CROOKS are using free streaming sites and software as “bait” to attract victims and hijack their gadgets using powerful malware, a new report released today has revealed.
Millions who have accessed stream sites or downloaded files for free may have unknowingly installed software that could be tracking them right now, according to a study produced by British cops and copyright protection bodies.
This malware could let a criminal sitting on the other side of the world steal the details needed to nick cash from victims’ bank accounts.
All a heartless hacker would need to do is install “keytracking” software which records what victims type and then wait until they put their sort code, account number and other private data into a banking website.
“The criminals behind digital piracy often make the content freely available as ‘bait’ to attract large numbers of visitors,” the report said.
The report highlighted the ways scammers make money by illegally streaming films, sporting events or other copyrighted material.
First, they build a large audience for the streams, which are accessed using devices like the Kodi Box.
“They then make money by charging other cybercriminals to put malware on the site, enabling those criminals to hijack the users’ computers,” the report continued.
Crooks also use “innocent people’s” stolen credit cards to access hundreds of premium channels, before nicking the content and streaming it.
What is a 'Kodi box'?
Kodi is a piece of software that pulls lots of different entertainment channels together, like Netflix and iPlayer.
This allows you to watch online services on your TV.
It can be installed on TV boxes which you connect to your telly using an HDMI cable.
The box, and the software are not illegal. But it has a library which allows you to browse pirated TV, films and sports, which have been illegally obtained.
Anyone selling a box with the intention for it to be used in this way will be seen as infringing copyright.
This attracts more victims for the malware to infect and earns criminals even more money.
Kieron Sharp, Director General at the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), said: “This report has come at a crucial time in our fight against digital piracy.
“A quarter of Brits access digital material illegally, and often don’t realise the risks associated with that, for them and their families.
“Pirates are not Robin Hood characters; they are criminals who do it to make money through illicit means.
“As a result, the risks are high – inappropriate advertising that could be seen by young children, electrical safety associated with counterfeit parts, and financial cybercrime.”
Streaming for free is on the rise, despite the popularity of paid for services Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Game of Thrones has taken the crown as the most illegally streamed TV series of all time.
But many are unaware of the hidden cost they may be paying up to large criminal gangs that are selling personal information on the black market.
Infamous BitTorrent website The Pirate Bay last week admitted taking control of victims’ computers without their knowledge.
Those accessing the site – which enables people to share free films and TV series – may have noticed their laptops or PCs slowing down enormously when browsing its libraries.
Site admins can make at least $70million (£51million) a year by charging hackers to host their viruses, according to a 2015 Digital Citizens Alliance report, Trouble in Our Digital Midst
Free streaming is now common in Britain, with today's report stating that over one million illegal "Kodi boxes" have been sold in the UK in the last two years alone.
According to the study, titled Cracking Down on Digital Piracy, these boxes are putting the public "at significant risk".
Set-top boxes of this kind are legal unless they come "fully loaded" with add-ons that let you stream pirated material.
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Cash-poor families may believe they are getting a better deal by opting for free streams, but they must be super vigilant when browsing websites that might be riddled with viruses that could cost them much more in the long run.
The report was produced as a collaboration between the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, the Intellectual Property Office, Police Scotland, Entura International, the Government Agency Intelligence Network and a range of broadcasters.
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Credit company Equifax says new security attack means that almost 700,000 Brits have had personal details stolen by cyber hackers
CREDIT monitoring company Equifax has admitted almost 700,000 UK consumers had personal information accessed in a cyber attack. The data includes partial credit card details, phone numbers and drivers’ licence numbers. Atlanta-based Equifax discovered the cyber crime in July but only informed consumers last month. Lenders rely on the information collected by credit bureaus such […]
CREDIT monitoring company Equifax has admitted almost 700,000 UK consumers had personal information accessed in a cyber attack.
The data includes partial credit card details, phone numbers and drivers’ licence numbers.
Equifax said that an old file containing 15.2 million records was hacked[/caption]
Atlanta-based Equifax discovered the cyber crime in July but only informed consumers last month.
Lenders rely on the information collected by credit bureaus such as Equifax to help decide whether to approve financing for homes, cars and credit cards.
The firm said yesterday that a file containing 15.2 million UK records, dated between 2011 and 2016, was hacked.
It added: “We will need to contact 693,665 consumers by post.”
Patricio Remon, president for Europe at Equifax Ltd (UK), urged anyone who received a letter to take advantage of remedial services being offered to help mitigate against any risk.
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Craig David replaces Ellie Goulding as the celebrity most likely to give you a nasty VIRUS
HE’S the super-smooth garage star famed for meeting women on Monday, sleeping with them on Wednesday and subsequently romping all week before “chilling on Sunday”. But it turns out that anyone interested in having a few days of naughtiness with Craig David might want to know that he’s been named the celebrity most likely to give […]
HE’S the super-smooth garage star famed for meeting women on Monday, sleeping with them on Wednesday and subsequently romping all week before “chilling on Sunday”.
