantee that it will be kept safe and/or that it will will be used for lawful purposes, with the likelihood of being the victim of scams of all kinds or identity theft.

Exposing yourself to this kind of risk immediately transforms you the use of pirated content in a fake saveespecially where official streaming services allow easy and immediate access to quality content created with the latest technologies (4K and HDR content are now the order of the day), in a perfectly legal way, choosing from extensive catalogs and at an acceptable price.