Content Cafe


What makes pirate sites so dangerous?

by Amy Pettinger, Creative Content Australia

Accessing pirate sites to download movies and TV exposes your financial and medical details, passwords, photos and more to criminals. So not only is pirating illegal, you become a victim of your own crime. Is it really worth it, just for some free content? Here are the top 10 reasons why pirate sites are so dangerous.

1. Who even owns a pirate site?

International crime syndicates often set up illegal content sites as a way to lure film and TV lovers with the promise of a free film in order to gain access to their personal data by installing potentially unwanted programs (PUP’s)

2. Something sinister lurks behind the scenes

Pirate site operators make extraordinary amounts of money from advertising – often gambling and pornography.

3. Advertising isn’t the only way these sites make money

People’s personal data is extremely important to organised crime syndicates. They use it to commit fraud and identity theft. For the victim, it can ruin their credit rating and impact their ability to make everyday purchases for years to come.   

4. And these criminals will go to extreme lengths to get their hands on valuable personal data.

Pirates can have their data compromised or device infected with a virus when they click on a film link to watch. These sites can then lock the victim’s personal computer and network and demand a ransom fee to unlock it. They could also gain control of a system and use it to commit fraud or spy on their victims.

5. You don’t even need to click to be affected

A drive-by download is a malware attack whereby a user is infected simply by visiting a webpage which is ready and waiting to attack your device. 

6. Don’t assume that one pirate website is any different to the others

Incopro in the UK analysed thirty of the most frequently used sites in the UK, finding that 97% contained malware or credit card scams. 3 out of 4 people experienced a problem after visiting the sites.

7. Illegal sites aren’t subject to regulations like normal legal content owners

For an impressionable young teen hoping to watch the latest Marvel film, advertising for gambling and pornography is common on these sites. They’re a gateway to sinister online content.

8. There’s no way to tell if a film or TV show might be compromised

If a parent has downloaded the latest superhero or blockbuster movie for their child to watch, there is absolutely no guarantee of what might be hidden within the film. There could be disturbing content that might do untold harm to a young viewer. It’s not worth the risk.

9. The more you visit, the more at risk you become

Research by Creative Content Australia reveals that 62% of people who persistently pirate have experienced a cyber security issue, compared to 42% who pirate less frequently. For teenagers, this figure climbs to 75% for persistent users, compared to 35% of casual pirates.

10. Cybercrime can be a costly expense

According to a survey by the Australian Cyber Security Centre people lose on average hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to cybercrime. Don’t become a victim of your own crime.


So next time you want to watch something, make sure it’s from a legal site. Find any film and TV show at JustWatch.