One in three pirate sites contain malware, report finds

By Shawn Knight ยท 20 replies
Dec 11, 2015
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  1. Using torrent sites is risky business, and I'm not just talking about the legality of downloading copyrighted material. According to a joint report from Digital Citizens Alliance and RiskIQ, users are 28 times more likely to contract malware from a torrent site compared to mainstream websites or licensed content providers.

    In a sample of 800 sites that distribute copyrighted movies and television shows, RiskIQ found that one in three pirating sites contained malware. What's more, 45 percent of the malware detected was of the drive-by type meaning visitors don't even have to click a link to become infected.

    Of the malware it encountered, RiskIQ said 54 percent was trojans while 29 percent was adware. The remaining 17 percent consisted of toolbars (five percent), botnets (three percent) and "other" (nine percent).

    Some may wonder why torrent site administrators (or anyone in general) would have an interest in loading a site with malware. The answer to that question is really quite simple as it all comes down to money.

    As the report notes, there's a lot of organized crime at play in which crime rings will recruit torrent site owners to help them spread malware. It's estimated that pirate site owners generate as much as $70 million each year from such crime units. That may seem like a lot of money but it's hardly anything at all compared to what stolen credentials are worth.

    Need proof? The Department of Justice claims that US consumers lost $24.7 billion to identity theft in 2012.

    Permalink to story.

  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    I'm actually surprised the number is so low. I'd have ballparked it at > 90%.
  3. Hexic

    Hexic TS Maniac Posts: 332   +163

    Only 28 times the chance? I was expecting much more.

    Summarily: If you choose to hoist the sails, don't be surprised to find yourself 'boarded' out on those seas.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Only 1 in 3? Oh well, if you visit shady websites you know are questionable then you get what you fully deserve. I have no sympathy.
  5. jwdR1

    jwdR1 TS Enthusiast Posts: 33   +25

    And if I turn on Window's updates, there's a 100% chance I'll download/install maybe I'm better off at these sites. :)
    alabama man and wiyosaya like this.
  6. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    "users are 28 times more likely to contract malware from a torrent site compared to licensed content providers."

    I'd hope licensed content providers would have their sites more secure than that, in this day and age especially, also given how they have a constant revenue stream to pay people to be keeping the malware at bay. That's what I truly find surprising, pirate sites on the other hand, well it's to be expected given the nature of what the site is there for, how can this be relevant let alone a shock to anyone. If you pirate media, you take your chances. If you pay for media, you should have nothing to worry about. Simple as that, or least that's what I would have hoped was the case.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,298   +1,396

    if I pay for media then governments and corporations can spy on me. Somehow the whole idea of paying to be spied on doesn't sit well with me, but I hardly watch movies, tv shows or play games anyway.
  8. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,557   +706

    I'd love to see their evidence for "28 times more likely"... sounds like a number pulled out of their @sses....

    What are we basing this on? Those who legally purchase movies from iTunes?!?!? Well, obviously there won't be any trojans included with my retail version of the Hobbit!!

    But if we're comparing to simply people who are downloading "stuff" from various emails they get or websites they find on Google... I doubt they're 28 times as safe....

    Pretty much EVERY pirate site has some malware, spyware, etc... it's up to the downloader to know what they want to download, check the scene release to be sure it isn't a fake, and then scan after the fact to make sure...
  9. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,372   +69

    What pirate sites?
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    Don't download media in a compressed archive file. There is no need in having compression, when the media file is naturally compressed anyway.
  11. Peter Farkas

    Peter Farkas TS Addict Posts: 272   +88

    You just need to have the proper security tools installed on your system to tackle these basic malwares...
    These tools are not expensive at all and they are very user friendly.
    Surfing through the internet without security software is like driving your car that has no seatbelt/airbag with 110mph on a shitty road at night with damaged headlights and tyres... Injury will be inevitable.
    Having a secure system is easy and cheap and there is no excuse for being so ignorant to live without it.
  12. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    Being spied on by the government and having malicious software try to steal your personal information are two different problems. The government already has all your personal information at their disposal and are just watching what you do, regardless of what your doing. Unauthorized software running rampant on your systems is a completely different issue, and in my opinion far worse than the government watching you.
  13. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,298   +1,396

    well I'm more concerned about companies storing my data and then getting hacked, I know the government already has all my data.
  14. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    Then you'd best build a cabin in the middle of nowhere and start living off the land, anytime you buy anything with plastic your being tracked and the place of commerce you just swiped your card has all the information they'd ever need to have hackers steel your identity. Living a life being worried about this is no life worth living, you have to have a minimum level of trust in the system or start living the crazy cook life. Anyone, anything, anywhere can be hacked, so as the saying goes, get busy living or get busy dying.
  15. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,283   +242

    so we stay away from ;)
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    How about if you simply don't visit pirate sites with the same computer on which you do your banking? Would that help?
  17. romainB

    romainB TS Enthusiast Posts: 38

    I get why they put adware, but why trojans??
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    My best guesses would be to either steal your money, or turn on the webcam in your bedroom laptop.

