Anti-Piracy Video Masquerades As Anti-Malware Education And Is Filled With Lies

from the trust-goes-both-ways dept

As some of you may be aware, Safer Internet Day just passed. Started in the EU, the day is supposed to be used to educate the masses on some dangers that are tangentially or directly connected to the internet, such as malware awareness, cyberbullying, or abuses on social media sites. It's also heavily supported by the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, which is a UK entertainment industry group that chiefly looks to "educate" the public on how super-awesome copyright is in every respect and how piracy and copyright infringement are the work of Satan.

In a video titled... and I can't believe I'm going to actually type this... Meet the Malwares, viewers in Australia are "educated" on exactly zero specific malware threats, but they are told that filesharing sites should be avoided completely. And if you're thinking that there are a ton of other parts of the internet that are far riskier, rest assured that the video insists it's all about file sharing sites.

What really caught our eye, however, is the statement that pirate sites are the most used propagation method for malware. “Did you know, the number one way we infect your device is via illegal pirate sites,” an animated piece of malware claims in the video.

Forget about email attachments, spam links, compromised servers, or even network attacks. Pirate sites are the number one spot through which malware spreads. According to the video at least. But where do they get this knowledge?

As far as anyone can tell, the people behind the video just made this up. The Industry Trust for IP Awareness claimed that this was based on a paper from 2014, except nobody can find these figures in the paper either. The closest thing in that paper is the claim that illicit streaming websites for copyrighted content were the number one source for malware as 97% of them contain something malicious. But that claim was based on another unpublished study, and that unpublished paper's actual claim was that out of thirty pirate sites researched "90% contained malware or other potentially unwanted programmes." These unwanted programs include such everyday annoyances as popup ads. In other words, this whole response reads like a grade-schooler's made-up bibliography.

And none of that gets us even close to pirate sites being the number one way that malware spreads. The folks over at Malwarebytes, who know a thing or two on this topic, helpfully chimed in.

“These days, most common infections come from malicious spam campaigns and drive-by exploit attacks,” Adam Kujawa, Director of Malware Intelligence at Malwarebytes informs us.

“Torrent sites are still frequently used by criminals to host malware disguised as something the user wants, like an application, movie, etc. However they are really only a threat to people who use torrent sites regularly and those people have likely learned how to avoid malicious torrents,” he adds.

Kujawa goes on to summarize that the claim in the video about pirate sites is generally inaccurate. Which, you know, lies about malware aren't really a great look from an organization with the stated mission of educating the public on malware. While you may not want to learn how to avoid malware, you should learn not to bother with any nonsense coming from the Industry Trust for IP Awareness.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    hij (profile), 14 Feb 2018 @ 1:46pm

    “Did you know, the number one way we infect your device is via illegal pirate sites,” an animated piece of malware claims in the video.

    This is why you should not trust malware. Animated or otherwise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Iggy, 14 Feb 2018 @ 2:06pm

    The best computer security measure is an ad blcoker

    A decade ago, keeping an up to date virus scanner was the way to go to ensure security. It didn't work: computers would fill with pop ups that would make it impossible to use the computer and it would have to be restored to factory settings every few months. Better browsers solved this. For the remaning threats, there are ad blockers which is probably the best measure for computer novices (your parents). Will the EU be promoting this simple measure?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2018 @ 2:14pm

    Having made NO study at all, YOU are definitely just making it up. -- Do you think the target audience will heed better with a study that'd meet your requirement for absolute proof? Or should a warning be in no uncertain terms?

    Because you and your (merely assertive) "authority" MUST admit that torrent sites are a LIKELY source. You are at most only arguing where in a list to rank the risks.

    Is it better that people get caught by, say, a 10% chance than a 12%? -- NO, the computer is still 100% compromised.

    The choice is between WARN of KNOWN LIKELY RISKS, or blithely NOT warn. There's no middle ground as you imply.

    But seems your and Techdirt's interests somehow are in saying that torrent sites and the stolen software on them is safe! -- Why do you at all imply that when EVERY authority agrees that's 100% percent FALSE?

