The World Cup is a time when billions of people come together for one cause: to support their country’s national team. Those who follow the games know how good it is to share the joy of seeing the ball rolling with colleagues, friends or family, and with the spread of streaming services it is possible to follow it from any device and anywhere. But it is essential to reinforce the importance of using legal platforms, which will not put the security of your device at risk and end the party.

You may think that the problem is just the quality of the videos, or the numerous pop-up style ads, or even big entertainment companies that fear losing revenue. But when accessing these illegal platforms, the user can contaminate their devices with malware and facilitate the theft of personal, banking and even cryptocurrency data, if they have a wallet.

The use of pirated platforms has grown in recent years and the transmission of football matches is one of the most offered services. Recently, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) announced that it has taken down over 42 pirated sports streaming sites. These sites broadcast games from around the world live and together added up to 308 million hits in the last six months alone. In the Russian Cup, according to Irdeto, a cybersecurity company that operates in the games market, 5,088 illegal streams were detected in the group stage, with matches against the Brazilian team being the most common with 582 streams found.

The scam works silently, using the most basic tactics like phishing and social engineering. Just one click, even an unintentional one, on one of the advertisements that appear on the screen and you will have infected your computer, cell phone or smart TV with a virus. Another way is through the installation of malicious extensions that the site informs that they must be installed so that the fan can watch the match. By installing the option, criminals can access passwords saved on the device and access banks, social networks, email accounts and other services, causing damage and a lot of headaches.

On the part of companies, it is important to alert their employees about the risks of using piracy to watch games. In times of home office, where corporate devices are connected to the same network as other personal ones, company data can be exposed to the same risks.

To protect themselves, fans can rely on antiviruses and VPNs that encrypt confidential information, preventing them from being stolen and criminals impersonating them to scam other people. But it is important to emphasize that this may not be enough and the best option is always to resort to legal services, with authorized transmission of matches.

After the pandemic and so many challenges in the economy, the World Cup should be a celebration. Sometimes investing a little more in a platform that will give you the peace of mind to watch games with quality and without risking the security of your devices is worth much less than the headache you will have if you suffer a cyberattack.