Game of Thrones most malware affected among pirated TV shows: Report

Kaspersky Lab’s latest research shows how TV shows have become a popular target for attackers to spread malware. It also lists the most malware affected TV shows.

Game of Thrones’ first episode was the most malware affected episode overall.
Game of Thrones’ first episode was the most malware affected episode overall. (Game of Thrones)

Popular TV shows like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Arrow are the latest hotspots for malware. A new report by Kaspersky Lab shows how and which TV shows were targeted by attackers to spread malware.

Despite streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar Premium offering access to latest TV shows, pirated content still remains a favourite. According to The Piracy Report by Muso, users in India visited websites with pirated content 17 billion times. India is only behind the US and Russia who had 27.9 billion and 20.6 billion pirate websites visits respectively.

For its 'Game of Threats' report, Kaspersky Lab sourced data for the most popular TV shows from popular sites like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, and also the most pirated TV shows. Game of Thrones (GOT) had the most number of malware attacked users in 2018, followed by The Walking Dead, Arrow, Suits and Vikings.

An interesting finding was that Game of Thrones accounted for 17% of the infected pirated content despite having no new episodes released in 2018. The research also revealed that the first and last scene of each GOT season was the most affected. Overall, the first episode of GOT titled "Winter is Coming" was the most malware infected one.

In terms of users being affected, attackers were most successful with American Horror Story. Researchers found that each malware hidden file affected an average of three users.

Top ten TV shows affected by malware.
Top ten TV shows affected by malware. (Kaspersky Lab)

Results from this research weren't all negative though as Kaspersky Lab did see one-third less of a decrease in malware attacks compared to 2017. This is still, however less than the 45% decline in malware content spread through porn. TV shows still top attackers' list for popular content to spread malware.

Malware attacks through TV shows could see a spike in numbers as Game of Thrones will be releasing its eighth and final season premiering on April 14 this year.