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Trend Micro: NZ ranks high in online streaming trickery

New Zealand has ranked as the fifth highest country affected by dangerous social engineering lures during the recent school holiday movie season, according to findings by Trend Micro.

And with the release of recent blockbuster movies such as Transformers, users are being lured by links on social media, suggesting they can watch the films for free.

Trend Micro’s research reveals the cybercriminal activity behind the links, requiring users to install specific video players harbouring malicious adware, commonly mistaken for annoying pop-up advertisements.

And where are these supposed streaming sites advertised? Tumblr ranks first, followed by WordPress and Blogspot.

When users search online for streaming sites, they use choice keywords on the mentioned sites. For example, TrendMicro searched for a streaming site for the movie How to Train Your Dragon 2 on social media and came across a page on Facebook, featuring a post that contained a shortened link to the streaming site.

Clicking the Play button on the page redirects the user to yet another page. The user is then encouraged to download a specific video player in order to watch the movie. However, the installer/downloaded file has been detected is nasty.

While it might be tempting to watch the latest and upcoming movies for free, users should remember that so-called copies made available online are often fakes or scams.

Worse, these could be malware in disguise. It’s best to ignore temptation and just watch movies at the cinema or wait until you can download them legally.