Research commissioned by UK intellectual property protection body FACT has shown that three out of five people in the UK (62 per cent) are unaware of the hidden dangers of piracy – fraud, identity theft and malware – or its links to criminal gangs.
The research, which focused on consumer behaviour and attitudes to piracy, found that with lockdowns in place across the UK, the nation has turned to home TV and entertainment tech to keep themselves occupied, with a quarter of people in the UK (24 per cent) buying or receiving devices to watch their favourite films, TV shows and sports during the festive period.
Despite awareness of the illegalities surrounding piracy being high (76 per cent), the majority of consumers were unaware of broader risks associated with it. A third (36 per cent) were initially tempted to use new devices purchased during the festive season to access premium content such as sports or films for free, unwittingly putting themselves, and their gadgets, at risk of the hidden dangers of piracy.
Once warned of the wider risks of fraud, identity theft and malware, as well as piracy’s links to criminal gangs, consumers admitted it changed their perceptions of piracy and those behind it. In fact, 39 per cent said they would now advise friends and family against it.
“While it’s good to see that so many people are aware of the illegality of piracy, there appears to be a lack of understanding about the very real risks consumers face, with many unwittingly putting themselves in danger as a result,” commented Kieron Sharp CEO of FACT. “Identity theft, fraud and exposure to malware and viruses as a result of piracy are all too real. I’d ask anyone who is considering turning to illegal content to think twice about whether it’s worth risking giving criminals access to your devices and bank accounts.”