As the Premier League commemorates the fifth anniversary of its inaugural international office in Singapore, new findings shed light on the heightened cyber threats faced by consumers accessing pirated content online.
Research conducted by Professor Paul Watters, a renowned cybersecurity expert, underscores the significant risks associated with visiting illegal streaming websites and using Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs). The study reveals that individuals accessing the top 25 pirate streaming sites in Singapore face a staggering 48% chance of encountering cyber threats. Alarmingly, more than half of the adverts on these platforms are deemed high risk, with consumers being 3.5 times more susceptible to scams compared to mainstream sites in Singapore, particularly on pirate sports streaming platforms.
Further analysis of three popular ISDs uncovered alarming results, with all devices exhibiting evidence of malware within their default applications, triggering 243 separate virus warnings. These findings underscore the pervasive threat of cyberattacks, ranging from malicious adverts and malware distribution to identity theft and credit card fraud.
According to additional research by the Premier League, 39% of Singaporeans lack confidence in identifying online scams, which often lure victims with promises of free or discounted premium entertainment. These scams pose a significant risk, with potential repercussions including phishing attempts, exploitation of user data, and identity theft.
The Premier League’s ongoing ‘Boot Out Piracy’ campaign, featuring prominent football stars, aims to raise awareness about these risks and deter individuals from engaging in piracy. Surveys indicate overwhelming support for education initiatives, with 70% of respondents expressing a willingness to abstain from pirating content if made aware of the increased likelihood of falling victim to online scams.
Moreover, 74% of participants believe that blocking illegal streaming sites is an effective deterrent, highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts and anti-piracy measures to protect consumers. The Premier League has been at the forefront of these initiatives, having blocked nearly 450 domains and removed almost 18,000 pirate service listings across the region.
Close collaboration with the Intellectual Property Rights Branch of the Singapore Police Force has yielded significant anti-piracy victories, including the arrest of 17 illegal streaming device vendors in 2022. These efforts build upon previous successes, such as the landmark legal victory against electronics retailer Synnex Trading in 2019.
As the ‘Boot Out Piracy’ campaign enters its fourth season, the Premier League remains committed to combating piracy and safeguarding consumers from the perils of streaming illegal content. With ongoing education and collaborative action, efforts to mitigate cyber threats and protect digital consumers are poised to make a meaningful impact in Singapore and beyond.