Banking trojans, spyware and ransomware: ‘Stranger Things’ have happened to illegal downloaders

Thinking about trying to find a way to watch Stranger Things Season 3 without paying for Netflix?

First off don’t – it’s illegal. Secondly, really don’t do it, as according to security experts it can actually be pretty dangerous.

F-Secure Countercept director Peter Cohen told Trusted Reviews that they have has seen a marked up tick in the number of attacks that piggy-back on illegal streaming files recently.

“Over the years we have detected banking trojans and other malware infections caused by executing illegal torrents,” he said.

“How dangerous are they? Generally, the sort of malicious activity found from downloading illegal streams is the use of commodity malware that can harvest banking credentials.”

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MWR InfoSecurity head of incident response, Matt Lawrence, mirrored Cohen’s warning, but added the attacks themselves are still fairly basic, so users with robust anti-virus shouldn’t be too concerned about the hacking element.

“There is a wide range of threats to users’ assets, including (but not limited to) stealing sensitive credentials, personal data, hardware configuration information and modifying network traffic,” he said.

“They can […] have an impact on users, especially in cases involving an average user who might not be fully aware of basic online security practices and measures. However, like many situations in security, it’s important to be pragmatic and not imbue techno panic unnecessarily.”

Kaspersky principal security researcher, David Emm, said the Stranger Things attacks are part of a wider trend within the cyber crime community targeting streaming and file sharing communities.

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“Online fraudsters tend to exploit people’s loyalty and impatience, so may promise brand new material for download that is in fact a cyberthreat. For example, the third episode from the latest series of Game of Thrones proved significantly more toxic than others, triggering the highest number of detected attempts to attack users – reaching 3000 attacks a day at its peak,” he explained.

“Among the most hazardous programmes to watch are Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Westworld, Orange is The New Black and now, potentially, Stranger Things – which is worrying considering that Stranger Things is popular among teenagers as well as adults.”

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To keep safe Emm recommends Stranger Things fans take a variety of simple steps to protect themselves, chief of which is watching the show on a legit platform – in this case Netflix – and making sure you have reliable anti-virus software installed.

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