October 21, 2021

Caution: Dangerous Downloads Ahead

Dangerous Downloads

Dangerous Downloads

The volume of cyber threats related to the attraction of music and videos on the internet is growing rapidly. According to a report from McAfee, the anti-virus software company, simply including the word “free” in web searches heightens the risk of ending up on a malicious website.

Cybercriminals routinely conceal harmful content in movie and music related sites. Even fan clubs sites are potential malware havens.

Lately, as internet users have watched increasing numbers of video or downloaded music files online, hackers have revised their attack plans to include increasingly dangerous sites, destructive advertisements and media players. Over 177 million online U.S. web users viewed online videos in June, compared to 157 million one year ago. As digital content downloading has expanded, so have the associated hazards.

The study discovered that including the word “free” in a search for ringtones triggered a 300 percent greater chance that U.S. search engines would display dangerous sites. Using the word “free” in languages other than English produced comparable results.

Searching for the term “MP3” increased the risk in music search results. In addition, searches for “free MP3s” were even riskier. Users indicating that they intended to pay for the music files in their search, still resulted in the delivery of pirated content.

McAfee web security expert Paula Greve says that internet users are discovering fan sites, downloading music and videos and surfing celebrity news, but they remain unaware of the risks that may be present. While they can easily access this ‘free’ content it may come at a price. People must remain alert to the risks and be ready to identify new potential hazards.

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