If legal and moral issues aren't enough to keep you off piracy websites, there's one more factor that you should take into consideration. The piracy websites you visit aren't safe from the security standpoint. One in three piracy websites has been found to contain malware. These piracy websites make as much as $70 million (roughly Rs. 465 crore) a year.
Digital Citizens Alliance and cyber-security firm RiskIQ tested 800 piracy websites to find that one in three of them contained malware. These malicious programs expose visitors of the website to identity theft, credit card theft, and a range of other security vulnerabilities. The firm added that people who've visited these piracy websites are 28 times more likely to get infected than those who visited mainstream websites.
"By dangling such content as bait, criminals lure in unsuspecting users and infect their computers. In doing so, these criminals are exploiting a lack of understanding and awareness among users about the risks that visiting shady websites can pose," the team wrote in the report. "This report should compel law enforcement authorities to devote more attention and resources to tracking and apprehending global cybercriminals who operate in the shadows and put so many Internet users in harm's way."
So why are so many of these websites hosting malware on their websites? It's apparently a lucrative revenue model for them. These piracy websites have partnered with malware distributors to allow them to place malicious code on their websites. According to the report, citing multiple estimates, piracy websites make $70 million a year from distributing malware. The report elaborates, "And this figure is only what content theft sites earn for installing malware. It does not include revenue made by malware operators from identity theft schemes, ransomware, and other scams once the malware is installed."
What needs to be done? A general awareness with users is a must, and people should stop visiting such websites. It's worth mentioning that Google, which maintains a Safe Browsing program, continues to downrank websites that offer unwanted programs and warn users about these websites. So hopefully, it will demote all such websites soon.