Thousand of homes that were enjoying Sky without paying for the privilege will now find their TVs are suddenly blocked from tuning into premium content. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has just announced the shutdown of a major illegal streaming service with a number of arrests also made across the UK.
During the raids, law enforcement seized PCs, laptops and phones which were all being used to broadcast free streams – including content from Sky – to customers. In fact, officers believe that the illegal streaming services disrupted by the operation had more than 500,000 customers. That makes this one of the biggest closures ever in the UK.
“Organised criminal groups often view the distribution of illegal streaming services as a low-risk, high-reward crime which can be used to fund other serious forms of criminal activity. At the same time, it can expose end users to the risks of data theft, fraud and malware,” said Detective Chief Inspector Gary Robinson, from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police
“We hope that this period of action sends a clear message; PIPCU will continue to work with partners across law enforcement and the industry to take action against those who provide illegal streaming services and protect consumers against the risks associated with using them.”
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With the cost of living crisis hurting wallets, it’s not surprising that consumers are ditching expensive premium TV contracts and watching telly for free instead.
However, it’s not without its risks. Recently over 1,000 homes had a knock at the door from police who suspected they were streaming content illegally. They were then urged to cease their activities with immediate effect or face criminal prosecution along with being given a lesson in why watching content online can put them at risk of cyber attacks and fraud.
Recent research, which analysed 50 popular illegal streaming sites, found that all contained malicious content, while over 40 percent of them did not have a security certificate which means they probably aren’t safe to visit.
Speaking about the crackdown, Matt Hibbert, Director of Anti-Piracy at Sky, said: “This coordinated effort by police and partners which saw action spanning the UK has made a significant impact against individuals involved in serious organised crime.
“More and more effective action is being taken against the criminals behind big piracy operations and we thank PIPCU and all the police forces involved. We will continue to support these efforts to shut down these pirate networks and help protect consumers.”
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