September 15, 2023
By guest author Colin Mann from the Advanced Television.
The Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), with Dr Paul Watters of Cyberstronomy, have released a report, Consumer Risks from Piracy in the Philippines, that once again highlights the possible dangers Filipino consumers face when accessing pirate sites.
The report found that Filipino consumers visiting pirate streaming sites are 21.66 times more likely to be infected with malware compared to mainstream sites (with a verifiable detection rate of 10 %). When visiting pirate torrent sites, Filipino consumers are 16.66 times more likely than mainstream sites to be infected with malware (with a verifiable infection rate of 18 %). Those consumers impacted can be infected with some of the most serious malware types, such as trojan horses that could be used for lateral movement and remote access by sophisticated attackers.
The report builds on a 2022 report by Cyberstronomy, Time to Compromise, which looked at malware risks in Asia-Pacific and found that a typical user visiting a pirate site could be infected by ransomware, several trojan horses, and other Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) within 42 seconds on a Windows machine and within 1 minute and 18 seconds on an Android device. The results of the 2022 report supported the hypothesis that there is a nexus between piracy and malware infections, where site operators generate significant revenue from allowing malicious ads to be placed on their sites. Malware can in turn gain access to consumer PCs and mobile devices, and all of the data held in storage, but also access to banking login details and other sensitive logins.
“Evidence continues to mount that far from being a victimless crime, piracy can victimise consumers,” warns Matt Cheetham, General Manager of AVIA’S Coalition Against Piracy, noting that it is more timely than ever that the site blocking legislation recently introduced into the Senate by Senators Estrada and Villar passes quickly. “We look forward to the successful passage of site blocking legislation in the Senate that will allow the Philippines to both protect its consumers from online harm posed by pirate sites and grow its economy,” he adds.