scyther5 / iStockphoto.com
More than 4,000 files containing malware or potentially unwanted programmes were retrieved from more than 1,000 websites suspected of illegally sharing protected content, an EU study has revealed.
The report—“Identification and analysis of malware on selected suspected copyright-infringing websites”—was published yesterday, September 19, by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in collaboration with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, analysed the files and found that 4,000 malicious files originated from approximately 100 individually developed pieces of malware, which were often marketed as being useful user software (such as free programmes to access and stream pirated content).
As part of the study, the EUIPO and UNICRI collected malware from the websites and mobile applications in two rounds.
The identified websites changed between the rounds, a variation that the report attributed to the results of efforts by search engines to remove links to suspected copyright-infringing websites.
According to the report, the overwhelming majority of the websites are hosted in the US or have domain names linked to hosting servers there, while only a few are located on servers within the EU.
Christian Archambeau, acting executive director of the EUIPO, said: “Today’s study findings are important for all online users, of whatever age, as they highlight the inherent dangers in copyright-infringing sites. EUIPO’s cooperation and collaboration with our European and international partners will continue as we build on our research in this area.”
EUIPO, malware, infringing content, European Union Intellectual Property Office, software, pirate streams, online streaming