Winter is coming, and everyone will spend much more time at home. Cozy blankets, warm tea, a dark room, and you’ve got the perfect atmosphere to binge a new show or movie. But with streaming services raising their prices, many people go for the old-fashioned way – illegal sites.
You browse through Twitter to find a link or use multiple search engines to find a streaming site. After clicking through a few ads, the stream starts, and you enjoy the newest movie release in full HD for free. Or so you think. There’s a hidden cost when you use illegal streaming sites, which might cost your entire bank account.
Why Are Illegal Sites Dangerous?
When new hits like Barbie or Oppenheimer hit the box office, we all want to be a part of the crowd and see what the fuss is about. But going to the movies is expensive, and you think you can save some money at home. Well, a new report found out that watching Oppenheimer for free came with three malware links, three phishing concerns, five malicious links, and 11 warnings. Barbie is no better. It came with three suspicious warnings and 16 malicious links.
Scams and malware are prevalent on illegal sites, so you must think twice before using them. OpenText discovered that every single one of the 50 illegal streaming sites they analyzed had malicious content. To top it off, 40% of those sites didn’t have security certificates. The worst thing about using them is that one click is enough to do damage. The stream starts muted, and when you click to unmute, you download malware.
Malware types range from fleeceware, Trojans, adware, and spyware to ransomware, worms, and more. Cryptocurrencies were the most popular scams on illegal sports sites a few years ago. They promoted get-rich-quick schemes, asked for banking details, pushed notifications, switched the default browser, and spammed explicit content.
What Should You Do if Your Device Is Infected With Malware?
We all make mistakes. Maybe you, your kids, or your parents didn’t know that illegal streaming sites can infect your device. It’s time to correct the error and remove the malware.
Here are a few common symptoms of malware:
– The device becomes slower
– You get loads of pop-ups
– Your browser changes involuntarily
– The browser starts installing unknown toolbars
– You start seeing adult ads that are hard to close
– The battery life decreases faster
– You see many unfamiliar apps installed
Some of these symptoms are not red flags right at the start. Let’s say your phone becomes slower. It could be because it’s getting old or you updated the operating system. But if the device worked perfectly fine before you visited an illegal site, and you noticed a drastic change afterward, that’s a sign of malware.
Depending on the device you use to stream content, there are different ways to eliminate the danger.
Removing Malware From a Mac
- Go offline. Turn off the internet to prevent your data from being sent to a malware server. 2. Start your Mac in safe mode. Starting your Mac insafe modewill make removing malware easier because only minimum programs and software will load.
- Check for malicious apps in your activity monitor. Open the CPU tab to see if malware is using up resources on your computer.
- Scan the device for malware. If you already use an antivirus, try scanning with another one because the malware might have bypassed the defenses of your current one.
- Check your homepage. Malware often modifies your homepage to reinfect the device. Check your default tabs and search engine to verify.
- Clear the cache. The cache is the temporary storage, and you should wipe it to ensure no malware residue.
If none of these tips work, reinstall MacOS. But before you do so, back up essential files on an external hard drive because the entire device will be wiped clean.
Removing Malware From a PC
The process for removing malware from a PC is similar to how you would do it on a Mac. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Disconnect from the internet.
- Start your PC in safe mode.
- Check malicious apps in the Resource Monitor.
- Perform a malware scan.
- Check your browsers.
- Clear the cache.
Reinstall Windows if these tips don’t help you resolve the problem. Windows has the option to erase everything or let you keep your files. It’s best to wipe the PC, so back up your files beforehand.
Removing Malware From an Android
- Turn it off and on again. Sometimes, the easiest solution works. Try this and see if the problems you experience persist, then move on to the other steps.
- Use an antivirus app. Antivirus apps will scan your device and remove anything suspicious. 3. Factory reset your phone. This option will reset your phone to factory settingsand delete all files. Back up your files before you do this.
Removing Malware From an iPhone
Removing malware from an iPhone is similar to how you would do on an Android. Here’s an overview:
- Restart your iPhone.
- Delete suspicious apps.
- Run an antivirus scan.
- Restore a backup.
- Perform a factory reset.
Now you know the dangers of illegal streaming sites and what to do if you’ve used one. Remember, there’s no safe way to watch content for free without putting yourself at risk. The scams will become more sophisticated and challenging to spot.