It has just been the second week of Game of Thrones season 8 and it has already attracted major attention of cybercriminals. Hours before the official launch today, the 2nd episode was already leaked and distributed among various torrent sites,
The previous week's numbers showed that the first episode of Game of Thrones has been watched illegally 55 million times within the first 24 hours; 12.2 per cent of which via downloads and 11.3 per cent via torrents. However, a recent analysis published by Kaspersky Lab shows, that illegal movie and serial downloads are often misused as vehicles of malware. The fans of Game of Thrones are most at risk: In 2018, it accounted for 17 per cent of all infected pirated content worldwide, with 20,934 attacked users.
Anton V. Ivanov, Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said, “Our analysis shows clearly that malware distributors exploit TV shows that are in high demand on pirated websites: these are usually actively promoted dramas or action series. The first and final episodes, attracting the most viewers, are likely to be at greatest risk of malicious spoofing. Online fraudsters tend to exploit people’s loyalty and impatience, so may promise brand new material for download that is, in fact, a cyberthreat. As the final season of Game of Thrones has started, we would like to warn users that it is highly likely there will be a spike in the amount of malware disguised as new episodes of this show.”
To avoid falling victim to malicious programs pretending to be TV-shows, Kaspersky Lab recommends taking the following steps:
- Use only legitimate services with a proven reputation for producing and distributing TV-content.
- Pay attention to the downloaded file extension. Even if you are going to download TV-show episodes from a source you consider trusted and legitimate, the file should have a .avi, .mkv or mp4 extension or any others, yet definitely not the .exe.
- Pay extra attention to the websites’ authenticity. Do not visit websites allowing to watch TV-show until you are sure that they are legitimate and start with ‘https’. Check that the website is genuine, by double- checking the format of the URL or the spelling of the company name, before starting downloads.
- Don’t click on suspicious links, such as those promising an early view of a new episode; check the TV-show schedule and keep track of it.
- Use a reliable security solution for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud.