With several major European sporting events, music festivals and a huge royal wedding on the way, this summer is set to be filled with many must-see moments. For those occasions where a television isn’t close by or the content is not freely available, many of us may resort to streaming services so that we can tune in to these events from home. While these services may offer a brilliant way to be part of the action, with seemingly no-strings attached, it is important to keep in mind the risks involved with streaming live content on your devices. Here’s our checklist to ensure you’re staying safe when using streaming sites.
Keep it legit
When it comes to streaming, sticking to the official channels is your best bet. The major channels in the UK each have their own online live streaming platforms such as iPlayer (BBC), ITV player (ITV) and All 4 (Channel 4), These should be your first port of call when it comes to streaming live television. As long as you have a TV licence and can verify your identity using your email address, you are free to access their live content. This means you can watch as many World Cup games or hours of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tying the knot as your heart desires. Important to note that these streaming sites will NEVER require you to provide payment details to access these services.
Get what you pay for
For satellite broadcasters such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media, a paid subscription is required as part of your overall package to access their live-streaming services (Sky Go, BT TV, Virgin TV Go). Once signed up with a provider on the right contract, you are free to stream content on your television, laptop, smartphone or tablet. However, please be aware that there is usually a limit to the number of devices which you are permitted to stream from. Be careful using your login details to stream from other devices as changes in authorisation can lead to a wait of a month to register a new one. In addition it’s never a good idea to share your login details with others.
Although the sites discussed may be legit to use, the Wi-Fi needed to access them while you’re out and about may not be. There are a wide range of security threats associated with using public Wi-Fi, including unencrypted networks, eavesdroppers and malicious hotspots. All of these dangers can expose vulnerabilities of your device which could allow hackers to to access your personal data and install malware. To stay safe, think about using a virtual private network (VPN) when using your smartphone, tablet or laptop to watch live streaming on the go. Or for those less tech confident, never leave your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on when you aren’t using it (airplane mode is great for shutting these off quickly).
Don’t even think about it
OK, so the Champions’ League final is on a subscription service that you don’t have. Desperate to watch the game, you venture online to search for one of those streaming sites which promise to broadcast live sport for free. Seems too good to be true? That’s because it is. Users should avoid using these websites. Many don’t deliver what they advertise, often tricking viewers into sharing their payment details so that they can access personal content or infect your device with malware. More importantly, these streams are illegally broadcasting live content. By accessing them, you are putting yourself at risk of prosecution. So please stick to the official streaming platforms.
Still thinking about it aren’t you?
If you still feel compelled to take the risk of using unauthorised streaming sites, here’s some more reasons to steer clear. Streaming sites are littered with pop ups and ads that could lead to your device being infected with viruses or malware. In addition to this, many will sneakily ask for you to download add-ons or extensions to access their content. Usually, these requests are often a disguise for installing adware onto your device. So guys seriously, it isn’t worth the risk.
Wherever you choose to do your streaming this summer, it’s critical that you have up to date antivirus/anti-spyware software and a firewall running to stop malicious programs from infecting your device. Trusted and tested software such as our award-winning Secure Home Security will prevent users from using most online streaming sites and eliminate the risks. Stay safe when streaming this summer. Please check out the McAfee Home blog for more useful content and follow @McAfee_Home for further updates etc.