But it turns out that anyone interested in having a few days of naughtiness with Craig David might want to know that he’s been named the celebrity most likely to give you a VIRUS.
Of course, we’re not talking about the sort of bug that’s spread by sneezing or unsafe sex, but a computer virus.
This rundown of the “riskiest celebrity to search for online” shows which stars are being used as bait to trap unwary surfers.
Crooks are using Craig’s beautiful face to tempt people into clicking on dodgy websites which promise to let fans download his new tunes but actually end up riddling their devices with viruses.
McAfee wrote: “Cybercriminals continue to use the fascination of consumers with celebrity culture to drive unsuspecting users to potentially malicious websites that can be used to install malware, steal personal information and even passwords.
“This study highlights the dangers of clicking on suspicious links when searching for celebrity-focused content.”
Here are the top 10 most dangerous celebs in the UK
- Craig David
- Emeli Sande
- Liam Payne
- Ed Sheeran
- Jessie J
- Rita Ora
- Charli XCX
- Lily Allen
- Zayn Malik
He is the first male musician to take the top spot and is followed by Emile Sande and Liam Payne.
“Having the latest hit albums, videos and movies available on our connected devices immediately is a tempting proposition,” said Nick Viney, consumer VP at McAfee.
“However, consumers need to be aware of the cybersecurity risks of clicking on links that promise the latest content from celebrities, particularly when they’re offering free content.
“When searching for their favourite content online, they need to slow down and assess the links and sources that are showing up in search results.
“We urge people to think before they click to protect themselves from malware and cybersecurity threats.”
How stop Craig David from giving you a nasty virus
McAfee offered this advice to Brits worried about catching something from the garage star:
- “Be careful what you click. Are you looking for a sneak-peak at Craig David’s rumoured 2017 album? It’s better to wait for the official release than to visit a third-party website that could contain malware.
- “Searching for free MP3s? Watch out! Searching for “free MP3” returned the highest number of risky websites, so it’s important for consumers to be vigilant and ensure they are searching safely.
- “Use cross-device protection. As our daily activities become more ingrained in our digital lives it’s important to keep everything protected.
- “A comprehensive security solution, like McAfee Total Protection, can help ensure that your devices are protected against malware, phishing attacks and device-specific protection in the event of loss or theft.”
Millions of people’s smartphones have been infected by a new form of malware which secretly drains their bank account, it was revealed yesterday.
The Android smartphone virus is called ExpensiveWall and is designed to subtly siphon victims’ cash.
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Hackers could be draining YOUR bank account right now using sneaky ‘ExpensiveWall’ malware
MILLIONS of people’s smartphones have been infected by a new form of malware which secretly drains their bank account. The Android smartphone virus is called ExpensiveWall and is designed to subtly siphon victims’ cash. It works by signing people up to services which charge them for sending or receiving text messages. Researchers from the tech firm Check […]
MILLIONS of people’s smartphones have been infected by a new form of malware which secretly drains their bank account.
The Android smartphone virus is called ExpensiveWall and is designed to subtly siphon victims’ cash.
It works by signing people up to services which charge them for sending or receiving text messages.
Researchers from the tech firm Check Point said the virus could be found in 50 apps which can be downloaded on Google Play data.
Analysts estimate the malware has been downloaded between 1 million and 4.2 times.
It is part of a wider “family” of viruses which has infected between 5.9 million and 21.1 million times devices.
“The malware registers victims to premium services without their knowledge and sends fraudulent premium SMS messages, charging their accounts for fake services,” Check Point’s Elena Root, Andrey Polkovnichenko and Bohdan Melnykov wrote in a blog post.
ExpensiveWall is likely to prove expensive to anyone that’s been infected.
However, it could be amended to perform much creepier and potentially embarrassing tasks such as snooping on the owner of a smartphone and exposing their secrets.
"While ExpensiveWall is currently designed only to generate profit from its victims, a similar malware could be easily modified to use the same infrastructure in order to capture pictures, record audio, and even steal sensitive data," Check Point's analysts added.
"Since the malware is capable of operating silently, all of this illicit activity takes place without the victim’s knowledge, turning it into the ultimate spying tool."
Tech experts recently advised everybody to switch off their Bluetooth after discovering a virus that could infect devices using the connection.
Check Point also highlighted the dangers of a virus that infects devices to raise cash for its designers by forcing the target to view adverts against their will.
This could mean that young people are shown pornographic ads, or even result in illegal material being downloaded onto an innocent adult's phone.
It could also "kill your phone" by overloading it with dodgy apps which prevent it from running properly.
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