How hackers use illegal video streaming services to steal personal information


FILE – This May 30, 2007, file photo shows a cable box on top of a television in Philadelphia. Cable executives derided the online TV packages’ cost as unrealistically cheap, but they were fairly popular, while cord-cutting picked up. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The Federal Trade Commission is warning people who view pirated content to be aware of hackers trying to gain access to personal information.

According to the FTC, illegal pirated content on streaming services could infect other devices connected to a wireless network.

Beyond spreading apps and add-ons that work with popular streaming devices, malware may make electronics slow or non-responsive, create pop-up ads, or take users to sites they don’t want to visit.

Additionally, hackers can get credit card numbers, steal information from shopping sites and bank accounts or use personal computers to commit crimes.

The FTC says to avoid downloading malware, do not watch pirated content. Officials suggest updating computer’s security software and running scans regularly.

. Here’s what you need to know.

Illegal pirated content is nothing new. We’ve alerted you that websites offering free movies and TV shows can infect your computer with malware. But the landscape is shifting. Purveyors of pirated content are now spreading apps and add-ons that work with popular streaming devices. If you download one of these illegal pirate apps or add-ons, the chances are good that you’ll also download malware.

If malicious software on the pirate app gets inside your wireless network, it may try to infect other devices connected to your network. That could put at risk the computer you use for sensitive transactions like online banking or shopping. It could also expose your photos and other personal information. The malware could allow hackers to:

If you want to avoid downloading malware when you stream video, don’t watch pirated content. Period. Not online and not through a video streaming device.

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