Fifty-three percent of Americans aged 18-29 acknowledge having visited content theft sites, nearly three times as much as the overall population, according to new research by the cyber security firm RiskIQ .
However, sixty-three percent said that if visiting these content theft websites exposed them to malware they would steer clear of them in the future.
Seventy percent said that they knew these websites illegally offered content, while 13 percent said they knew it was “wrong” but weren’t sure if it was illegal or not.
The RiskIQ study, Digital Bait, probed a sample of 800 websites dedicated to distributing stolen movies and television shows. The results were alarming.
Merely visiting a content theft site can place a user’s computer at risk: 45 percent of malware was delivered through so-called “drive-by downloads” that invisibly download to the user’s computer – without requiring them to click on a link.
“One of the best weapons against hackers and malware peddlers is public awareness. It’s imperative that Internet safety and consumer protection groups raise public awareness about the risks Internet users face,” added DCA’s Tom Galvin. “And federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission play a vital role in ensuring that the public is well educated so we can protect our family’s computers.”