Rob McAllister

Rob McAllister

October 6, 2017

A pirate’s life is fraught with danger. The risk of being caught. The danger of picking up a nasty virus from a less than wholesome corner of the web. These should be enough to keep most people on the straight and narrow, right? So why is online piracy so persistent?

Why Do People Still Pirate Media?

A recent study by Australian research consultants Sycamore found that there are three main reasons people still turn to pirated content.

It’s Easy and Free

The user-friendly nature of illegal streaming devices and sites is attractive to users who may not have a deeper understanding of the technology that powers the platforms.

The study found that free content was the biggest factor behind 63% of people deciding to access illegal media sources.

It’s Socially Acceptable

Many of the people surveyed said that friends recommended sites and streaming devices. People between the ages of 18-34 in particular felt that piracy was ‘something everyone does nowadays.’

People Misjudge the Risks and Legality

Many people don’t fully understand where the content they access comes from. Some of those asked said that they believed the content on their illegal streaming devices came pre-loaded, rather than being streamed from illicit sources.

What Are the Dangers of Online Piracy?


The problem with downloading files from torrent sites is that you don’t know what you’ve downloaded until you open the file to play it. Most forms of malware require you to install some sort of software. Good antivirus will help you defend against this, but cyber-villains have all sorts of tricks to dupe you into downloading seemingly innocuous software.

Your Computer Could Be Used to Mine Cryptocurrency

Not so much a danger as an irritation, but it turns out that torrenting website The Pirate Bay, among others, was recently caught siphoning off a portion of its visitors’ CPUs to mine a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin. The process noticeably affected the performance of people’s computers. Fortunately, it’s easy to block this by installing an ad blocker add-on to your browser.

 It’s Illegal

Piracy is illegal. NBC, however, recently reported that almost a quarter of internet traffic, when you discount pornography, involves piracy.

The maximum penalty you can receive in the UK is ten years in prison. This does, however, only apply to extreme cases of copyright infringement.

 If you want to know more about the dangers of internet piracy, have a look at our definitive guide to the dangers of torrenting in 2017.

How Can You Protect Yourself Against the Dangers? doesn’t advocate the illegal downloading or streaming of copyrighted material. However, those for whom the temptation of free media proves too much would be well advised to take precautions against detection and harm to their computers.

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If you’re using torrents for legal or illegal means, you should make sure you have a decent anti-virus to make sure you’re protected against downloading something malicious. If you don’t have it already, have a look at our run-down of the best antivirus protection.

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) will stop your Internet Service Provider from seeing both your IP address and your internet traffic. Different VPN providers are good for different things, so take a look at our five best VPNs for torrenting, streaming, and Kodi.

 Image credits: Aleksminyaylo1/, Piotr Latacha/, donfiore/