New research from RiskIQ, the leader in external threat management, has identified over 450 pirate content sites serving Malware to people trying to download or stream illegal versions of Game of Thrones. This reinforces recent RiskIQ research showing that 6 in 10 consumers access pirated content and 75% of this pirated content is often used as the bait to serve malware.
With season 6 of Game of Thrones in full swing and TorrentFreak confirming the show as “the most downloaded show [in 2015] for the fourth year in a row”, RiskIQ deployed its virtual user technology across 5 countries, running Google searches for Game of Thrones download or streaming content and interacting with the resultant list of URLs as real users would.
Even with the ongoing efforts of the show’s creator to shut down illegal web outlets, at the end of 10 days of scanning we identified more than 450 unique sites serving Malware. Of these, RiskIQ 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 our virtual users weren’t infected.
The research was conducted between the 6th and 16th of May with RiskIQ virtual users launched from the US, UK, Germany, France and Netherlands. Of the malicious pages detected, 34% were spreading malware through malicious ads.
“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”, commented Ben Harknett, VP 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”.