Winter is coming for one of television’s most-pirated shows.
On Monday, security firm Kaspersky released a new report diving into the means by which hackers are ruining your favorite pirated TV shows. Game of Thrones, as you might have guessed, was chief among them, making it a risky move to pirate the TV show without additional filtering of downloaded torrent files.
Kaspersky’s report showed that Game of Thrones content was responsible for approximately 17 percent of infected downloads, affecting more than 20,000 users — all during a year in which the series didn’t release a single new episode.
The first and last episode of each season, in fact, were most likely to contain malware. “Winter is Coming” is the most dangerous of all episodes, and not just for Jon Arryn. Spoilers? Yeah, so what; it’s the first episode of the first season. You’ll get over it.
All told, security researchers found 33 types of threats contained within torrented Game of Thrones episodes. But it’s not the only risky download these days. Following the HBO hit were The Walking Dead, Arrow, and other popular shows like The Big Bang Theory, Suits, and This Is Us.
This isn’t where we take the moral high ground and tell you that the only acceptable way to watch television is through a legal, and authorized source — although that’s certainly the safest, and HBO is what, $15 a month? You pay more each month on shitty coffee.
Instead, we’ll just say that if you’re going to pirate, Kaspersky recommends that you do some additional diligence before leaching your favorite TV shows. First, make sure it’s a legit torrent site, not a clone with a slight misspelling meant to trick users. And if you’re downloading a show illegally, be sure you’re using a format meant for video, not one ending in .exe or another executable file format.
And if you don’t want to take Kaspersky’s advice on this one, just know that more than 120,000 people were infected by malware while pirating TV shows last year. Granted, that’s a third fewer people than in 2017, but it’s not insignificant, either.
You can check out the full report at the link below.