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Free movies, costly malware

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“Something for nothing” sounds appealing, but often there’s a hidden cost. If the something is a site or app offering free downloads or streams of well-known movies, popular TV shows, big-league sports, and absorbing games, the hidden cost is probably malware. Sites offering free content often hide malware that can bombard you with ads, take over your computer, or steal your personal information.

We recently downloaded movies from five sites that offered them for free. In all five cases, we ended up with malware on our computer. Generally, it served up a slew of unwanted ads.

And if that’s not enough to make you pause, downloading pirated content is illegal.

Finally, some free download sites ask for a credit card to process your registration. It’s not a good idea to give your credit card number to a site offering illegally downloaded content. They’re run by “pirates,” not legit businesspeople, and you can’t trust them with your financial information.


"We recently downloaded movies from five sites that offered them for free. In all five cases, we ended up with malware on our computer."

Which five sites were they? As consumers, we'd like to know. At least, I know that I would like to know.

The FTC cannot release this information without a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

These 5 sites must probably be run on the 5 computers Thomas J. Watson spoke of some years ago.

thanks for the fyi.

so what can I do to protect myself? suggestions?

You can find helpful tips in our free publication, Malware.

What you can do to protect yourself is not click any link offering free movies or games. If you really want to see a movie there are low cost options such as YouTube or Amazon or Netflix or Red Box that are legal. You can rent or buy a digital copy that you can watch on other devices you own if you want.

You can use legitimate sites that require you pay for the content (such as Netflix), so those making the content can receive legitimate royalties for their hard work.

yes - should be available from FTC and noted in this post ... but what shows up in comments ? " Free Advice for Malware " !!!

For helpful tips to avoid, detect, get rid of, and report malware, please see our free publication, Malware.

If I click on your *FREE* link, you can't verify i WON'T get malware! Doh!

The free Malware article is an FTC article. It's included in the Privacy, Identity & Online Security group of articles in the FTC Consumer Center.

Don't download illegal material.

The FTC malware advice appears to ignore the simplest form of prevention - use a standard Windows account (as opposed to an Administrator account). This will add some hassle to the standard interactive user(s), but is the best computer condom available.

Does that also mean Kodi installs malware?

Yes, it is right and I do agree. We should be thankful to FTC who gives us a great help and protect us. Without FTC we are nothing.
Thanks FTC.

thanks for the info's.........i even be afraid to use my computer or click on something...thanks again

Thanks, I really appreciate these warnings.

What is there that I can go to prevent this from happening to me and what can I do to help protect my computer from these and the viruses?

For helpful tips to avoid, detect, get rid of, and report malware, please see our free publication, Malware.

And to make matters worse the gov't is going to allow some sites to sell our information...

What were the 5 sites so that I and other concerned parents can monitor our home computers to ensure that our children are not visiting those websites or similar sites?

The FTC cannot release this information with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

ctressler, don't you mean "The FTC cannot release this information *WITHOUT* a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request."

With all been said and done FTC are saving millions of people lives from being victimized from these malicious crooks. Your reward is in the hearts of innocent ones that pay close attention to the message you send out for their protection. I wish I had known what I know now, I wouldn't have been victimized of one of those scammer last year in September. Thank you very much.

Don't download Minecraft (free) from any site other than or download any software that says they can backup your ipod songs. I lost my entire library of songs and photos from malware. I was able to restore the music but lost my pictures forever. I do not wish this malwarer anything good in this world.

How can I get rid of robot calls - about 8 @ days- on my cell phone. I never answered but it ran my phone battery out. I appreciate any suggestions.

Here are a few tips:

  • If you get a robocall, hang up the phone. Don't press 1 to speak to an operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
  • Sign up for the Do Not Call Registry. If you’re on the registry and get a sales call, it’s a scam.
  • Report your experience to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Besides being illegal, the same problem has happened on some paid sites as well. It doesn't seem that anything on the internet is secured.

Seriously Mr. Maxson? You only just discovered what the rest of the planet has known for over a decade?

Some people actually carry things in their pockets that are like little computers. You might want to look into those too.

I have a pc and a Mac. It's absolutely true. I got malware and didn't know it was from using the 'free movie' link. With my Mac, there is no malware, I don't know why not but I'm told that with Apple's platform it's not possible. Check on that before quoting me though.

It is absolutely possible to get malware on a Mac, just less common to get it through an exploit. Most commonly it will be a trick like "You need to install this codec to watch this video" or "Your Flash player is out of date". No current video site should require any sort of download to stream video. Microsoft has stopped supporting Silverlight and you should only install Flash directly from Adobe.

Great Information, educate the people who does not have enough knowledge about technology NOTHING IS SECURE, I MEANS NADA, CERO, SIP, THIS IS THE WILD WEST ALL OVER AGAIN. And welcome to Human Nature, people are people whenever you go, so they will find the way to do that things that they do not supposed to do.

So if unwanted ads are so bad, why did the FCC just allow my ISP to insert ads into my browser?

Nothing is safe or secure anymore. My dad says we should go back to pencil and paper

everyone is out to cheat you got Netflix cause they had Suicide Squad not in Minn .

I'm 60 years old. I remember when the Internet came over your phone. When they started talking about the Internet this info-junkie was not only looking forward to information at my fingertips I also looked forward to watching classic TV shows and movies.

When they took our antennas away and forced the extortionate and obscenely priced cable companies on us I expected some kind of trade off. No such luck. The Internet turned into one big extortion racket as well. Especially the movie companies that charge for movies and TV shows older than I am. The real "pirates" are Internet, Cable and movie companies that bleed you in addition to every other aspect of your life that is either taxed, fined, levied or otherwise over-regulated. Word for the day: Rip Off.

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