Latest Kodi warning could stop users accessing illegal content for good
Kodi’s rise in popularity shows no signs of stopping with this TV player thought to be being used in millions of homes across the world.
Kodi is totally legal to use with it offering an easy way to stream a variety of content via the web.
However, this open platform can be adapted with addons which then allow users to watch premium content without permission.
It’s these addons which have become a major talking point with rights holders and the authorities working tirelessly to close them down.
Watching any premium content without permission is clearly illegal but now Kodi users are being warned about another threat and it could be enough to stop many from accessing addons in the future.
A new report from the Digital Citizens Alliance is warning of the dangers that many users face by streaming content illegally.
The comprehensive investigation found that so-called Kodi boxes and jailbroken Amazon Fire TV Sticks could leave owners at risk from cyber crime and malware that can end up accessing personal data.
These streaming devices can be purchased online for under £100 and often come pre-installed with adapted Kodi software that allows users to access content, such as premier sports and movies, for free.
Although that may sound like a bargain, using these illicit devices could end up leaving users vulnerable to attack.
Devices such as Amazon’s Fire TV Stick can be adapted to play illegal content
According to the new report, by plugging the device into a home network, consumers can easily be enabling hackers to bypass the security (such as a home broadband router’s firewall) designed to protect their system.
If apps already installed on the box, or that are later downloaded, have malware, the user has basically helped the hacker past network security.
Hackers are now benefiting from the growing proliferation of these devices as well as consumers’ lack of awareness of the risks.
According to a Digital Citizens research survey of 2,073 Americans, 13 per cent reported that they have a device that offers pirated content in their home.
As part of its research survey, Digital Citizens asked Americans if they’ve had a problem with malware in the last 18 months.
Of those who said they didn’t have a piracy device in their home, just seven per cent reported an issue with malware.
Of those who said they did have a piracy device in their home, 44 per cent reported an issue with malware.
Kodi users are being warned of the dangers of streaming illegally
While there are multiple ways to get malware, this data suggests that engaging in risky behaviour online, which includes plugging a rogue piracy device into a home network, substantially increases a person’s digital security risk.
Along with malware being a threat, the researchers also uncovered a clever scheme that enabled criminals to pose as well-known streaming sites, such as Netflix, to facilitate illegal access to a legitimate subscription of an actual Netflix subscriber.
Warning users about the dangers The Digital Citizens Alliance said “ The streaming piracy ecosystem is built on making money from stealing, selling, and weaponizing pirated movies, TV shows,
sporting events, games, and music. Often uninformed of the risks, users of this software are baited into trying something they think is free or cheap but comes with a hidden cost: malware.
“People using piracy apps and jailbroken and/or fully loaded devices need to know that security and privacy are not a concern of those who sell piracy devices.
“Even worse, the business model for many is banking on offering add-ons primed for malware and invading networks.
“Until other remedies are taken, consumers must be careful about what devices they invite into their homes.”
This latest news comes as Kodi continues to distance itself from the dangers of illegal streaming.
The team behind the TV Player have already made it clear that they don’t want to be associated with watching content without permission.
In a recent post on their website they have even alerted fans to the fact it doesn’t make or distribute so-called “Kodi boxes”.
In the post, Kodi confirmed: “We do not sell computers, Kodi boxes, Kodi sticks, carrot sticks or french fries.
“Actually, we don’t recommend specific hardware, and we’re certainly not interested in selling hardware.
“The only thing we’re interested in is writing software, keeping Kodi in tip-top shape, and advising you about how to better use Kodi.
“We are not associated with any hardware companies, particular brand or site selling the so-called “Kodi boxes” or “Kodi sticks”. There is no such thing.”