As Brits battle through a seemingly never-ending cost of living crisis, an increasing number of sports fans are turning to illegal live streaming sites.
Subscription costs for rights holders like Sky Sports and BT Sport are proving to be just too expensive for a large number of fans in the UK.
However, watching Premier League football and other elite sport on these types of dodgy sites or apps doesn't come without its dangers.
As these fans have flocked to the internet in search of free sport, cyber criminals have seen the perfect opportunity to carry out their fraudulent activities.
According to a report from AVAST, cyber attacks on live streaming users have risen by 39%.
What do these cyber attacks look like?
Sports fans looking to watch their favourite teams are often being enticed to click on certain links which then redirect to site pages offering to show them the game for free. However, when the users get there, instead of watching elite football or MMA, they end up infecting their devices with malware which can help hackers to steal personal data, including credit card information.
In some cases, according to the report from AVAST, these dodgy pages will even ask the user to download software and give personal details themselves.
What's more, these illegal live streaming websites are often cluttered with popups which, when accidentally clicked, can lead to further threats to your devices. Moreover, some sports fans with learning difficulties may even click these popups advertising phishing scams voluntarily.
All of this can lead to viruses and malware on devices, and even identity theft, financial fraud and a whole host of other crimes which can be extremely distressing and even disastrous in some cases, to the user.
Avast have made a particular warning about the upcoming UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan next weekend.
AVAST Malware Analysis Lead, David Jursa, had this to say:
“As we know, cybercriminals capitalise on human emotions – and the desire of fans to watch their team play in the Champions League is a strong one.“
"Unfortunately, criminals often use promises of free streaming as a lure and pepper popup ads, phishing sites, malvertising and other scams throughout a stream to get access to people’s personal data and devices.”
The good news for fans of Champions League football is that there will be no dodgy illegal streams necessary for the big final from Instanbul, as it is actually available completely free on the BT Sport Youtube Channel, app and website.
BT Sport are continuing their ongoing tradition of showing all the big European finals free of charge across their online platforms, so fans should be sure to avoid any illegal sites offering links to streams for this game as there is really no need to take such a risk in this instance.
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