While the internet and faster broadband speeds have brought a number of benefits, they have also opened the doors for extensive increases in illegal accesses to content. Known as “digital piracy,” this type of theft covers a gamut of sources including music, films, books, TV, games, and software. Piracy websites have become a haven for those that steal sources and then sell them back at discounted rates. The problem with supporting any of this behaviour is that it ends up costing companies and artists with the theft of their proprietary content which ultimately increases the prices to consumers and these websites often have illegal and immoral content.

Piracy Website Risks

It might be human nature to try to find the least expensive or even “free” things, this is not an attitude to take when it comes to piracy sites. These have been set up by criminals that specialize in stealing and they have no qualms about their thefts, which can include those that visit their sites. In some cases they will create their websites to have the same appearance as legitimate sites but this is an illusion. Anyone falling prey to seeking something cheap may find themselves caught up in downloading malware, viruses, fraudulent scams, and even mature/adult content.

Online Piracy Types

A majority of the population are unaware at the various types of digital piracy that exist. Although the younger generations may be more net savvy, they are also the ones that take the biggest risks on piracy sources.

Streaming: These are some of the most popular giving the user the ability to view content that is copyrighted in an online fashion without downloading. The often offer links to the websites that host the illegal content or just direct streaming. The user-friendly appearance makes these very attractive for people of all ages but especially those that are younger.

Linking websites: combine thousands of links to content that is pirated and stored on external “cyberlockers.” Their success is due to the fact that they can infringe on copyrights with little or no consequence because they aren’t searchable.

Cyberlockers refer to file-sharing and storage services that encompass a variety of media file types including sound, video, and photo files. Their appeal is in anonymous, convenient, and fast content distribution that can be streamed or downloaded through a subscription. The source information is typically shared with others via social media and blogs.

Peer-to-Peer: Also known as “P2P” gives the user the ability to share digital files among their “peers.” In a peer-to-peer network you have the files stored on your computer and then give access to others to copy them with an exact file transfer. Sharing copyrighted material is against the law and this process puts the computer storing them and those receiving the files at risk for viruses and malware.

Torrent Websites: Created with member donations, they are private sites that share stolen film copies. In many cases the content filters out so that they are available on public torrent sites and become available for download by all without payment.

DaVinci Forensics & CyberEd devotes time and effort to educating both the public and companies on the ways and methods that cyber criminals are involved with in digital piracy. These criminals harm everyone and using their sites can put individuals at risk for viruses and even identity theft.

Sharon Knowles, CyberEd



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