‘Most targeted’ movies, TV titles by online scammers: McAfee

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It turns out watching TV and movies for free can come with a serious price.

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Cybersecurity software company McAfee in a new study shared the risks that come with watching content on unreliable platforms, identifying 10 movie and TV show titles that are the most popular — not only for viewers but also the scammers looking to steal their personal information.

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It turns out the cybercriminals largely target family-friendly movies made for children, according to the new McAfee study. Four out of the top 10 films McAfee identified as “high-risk” in the U.S. were Disney films, including “The Incredibles,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Frozen 2.”

FOX Business reached out to Disney but did not immediately hear back at the time of publication.

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McAfee credits this outcome to cybercriminals keeping up with current online and social trends, which may have clued them in that children are at home more and parents are trying to balance work and child care.

“With consumers increasingly going online to stay entertained during lockdowns it has created the perfect storm for web crime,” said McAfee’s Baker Nanduru, who is vice president of consumer endpoint segment. “History has proven that cybercriminals follow consumer trends and behaviors to educate their scam strategies. It’s important that consumers stay alert while online and avoid malicious websites that may install malware or steal personal information and passwords.”

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Movies targeted at adults and viewers over the age of 13 were also found to be highly sought after by web users and cybercriminals, according to McAfee. The four R-rated titles that made the list were “Zombieland,” “Step Brothers,” “Bad Boys” and “Swingers.” The one PG-13 title on the list was “Warrior,” while the one Not Rated title was “The Invitation.”

For TV shows, half of the titles that made up McAfee’s top 10 list for most targeted by cybercriminals were original series produced by streaming networks. Three of the titles are from Netflix, “Elite,” “You” and “Gentefied;” and two of the titles are from Hulu,“Harlots” and “PEN15.”

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McAfee suggested that web users are seeking out original series from streaming services for free because subscription competition is so high that users want to watch popular and exclusive titles without having to subscribe to each individual service.

The remaining five titles on the list are from traditional television networks: “Letterkenny” from The Movie Network, “Poldark” from BBC One, “Lost” from ABC and “Skins” from E4 or MTV depending on if you’re looking for the British or American version.

Interestingly, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which once aired on FOX and is now on NBC, is considered the most-targeted TV show by cybercriminals, according to McAfee.

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The cybersecurity company reportedly analyzed more than one hundred entertainment titles on its Web Advisor platform to come up with its lists and rank them in order from highest risk to lowest risk.

Quick tips McAfee offered were along the lines of using reliable sources and subscribing to streaming services to avoid malware. Additionally, the company recommends the use of cybersecurity software and parental controls.

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