Piracy sites in India pose greater risk of malware, surpassing adult sites, gambling ads: Study

Piracy sites in India pose higher malware risk than adult sites & gambling ads: Study
Piracy sites in India pose higher malware risk than adult sites & gambling ads: Study
Piracy sites in India pose higher malware risk than adult sites & gambling ads: Study

Mumbai | Piracy websites pose a higher threat of malware to Indian consumers, surpassing the risk from adult sites and gambling advertisements, a study said on Tuesday.

Accessing piracy sites carries a higher risk of malware (59 per cent) compared to the adult industry (57 per cent) and gambling advertisements (53 per cent), the study -- The Piracy-Malware Nexus in India: A Perceptions and Experience and Empirical Analysis -- conducted by the Indian School of Business (ISB) said.

The study is based on a survey conducted during May 23-29, 2023 among 1,037 respondents aged over 18 in India as part of the YouGov National Omnibus.

Digital piracy poses significant risks to India's cultural outputs across various entertainment sectors, which refer to unauthorised copying, distribution, or sharing of copyrighted content, including movies, music, TV shows, books, software, and other forms of creative works, the study said.

Piracy impacts the revenue streams of the Indian entertainment industry, including losses for filmmakers, producers, artists, and other stakeholders, which is estimated by global consulting firm EY to be USD 3.08 billion in 2022.

The study further revealed that the online piracy in India remains profitable, with malware distribution serving as an additional revenue stream for piracy site operators.

Scam piracy websites also pose a greater risk of exposing users to cyber threats compared to standard piracy sites, particularly popular ones, it noted.

People aged 18-24 illustrated a higher propensity of accessing piracy websites, yet they also demonstrated the lowest levels of awareness of cyber risk, the study found.

"There is a need for a three-pronged approach to deal with the menace: Regulation, Education and Detection (RED). This should include stringent laws and regulations to punish the culprits; educate masses about the threat of using pirated stuff; and use of technology to detect and block these websites," noted Professor Manish Gangwar, Executive Director, ISB Institute of Data Science, and co-author of the study.

The study also recommended the government placing a higher priority on digital copyright crimes and enforcement, and taking firm action against the largest piracy syndicates.

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