Piracy sites are bombarding users with malicious ads, urging victims to download viruses, malware and even ransomware, a new report warns.
Research published by the Digital Citizens Alliance, White Bullet and Unit 221B found that piracy websites, where people search for free content such as movies, series or sporting events, are filled with malvertising – malicious ads that commission scaremongering and other dubious means type to get people to click on it.
For example, an ad would look like an antivirus and claim that the victim’s endpoint is infected with a virus and that they should click the button given below to clean their device. However, clicking the button would do exactly the opposite and infect the device with malware and even ransomware in some cases. Some malware distributed this way can steal (opens in new tab) sensitive banking information, install spyware that tracks user activity, or flag the device for future attacks.
Malvertising on piracy websites has also become a major industry, the report said, with piracy operators generating an estimated $121 million in revenue this way.
They also make up about 12% of all ads shown on piracy websites, while more than half of the $121 million ($68.3 million) came from US visitors. In fact, piracy websites perform so well with malvertising that almost 80% of these websites serve their users malware-laden ads.
In addition, the volumes are immense. A total of 321 million ads were presented to visitors of the piracy site.
“This report confirms what content owners have suspected for years – that the use of piracy services is likely to harm consumers through malware (opens in new tab) Infection,” says Peter Szyszko, CEO and founder of White Bullet.
“We collect massive amounts of advertising data on piracy services and track their value. It’s clearly not just brands that are responsible for funding piracy through ad placement; Ad tech companies need to be vigilant about where they place ads and what types of ads they accept. Piracy services try to make as much money as possible, whether from legitimate but misplaced ads or from malicious actors. The advertising industry must stop funding piracy or, as we are now seeing, content owners and consumers will all suffer.”
https://www.techradar.com/news/piracy-sites-are-bombarding-users-with-malicious-ads-to-download-actual-malware Piracy sites are bombarding users with malicious ads to download actual malware