NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 25 – Sports enthusiasts have been warned of streaming live sports events especially the ongoing Rugby World Cup hosted in Japan with experts noting that it has increasingly been used by cyber criminals.
According to reports, Sport live streams are being used by cyber criminals as honey traps to trick fans into using unofficial apps, streaming sites and streaming hardware.
Often these apps, sites and devices look legitimate and even go as far as charging subscription fees, but using them can result in major financial losses and/or the theft of pictures, documents, and other sensitive information.
What’s the worst that could happen?
The US Federal Trade Commission released an advisory in May this year, detailing some of the risks:
“If you download one of these illegal pirate apps or add-ons, the chances are good that you’ll also download malware… That could put at risk the computer you use for sensitive transactions like online banking or shopping. It could also expose your photos and other personal information.”
The advisory goes on to say that this malware could allow hackers to:
Steal your credit card information and sell it to other hackers on the dark web.
Steal the login credentials for sites you shop on and go on a spending spree.
Steal the login credentials for your bank account and steal your money.
Use your computer to commit crimes.
What about streaming boxes and paid subscriptions?
A newly emerging danger is rogue streaming hardware. Devices often marketed as Kodi boxes or jailbroken Fire TV sticks, and which look like legitimate devices and charge a monthly subscription, promise almost unlimited streaming access. But in many cases, they actually link to pirate apps.
Why is that a concern? An exposé on the dangers of these rogue streaming devices was released by the Digital Citizens Alliance in April 2019:
“Here’s what most users don’t know: by plugging the device into a home network, they are enabling hackers to bypass the security (such as a router’s firewall) designed to protect their system.”
“If apps on the box or that are later downloaded have malware, the user has helped the hacker past network security. Like a trojan horse, the pirate apps are welcomed into the consumer’s home because they purport to offer the gift of free content, only to use their position inside the walls to launch an attack.”
The dark side of Kodi add-ons
Kodi itself warns against installing dodgy add-ons which it says have a darker and riskier side that many users don’t consider:
“In conclusion, then: before you install any third-party add-on, repo or build onto your Kodi device, pause and consider whether you really trust the source you’re getting it from and any repercussions that may result from that install.”
Another way criminals try to catch people out is ‘typo squatting’. Websites are set up with a URL (web address) that’s a common typing mistake away from the official site. They even look like the legitimate site, fooling anyone not paying attention into thinking they are signing into the legitimate site and giving up their login credentials.
The FTC has simple advice on how to stay secure:
“If you want to avoid downloading malware when you stream video, don’t watch pirated content. Period. Not online and not through a video streaming device.”
How do I know if my Rugby World Cup service is safe?
The only service with the rights to broadcast the Rugby World Cup in SA is DStv, which means the only safe way to stream the games is via DStv Now.
-Kenya Copyright Board out to combat piracy
Meanwhile, the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has launched a historic multi-stakeholder awareness program: Partners Against Piracy. KECOBO is now seeking like-minded corporates and individuals to help fight the menace countrywide.
Kenya is ranked amongst the countries with the highest rate of piracy in the world and tops the list in Africa for content piracy.
Unfortunately, average Kenyans are unaware of the unintended consequences of their piracy actions/ activities.
Partners Against Piracy is a joint initiative by various stakeholders led by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) and International data security firm, Irdeto among others, and has been established with the purpose to educate Kenyans about these unintended consequences which threaten the very lives of Kenyan communities and society at large.
The anti-piracy public awareness campaign has been launched with the aim to educate the public and raise awareness about the impact of content piracy activities on the creative sector.