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Torrenters Beware: Harry Potter 7 May Lead to Malware

|Jul 13|magazine14 min read

 

A new online threat targeting Harry Potter fans that just can’t wait for the movie’s release date of July 15th has been discovered by PC Tools. Feeding on the hype of the final film of the Harry Potter franchise Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, cybercriminals are spreading fake torrents to access fans' computers.

PC Tools explains how the malicious scam works:

  • First, a user searches torrents for free downloads of the final Harry Potter movie
  • Results claiming to offer a free download of the new movie appear
  • Once users download the file, .RAR file and password.txt downloads appear
  • Users receive a message saying, “This video is password protected to stop automated leeching and detection. To get your password, please visit: http://xxx.movieyt.com/”
  • Here, users are taken through a series of instructions to obtain their password
  • One of which, is choosing a link for a special offer while the site “verifies” the password
  • Once users click on an offer, a new tab and pop-up open, asking users to save what seems to be a legitimate file
  • After saving the file, cybercriminals have access to your computer—and the movie, of course, never appears on the screen

Here are some helpful tips that PC Tools recommends to employ during the excitement of the HP7 release:

  1. Be careful viewing or downloading Harry Potter movies, videos, games, ringtones or photos for they can attack you with viruses and malware. Cyber crooks target the biggest trends, search terms or sites to attack the largest online populations. Torrent and phishy download sites are especially dangerous. PC Tools’ innovative technology delivers real-time behavioral protection to stop new and current threats. Check out http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor-antivirus/ and http://www.pctools.com/internet-security/.
  2. Make sure you are running advanced, up-to-date antivirus and security software on all your PCs, laptops and devices.
  3. Turn on a strong firewall to protect your computer by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer through the Internet or a network. PC Tools™ Firewall Plus 7 is available for free at http://www.pctools.com/firewall/.
  4. Don’t let cybercriminals steal from you. Since cybercriminals can potentially crack your password, PC Tools recommends you use different strong and secure passwords for every site and change it regularly. PC Tools offers a free password generator at http://www.pctools.com/guides/password.
  5. Avoid clicking on pop-up ads, videos, animations or alerts. Avoid phishing emails and pop-ups asking to verify your passwords or personal information. Watch where you click and shut down your browser or pop up alert immediately. Run your antivirus software to keep yourself safe and protected. Browser Defender protects against web-based attacks like phishing attempts and malicious downloads before they infect your system.

 

Richard Clooke, spokesperson for PC Tools commented: “Over the past few years we’ve seen a steady increase in attacks by cybercriminals that target specific movie releases. There’s a very simple reason for this – users looking to download movies before their cinema release date aren’t particularly concerned with staying secure online – so it’s like shooting fish in a barrel for malware authors. Our advice is always to be certain you have comprehensive up-to-date protection running on your PC.

As a person who understands the world of torrenting, pirating movies can be a risky game. You should always keep in mind to check out torrent site comments, as those who have already downloaded the torrent usually tip you off if it is real, fake, or malware. If you think that a movie torrent leaked before the release date is too good to be true, it probably is. Most torrents that are legitimate appear after opening day and usually are only cam versions, those copies of the movie filmed directly from the movie theatre. In the end, the best plan is to wait to see the movie once out in theatres, seeing a movie early is just not worth the risk.