Football fans across Europe trying to watch the EFL Cup Final or major clashes across the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga for free are likely to have been exposed to a sophisticated Bitcoin scam targeted at gaining financial details, various different types of malware and mobile app scams.
That’s the result of research from cyber resilience provider Webroot for the 2021 Webroot BrightCloud Threat Report on the extent of scams and malware on illegal streaming sites that were shared on social media channels during a big weekend of football across Europe.
In fact, 92% per cent of illegal streaming sites analysed by Webroot were found to contain some form of malicious content. Some of the more unusual activities discovered also included hi-jacking users’ web browsers and notifications through the sites. Once users’ browsers were hi-jacked cybercriminals were able to influence users’ search results and use notifications to bombard them with junk, scams and explicit or extreme content.
Fans using the sites on mobile devices were also at risk from a range of cyber threats, including fake and malicious mobile apps.
“These illegal streaming sites are a maze of scams, malware and dangerous content. Simply put there’s no ‘safe’ way to use them without putting yourself at risk. The level of sophistication and detail behind the Bitcoin scam we found is a hallmark of a well thought-through and well-resourced criminal operation. These sites are purposely built to trap users into clicking on something nasty – whether that’s a scam or fake app, or serving up explicit and dangerous content,” said Kelvin Murray, Senior Threat Researcher at Webroot.
“It’s a common misconception that you’re safe using your mobile, tablet or smart TV on these sites, but that’s simply not true. The behaviour we’ve seen on these sites is a big red flag,” added Murray.