Online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have become must-have subscriptions. Free streaming websites are also tempting, despite the obvious security risks. This article will cover how online streaming services can expose you to cyber risks and what you can do to protect yourself.
When you go to a movie theater, you only need a physical ticket to get inside the auditorium. But when you watch movies online, you first need to create an account with a streaming service and pay the necessary fees. So, before you even watch a single movie, you must provide your personal details, email, and credit card information.
As much as the service provider tries to protect your information, some of this data, such as your email, can get leaked. Malicious actors can then send you phishing emails to lure you into giving out other, more sensitive information. Someone may even breach your account if you have a weak password. To avoid that from happening, consider using a password manager.
Not all, but most free online streaming websites are illegal. The legal risk becomes even higher if you download a torrent, which is much easier to track. But that’s not the only problem with free streaming websites.
You may think avoiding the account creation and subscription process would eliminate the risk, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Free streaming websites are even less secure and often contain malware or other malicious content.
To appear more secure, some websites will ask you to create a free account but will do little to nothing to protect the data you provide them. Keep all sensitive data inside secure cloud storage and avoid sharing it with others to maximize your data security.
Here are the main cyber risks of free streaming websites:
- Data leaks – some free websites will sell your data to cyber criminals. Even if they don’t, their security is so low that criminals can steal your data.
- Malware infections – free movie websites are breeding grounds for all kinds of malware. One wrong click can put your device and data at risk. Sometimes, you don’t even have to click anything to initiate a download.
How to watch movies online safely?
Even streaming giants like Netflix aren’t immune to risk, but they’re much safer than a random movie website you find on Google. Not to mention that they’re legal, and you don’t have to worry about getting a letter from your ISP. If you can’t afford the subscription, try sharing it with family members and friends.
No matter what they promise you, it’s never worth giving your details to a suspicious streaming website. If you do, you can expect your data to be sold off, resulting in a high volume of phishing and spam emails.
Don’t click on any ads
Free streaming services are full of pop-ups and random ads. Some will likely claim you’ve just won the latest iPhone. No matter what the message is, don’t click on them, as they will likely lead to a malicious download or ask for your personal details.
Going to the movies isn’t completely out of fashion, but streaming services are slowly taking over. With that in mind, people must be aware of the cyber dangers they face when streaming online. The main things to remember are to be responsible with the data you share and stick to reputable services that invest in security.