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New research study on Identification and Analysis of Malware on Selected Suspected Copyright-Infringing Websites

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A new research study on the identification and analyses of malware on selected suspected copyright-infringing websites was published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The research was carried out in cooperation with UNICRI.

Some websites and mobile applications illegally share copyright protected content publicly, sometimes even free of charge and without any registration. Along with this content, the websites commonly distribute various kinds of malware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), luring users into downloading and launching these files. These programs use deceptive techniques and social engineering — such as empty game installations and ostensibly ‘useful’ software — to trick end users into disclosing their sensitive information.

The study provides an overview of the most up-to-date examples of malware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) found on suspected copyright-infringing websites. The study had the sole aim of determining the technical characteristics of malware and PUPs that were encountered during the research and could be encountered by internet users looking for suspected copyright-infringing content.

In the research a variety of PUPs were discovered such as either ‘useful’ software, fake game installers and clients for video streaming platforms. This software does not necessarily pose direct dangers to the user’s software or hardware. However, through social engineering tricks, a user might be convinced to disclose sensitive personal information or payment card details. In addition, information about the computer itself might be leaked to other parties without explicit user consent. The full text of the ‘Identification and Analysis of Malware on Suspected Copyright Infringing Websites’ is available here.