Winter is coming for your PC if you attempt to download pirated episodes of hit TV shows like Game of Thrones, according to one internet security firm.
Kaspersky Lab reckons 20,934 users fell victim to malware attacks last year when trying to download episodes of Game of Thrones, despite the absence of any new episodes in 2018.
With the final season of the show set to debut just a couple of weeks from now, that number could be about to skyrocket, with internet users tricked into downloading malware rather than those final six episodes.
The security firm reckons Game of Thrones episodes accounted for 17% of the problem last year, with fake links for the first episode of Season 1 and the last episode of Season 7 tricking the most people.
Related: Game of Thrones Season 8
Shows like Arrow and The Walking Dead are also popular shows for hiding malware, according to Kaspersky Lab, which recommends users pay close attention to the file extension before downloading to ensure the name ends in a known video format like .avi and .mp4, rather than executable code like .exe.
It also advises users read the comments left about the downloadable files for hints of malware, while avoiding any links promising access to yet-to-air episodes.
“As the world tightens up policies regarding pirated content and treats intellectual property more like physical property, malware distributors seem to be leaving file-hosting and torrent websites,” the company wrote in a blog post.
“But this might be due to increased popularity of streaming websites that do not require files to be downloaded, yet might be a source of different threats.”
Kaspersky said “it won’t come as a big surprise to see a new wave of malicious activity accompanying the release of the final season of Game of Thrones in April 2019.”
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