Over 4 000 files containing malware or potentially unwanted programmes were retrieved from more than 1 000 websites suspected of sharing illegally protected content in an EU-wide research project carried out by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Those 4 000 malicious files originated from approximately 100 individually developed pieces of malware, often marketed as being useful user software, including fake game installers and free programmes to access and stream pirated content.
The files consisted of malware or other programmes that, when downloaded, could access personal data stored on computers and devices. The files extracted by the researchers came from websites and mobile applications suspected of sharing pirated films, music, video games and television programmes, and were designed to lure users into sharing credit card details, social network logins or other personal data.
The findings of the research are published today in the first official EU study on the risks of malware infection from suspected copyright-infringing websites. The study, carried out by the EUIPO in collaboration with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), collected malware from the websites and mobile applications in two rounds. The resulting 200 GB of malicious files were analysed by Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, using the Europol Malware Analysis System (EMAS).
The Acting Executive Director of the EUIPO, Christian Archambeau, said:
Our previous research has shown that over half of digital natives say they consider the safety of a site to be a priority when accessing content online. Today’s study findings are important for all online users, of whatever age, as they highlight the inherent dangers in copyright-infringing sites. EUIPO’s cooperation and collaboration with our European and international partners will continue as we build on our research in this area.
Today’s study complements previous research from the EUIPO on online business models which infringe intellectual property rights and digital advertising on suspected infringing websites. The research was supported by a malware expert and a technical expert group.
NOTE TO EDITORS
ABOUT THE EUIPO
The EUIPO is a decentralised agency of the EU, based in Alicante, Spain. It manages the registration of the European Union trade mark (EUTM) and the registered Community design (RCD), both of which provide intellectual property protection in all EU Member States. The EUIPO also carries out cooperation activities with the national and regional IP offices of the EU. The EUIPO organises the DesignEuropa Awards.
The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights was established in 2009 to support the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and to help combat the growing threat of intellectual property infringements in Europe. It was transferred to the EUIPO on 5 June 2012 by Regulation (EU) No 386/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
Tel: +·34 965137676Ruth.MCDONALD@euipo.europa.eu
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