    Next STORY. You are entirely in the wrong on this, due to your piratey bias.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      An Onymous Coward (profile), 14 Feb 2018 @ 2:20pm

      Re: Having made NO study at all, YOU are definitely just making it up. -- Do you think the target audience will heed better with a study that'd meet your requirement for absolute proof? Or should a warning be in no uncertain terms?

      Nowhere did anyone say file sharing sites were totally safe. There wasn't even an implication in this story. But FUD helps nobody (except perhaps the RIAA/MPAA, your leash-holders) so please take your barely-legible and largely irrational rants elsewhere.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2018 @ 2:23pm

      Re: Having made NO study at all, YOU are definitely just making it up. -- Do you think the target audience will heed better with a study that'd meet your requirement for absolute proof? Or should a warning be in no uncertain terms?

      Flagged for abusive/spam.

      Maybe we need a flag for "Delusional"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Feb 2018 @ 3:02pm

      Re:

      The choice is between WARN of KNOWN LIKELY RISKS, or blithely NOT warn.

      Or, you know, warn people of likely risks beyond just visiting “pirate sites”—like, say, malicious advertising or behind-the-scenes cryptocurrency mining. Just because “pirate sites” are the most likely source of malware does not mean they are the only source; concentrating on them and ignoring other, possibly more insidious sources does no one any favors.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 14 Feb 2018 @ 3:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Just because “pirate sites” are the most likely source of malware does not mean they are the only source; concentrating on them and ignoring other, possibly more insidious sources does no one any favors.

        Not so, it's quite favorable for those spinning malware education into anti-copyright infringement propaganda by giving them another whack at trying to portray torrent sites as evil dens of sin and villainy, such that even visiting one will cause your computer to explode and your hair to fall out.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rapnel (profile), 14 Feb 2018 @ 5:06pm

      Re: Having made NO study at all, YOU are definitely just making it up. -- Do you think the target audience will heed better with a study that'd meet your requirement for absolute proof? Or should a warning be in no uncertain terms?

      Torrents are bad.
      Torrents are bad.
      Torrents are bad.
      Wrenches are bad.
      Torrents are ..
      You're mamma is rad.
      Propaganda is essential.
      What?
      Break glass, pull handle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Rapnel (profile), 14 Feb 2018 @ 5:15pm

        Re: Re: Having made NO study at all, YOU are definitely just making it up. -- Do you think the target audience will heed better with a study that'd meet your requirement for absolute proof? Or should a warning be in no uncertain terms?

        YOUR! *YOUR* MAMMA IS RAD!

        ..Well, damn. I guess my sense makes as you, then, or whatever.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 1:01am

      Re: Having made NO study at all, YOU are definitely just making it up. -- Do you think the target audience will heed better with a study that'd meet your requirement for absolute proof? Or should a warning be in no uncertain terms?

      "The choice is between WARN of KNOWN LIKELY RISKS, or blithely NOT warn."

      Warning that the people who pirate will ignore. As ever, you'd be better served getting your corporate friends to streamline copyright and make it easier to get content legally rather than deliberately fragmenting and overcharging the market than you are lying about the words everyone can read for themselves.

      "saying that torrent sites and the stolen software on them is safe"

      Who is saying that? Not the Techdirt that exists in this reality, and we don't have visibility of whatever alternate dimension your mental illness has created for you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2018 @ 2:18pm

    Also, "generally inaccurate" is not a lie.

    State one actual lie in this. All you do is try to undermine the basis, bring in an unproven "authority" who at most you get "generally inaccurate" out of.

    For instance: " And if you're thinking that there are a ton of other parts of the internet that are far riskier," is "generally inaccurate". The riskiest part of the internet is whatever site you're on. -- Right now for me, that's Techdirt. -- Advising to avoid all known risks might be better, but there's NO way to rank them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 14 Feb 2018 @ 2:56pm

      No, not really

      “Did you know, the number one way we infect your device is via illegal pirate sites,”

      That for one. They're not claiming that torrent sites are risky, they are claiming that they are the most risky source of malware online, and given how they came to that conclusion at best it's a baseless assertion, if not a flat out lie if they knew that it was based upon empty air.

