It’s tricky to keep ourselves entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can easily blow through all your favorite TV series and then some over streaming, and the lack of new movies and shows only adds to the frustration.
To cope with the challenge, people are turning to movie rentals and digital downloads. Online marketplaces like Amazon offer a much wider selection of films, but there’s only one problem: You have to pay for them! Tap or click here to find out when your stimulus is coming so you’ll have more cash to spend on movies.
Not everyone wants to pay for entertainment, which has led some people to turn towards shadier means of content delivery. But this approach is extremely dangerous, and Microsoft is now warning users that illegal streaming and downloads can put their computers in grave danger. Here’s what it said, and why you should heed its warning.
Dangerous downloads and streaming sabotage
Microsoft is issuing a grave warning to Windows 10 users regarding the recent uptick in cybercrimes and hacking incidents. Because more people are at home and online than ever, hackers are using increasingly creative methods to attack their victims. Tap or click to see the COVID-19 frauds and scams you need to watch out for.
At the same time, they’re also relying on classic tricks like corrupted files and malicious websites, with movie and TV show downloads being one of their biggest vectors of attack.
With lockdown still in place in many parts of the world, attackers are paying attention to the increase in use of pirate streaming services and torrent downloads. We saw an active coin miner campaign that inserts a malicious VBScript into ZIP files posing as movie downloads.— Microsoft Security Intelligence (@MsftSecIntel) April 28, 2020
In an update posted to Twitter, Microsoft revealed that unlicensed streaming websites and digital download platforms are being used by hackers to plant malware. To illustrate its point, Microsoft detailed a Bitcoin mining script that embeds itself on computers through corrupted files, specifically popular Hollywood movies.
In other words, Microsoft is saying that movie piracy doesn’t pay. You probably haven’t heard that term in a while (thanks to the convenience of platforms like Amazon and Netflix), but the practice is still alive and well.
And hackers, the scoundrels they are, rely on sketchy download websites to spread their malicious software. Tap or click to see how unofficial Android app stores helped to spread malware.
Two of the malicious files documented by Microsoft were attached to pirated copies of the films “John Wick 3” and “Contagion.” We understand the desire to watch the former since it’s a relatively new movie that did gangbusters at the box office. But why on earth would you want to watch Contagion during a pandemic?
If you’re thinking about navigating to some off-the-radar streaming or download site, we’d recommend avoiding it at all costs. Some of the malware circulating online can absolutely devastate your PC, so why bother risking it at all?
I’ve run out of things to watch! What’s the best way to find my favorites legally?
One of the best parts about the streaming ecosystem in 2020 is how many movies and shows are actually available to watch without breaking the law or risking the health of your PC. The trick is knowing exactly where to find them.
If you want to search for something to legally stream online, we recommend JustWatch. This website acts as a search engine for your favorite shows and movies and tells you exactly which platforms are hosting them.
JustWatch covers all of the most popular streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney Plus, as well as a few obscure ones like Vudu, IMDBTV and Crackle.
Just type a title into the search bar at the top of the page and press Enter or Return on your keyboard to continue. That’s it! From there, you can open the link to the video right on your computer, or can log on to your streaming service of choice from any of your devices and search for the title.
Your computer is more critical now to your work, entertainment and livelihood than ever. Why give hackers a chance to ruin all that? Stream legally, and you’ll stay on the right side of the law — as well as far away from the reach of hackers.