New analysis of the 30 most visited illegal film and TV sites in the UK has found that 90% of them contain malware and other malicious programmes designed to deceive or defraud their own users.
On top of malware, these rogue sites are rife with credit card cons. Two in three of the 30 analysed are guilty of that trick, and more than three in four people who admit to visiting pirate film and TV sites say they've fallen victim to these sorts of scams at some point.
The study, carried out for The Industry Trust for IP Awareness, throws a spotlight on pirate sites and shows this problem to be more endemic than you might expect. So with the risk of attack so high, why do people keep going back for more when the alternatives to piracy offer a significantly better experience?
The main reason people put themselves at risk of 'bogus features' seems to be because the rouge sites are often set up to look legitimate, meaning people are misled and unwittingly fall into the trap.
We know that the victims of these tricks tend to be teenagers, and parents are increasingly concerned about online security in the home. This is exactly why the industry is so committed to guiding parents and young people to sites where they can watch their favourite film and TV shows safely and legally, for example, through sites such as FindAnyFilm.com, a one-stop shop that connects you with all the official places to access a film.
Not only does this approach mean people can avoid the danger of malicious software or falling victim to fraud, but the experience of enjoying their favourite film or TV show is immeasurably better: On-demand digital services like Blinkbox and on-demand TV have transformed home entertainment over the past few years and the quality of Blu-Ray and DVD is still hard to beat.
All these official services also offer added benefits such as exclusive extras, integration or compatibility with multiple devices and the feel-good bonus of supporting the creators of the film or TV show that comes from accessing it legally.
When compared to the somewhat less desirable extras that come with a pirate site, the choice is obvious. Why go back for more?