It seems the World Cup has just ended, but football fans haven’t had long to wait for their next fix of the game, with the Premier League starting last weekend. The Premier League is the most-watched sports league across the globe, with a worldwide potential audience of 4.7 billion people. It’s undeniable that the UK is football mad, and- especially in the comedown after the excitement of England’s unexpected performance in the World Cup this summer- plenty of the population will be relieved to have regular football viewing back in their lives.
Last year, a 5Live poll found that more than a third of football fans watched the premier league via illegal links online last year and this year is likely to be no different. People should be aware that these unlicensed streaming websites have little defence against hackers (nor really want to), who take advantage of this lack of security by lacing them with malicious links and malware. Malware comes in all shapes and sizes – criminals could hijack your computer, quietly steal your passwords, or even mine cryptocurrency using your computer power – the possibilities are endless!
Due to the prevalence of technology today, and how it has become integrated into all aspects of our lives, many people use the same devices for both work and personal reasons. Therefore, if you use illegal streaming sites you are not only putting yourself at risk, but also your wider network, and potentially the entire company that you work for. Although you may be streaming the games outside of working hours – during the evenings and weekends when they are on- this doesn’t mean you are safe. Malware can enter your device so quickly, all it takes is an unexpected pop up, or you mistakenly clicking a dodgy link. A virus infecting your device can infiltrate your workplace the minute you connect to its network, and you really don’t want to be the employee responsible for that.
Recent research we carried out at CensorNet shows that 13 percent of people have admitted to downloading or viewing pirated content whilst at work or using a work device. Bearing in mind that’s only the people that admitted it, the extent to which businesses are being put at risk every day is huge.
So, please enjoy the football – but field a strong defence and don’t let an activity which is part of your leisure time cause you problems (unless the problem is your team not winning, unfortunately we can’t help you with that). From a personal perspective at home or at work, you should stick to trusted websites and legal streams. From a businesses perspective, you have to accept that your employees might be up to the worst, and take the appropriate measures to protect your company by restricting access to inappropriate websites.