free streaming sites

Are free streaming sites risking your online safety?

4 Mins Read

PUREVPNAre free streaming sites risking your online safety?

Have you ever wanted to watch a newly released TV show or movie, only to find out it’s not available on your go-to streaming service? In instances like this, many of us turn towards free streaming sites promising to serve you your favorite content from around the world without putting a strain on your wallet. 

However, just because these sites aren’t asking for money upfront doesn’t mean they don’t come with any hidden costs. Unfortunately, what many of us fail to realize is that these free streaming services can potentially threaten your online privacy. So, if you want to indulge in a good binge-watching session without shelling out a dime, you may want to think again.

Feeling intrigued? Keep reading to find out how these websites could compromise your security under the guise of providing you with a treasure trove of entertainment options.

What are the major risks of using free streaming sites?

According to the latest stats, visits to illegal streaming sites increased by 8.8% in 2022, highlighting an alarming trend among consumers. If you also love streaming movies and TV shows, here are five dangers of using free streaming sites that you should know about:

1. They are often riddled with malware and viruses

Free streaming sites are typically a minefield of malware and viruses. One wrong click and you might end up endangering your device or handing over your sensitive information to cybercriminals. 

You can also become a victim of ransomware attacks or accidentally download an infected file, resulting in data loss, security breaches, and system instability. Even if you are extra cautious, you can still get tricked by malware hidden in video content. 

2. You can become a phishing attack victim

Did you know that using deceptive links is the most common phishing tactic employed by cybercriminals?

Some free online movie streaming sites may scatter such links on their web pages and end up stealing your confidential information, such as your passwords and credit card details, without you even knowing about it. They might also mimic legitimate streaming services or display fake login forms to trick users into providing their private data.

3. These sites use unsecured connections

One of the biggest security risks associated with free streaming sites is that most of them don’t use secure connections. The absence of “https://” in the URL is a sign that any data exchanged between your device and the website can be intercepted by hackers. 

Since most people don’t check the URL of every webpage they visit, their streaming habits can allow cybercriminals to eavesdrop on their internet traffic, potentially gaining unauthorized access to their personal information.

4. Your personal data may get leaked or shared

Free streaming sites often do not have robust privacy policies, which means they may freely share your data with third-party advertisers without your knowledge and consent. This not only compromises your online privacy but may also result in you getting inundated with targeted ads.

Moreover, due to the lack of any security on these free streaming sites, criminals can also get a hold of your login credentials and attempt to use them on multiple platforms.

5. The pop-up ads can threaten your device

Pop-up ads can be pretty annoying. They disrupt your flow, steal your attention, and generally make the online experience less enjoyable. Making matters worse, the pop-up ads on free streaming sites can contain malicious scripts that attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in your web browser or operating system. Clicking on these pop-ups can lead to drive-by downloads of malware.

Read more: What’s coming to streaming services in October 2023?

How to stay safe when using free streaming services?

Not all free streaming sites are created equal, as some are relatively safe and run by legitimate companies. However, if you’re using any free online movie streaming sites, here are some tips you should consider following:

1. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Want to enjoy free World Cup streaming or catch up on the latest season of your favorite TV show without paying for a Netflix account? If your answer is yes, you may want to employ a VPN service to encrypt your internet connection and provide a secure tunnel for your data. 

Using a premium VPN such as PureVPN for streaming can safeguard your identity from prying eyes, making it crucial when using free streaming services. In addition, its strict no-logs policy ensures your online activities remain private at all times.

2. Stick to reputable streaming sites

Don’t have a Hulu or Amazon Prime account? No problem. As mentioned above, not all free streaming sites are dangerous. However, you must practice caution while streaming movies and TV shows on these sites.

As a rule of thumb, always avoid obscure or suspicious sites, as they might pose significant risks to your online privacy. Instead, opt for well-known and trusted platforms that won’t steal your data or spam you with malicious links. 

Here are some free streaming services you should know about.

3. Maintain updated antivirus software 

It’s a good idea to keep your antivirus software up-to-date if you want to detect and block malware threats before they have a chance to ruin your online experience. This extra layer of protection helps defend against potential attacks that could compromise your device’s security.

In addition, consider installing a reliable ad-blocker to shield your device against potentially harmful advertisements that may contain malware or lead to phishing sites. They help maintain a safer browsing experience while using free streaming services. 

4. Practice good password hygiene

If you use the same password for multiple accounts, you may want to change your ways. Cybersecurity experts recommend using unique passwords for each account to block any attempts for unauthorized access. This practice is especially crucial when creating accounts on free streaming platforms.

Furthermore, activating two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification. This can also improve your account’s protection.

5. Be cautious of pop-ups and redirects

Last but not least, always look for “https://” in the website’s URL, as it indicates a secure and encrypted connection. You should also be wary of invasive pop-up ads and sudden website redirects, as they can be signs of potentially unsafe practices on the streaming site. Not interacting with them is the safest way to minimize most digital security risks.

On a final note

Free streaming websites are immensely popular due to their accessibility and cost-free content. They offer an expansive library of movies, TV shows, sports, and music without any monthly or annual fee. However, while they provide a convenient platform for users to enjoy a wide range of entertainment options, they can also be a threat to your online privacy. 

If you often use free streaming sites to watch your favorite shows and movies, please make sure to be a little more cautious and employ a VPN to secure your online presence.

This brings us to the end of our blog. Stay connected to PureVPN Blog for the latest in the world of cybersecurity. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter or leave a comment below. 

Read more: Here are the best movie streaming sites of 2023

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