    I will say they're going to be sorely disappointed with the results, should they start setting trojans to turn my integrated graphics junk into a bitcoin miner....:p
    romainB likes this.
  19. klyxmaster

    klyxmaster TS Rookie

    BS ARCTICLE - READ THIS: This is just more propaganda to scare the "un-informed"! Simple as that. I run a gaming site, and for many years I fought piracy (no-win issue so gave up). My personal research revealed the following:
    First and foremost - all piracy (the long term ones, not the wannabe's) are hosted outside the USA . With that said, only a handful of countries recognize piracy and its negative implications and has laws regarding it, BUUTTT,(and this is huge) many countries could give a rats-*** about it, and stick the proverbial finger at any country(persons or company) that complains. So Is it legal in these countries? maybe not, but they do not honor the DMCA that's for sure - I had better luck calling obama-care and/or the DMV!!.

    Secondly, even more important - anyone who says pirate files are dirty - doesn't pirate. end of story. To better understand, you have to understand why people pirate in the first place (the "seeders"). The last 20yrs, there is big money is pirating. HUGE money. Avg punk-*** kiddie pirate can make about $500 - $3k month! While some may scoff - how much do you make sitting on your ***? And those are the kids! (sorry not revealing their "money-making" methods - search for it) It is extremely important that these pirates keep their **** clean! Otherwise you will not come back. Don't believe me- ask a drug dealer what they think about shootings - scares the customers. in the virtual world, the shooting is the malware (there is no viruses - people who believe that are stupid - look it up), one or two people report your stuff dirty and you can kiss your pirate days away. Groups such as Myth(back in the day) to Skidrow and many others these days (I lost track) are around many years, NOT because they are dirty, but because they are good and their stuff is clean(not to mention very fast - many games get out before they reach REAIL!! wtf!!). I know 2 sites that are on BLOGSPOT(OWNED by google ) that has been up over 15yrs!!! One of the sites I was able to get accepted and log on, and they have 100k visitors a day!!! - how would you like that on your blog? and, if the people are fairly honest, average age is 35 -60 on there (so they have no clue what they are downloading is illegal), and anyone mentioning that fact (ME!) gets banned (yup I got banned just by asking "do you guys realize this is illegal software your downloading?") So why doesn't google shut them down? DUH!! But there are a few Devs, authors and musicians that pose as pirates and send out crap (*cough* Madonna *cough*), but if people fall for that - they are just stupid. Its like going to a doctor - do your research THEN go see the doctor.
    I did some other searching about the people that actually pirate - most that do were never gonna buy, and many of those that did pirate - usually bought the software they were pirating. Some gaming devs, while frown on it, found that their software circulated faster due to the pirates. Many people who never heard of a certain song, movie or game, did so by randomly downloading it.
    So in conclusion to this long post - its unstoppable (I loose tons of money each month), and they make money - YOu have a better chance getting malware from sites like cnet (that mash toolbars and search bars in their installers) than you would getting malware from a pirate

    28x more likely my ***! I agree with the rest of you - that is made up!
    Anyone that contradicts this post, is prob a dev, or an anti-piracy agency (if so I wanna talk to you) - I do not in anyway shape or form support piracy, I just wanted to share the REAL TRUTH about it. Piracy is around because it has a reputation of being good - Its a huge money-maker for those that seed it, and for the hosts (google?) due to the traffic and revenue - its a win-win fore everyone but the developers! go figure - Welcome to the real world
    romainB likes this.
  20. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 164   +27

    I've been using torrents sites for a long time and in my personal opinion, its very rare to get infected by a trojan or malware. I am not saying its impossible, but it can happen. My anti-viruses have been trigged a couple of times but nothing serious enough..... Using a virtual machine with a Linux OS and a good anti-virus should make you safe.
  21. Bobbi Sue

    Bobbi Sue TS Rookie

    sounds to me like you are just one of the happens to everyone so just deal with it...bollocks!! people can choose to do whatever they want it seems as the vast majority are just too complacent or just to lazy to even care...
    as far as pirate sites go {like the article mentioned} the malware mostly comes via malicious ads not the material that people are downloading

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