Pirated streaming devices are filled with malware, researchers find

CNET | 4/25/2019 | Alfred Ng
Mireille (Posted by) Level 3
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If you have a bootleg streaming device, chances are it's filled with malware, researchers found.

It seems there's no such thing as a free show.

Security - Researchers - Digital - Citizens - Alliance

Security researchers from the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) and Dark Wolfe Consulting looked into six streaming devices that offered free shows through pirated apps and found nearly half of them were packed with malware.

While you may have bought a bona fide Apple TV or Roku to watch shows on Netflix or Hulu, there's an entire market online for jailbroken and modified devices that are tuned to watch this same content for free. They come at a much cheaper price and offer free, unlimited access to shows that you'd normally have to pay a subscription fee for.

Devices - Roku - Fire - TV - Stick

These devices work just like a Roku or a Fire TV Stick -- you plug it into your TV and connect it to your Wi-Fi network. In some cases, they're loaded with apps.

If the hardware isn't laced with malware, the apps are, Timber Wolfe, a principal at Dark Wolfe Consulting, found in his research. He said 40% of apps for these devices were infected with malware that can take over a camera or microphone on the network within the first hour.

Viewers - Devices - Shows - Apple - TVs

As viewers move to streaming devices to watch shows, like Apple TVs, Rokus, Chromecasts and Fire TVs, black market sellers have capitalized on cordcutters by offering pirated alternatives. Cybercriminals have taken notice, by targeting these bootleg boxes with malware, researchers found.

On April 8, the FCC issued an enforcement advisory warning that they were fining up to $19,639 per day for people selling these illegal streaming boxes, as well as people using them.

Stores - Sites - EBay - Craigslist - Facebook

While they aren't in stores, you can still find them in popular sites like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. They're also often sold at flea markets and malls for about...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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