      But hey, no need to take my word for it, how about people who's job it is to deal with malware?

      “These days, most common infections come from malicious spam campaigns and drive-by exploit attacks,” Adam Kujawa, Director of Malware Intelligence at Malwarebytes informs us.

      (Also, thanks for the laugh in trying to undermine the credibility of an actual authority on malware and how it most often spreads, in defense of a a group merely pretending to be an authority on the subject in a laughably obvious attempt to co-opt internet safety education into anti-copyright infringement propaganda.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2018 @ 3:13pm

      Re: Also, "generally inaccurate" is not a lie.

      “Advising to avoid all known risks might be better, but there's NO way to rank them.”

      I used to get way to high too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 1:03am

      Re: Also, "generally inaccurate" is not a lie.

      "Right now for me, that's Techdirt"

      It would be better for everyone if it wasn't. Especially you.

      "Advising to avoid all known risks might be better, but there's NO way to rank them."

      So, you admit that you *don't* know if the pirate sites are any more dangerous than other sites? Hmmm...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2018 @ 2:26pm

    Not from any actual data but I am pretty sure the number 1 method to get malware are the evil ads that disguises itself as a button. At least from the number of infected computers I have fixed. Usually it is some sort of utility type software webpage. Majority that I have fix are from "Windows Optimizers" crapware but also from a lot of other useful utility software. Find the software you are looking for, click the download link and then it pointlessly takes you to a page with a bunch of adds and about 7 "Download Now" buttons. Most people don't know how to tell which one the real one is and just download one. Doesn't matter which one you click, they all download something. Just one is what you are looking for and the others are the Pandora's box of malware.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2018 @ 3:16pm

      Re:

      That makes perfect sense, as how many people actually use pirate sites, compared to those who have no clue about aadblockers, noscript etc.?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 14 Feb 2018 @ 6:34pm

    so what they are saying is that we should NOT trust anyone who takes from other people and makes money off of it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2018 @ 9:35pm

    Anti-piracy video ... filled with lies.

    Is there any other kind?

    I mean - if you'd have video with some scientific backing, citing some research, ... wouldn't it be immediately declared by MPAA/RIAA as pro-piracy, misguided, or flawed (with 'what about children' on the top)?

    They are, after all, under siege (so what if imaginary?), so any dissent means treason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:04am

    The lesson here is very clear

    Be sure you are using an ad blocker while engaging in piracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 15 Feb 2018 @ 6:07am

    Tim, I've been on some of those sites and believe me there is malware on them. Good job I've got a decent anti-virus program on my PC.

    While I'm not on board with mis-educating the public on IPR I don't have rose-tinted specs on where pirate sites are concerned. There's got to be a way for them to spot and get rid of the malware uploaded by their users, if only to keep other people on board.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 7:45am

    I guess I could see this if their research was conducted in 2004 and consisted entirely of high schoolers using Limewire to download Britney Spears videos and such...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2018 @ 9:47am

    Fake study referenced another fake study, neither of which are provided nor can they be found, and comes to a completely predictable conclusion - totally believable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 10:12am

    Adblockers

    Like other people are saying, did this "public service" organization mention the fact that many ad networks have been, and will continue to, serve malware?
    How many times have we seen legitimate sites become the unwitting delivery system for malware simply because they use a "trusted" service like doubleclick?

    Yet there's no mention that people can get infected this way?

    And did the video talk about Flash ads that contain malware and that Flash should be disabled for safety?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Silver Fang (profile), 15 Feb 2018 @ 10:40am

    The rightsholders will try anything and everything to spread their BS copyright propaganda.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 16 Feb 2018 @ 6:37am

    Anti-piracy video warns of malware, while malware masquerades as anti-piracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer
Anonymous number for texting and calling from Hushed. $25 lifetime membership, use code TECHDIRT25
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.