Piracy webpages generate about $ 1.3 billion in ad revenue each year, thanks in part to companies like Amazon, according to recent research. According to the Digital Citizens Alliance and anti-piracy organization White Bullet Solutions, pirated resources are also a major source of malware.
Some advertisements posted on pirated sites are reported to contain links that hackers use to steal identity and launch ransomware attacks. Experts note that, according to the most conservative estimates, there are at least 84 thousand entertainment sites on the Internet filled with pirated content.
The researchers emphasize that piracy is a serious problem for both Hollywood studios and digital advertising companies. Large brands face reputational risks when their ads appear on illegal websites. The situation is aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, due to which more and more people are watching movies and TV shows on the Internet, often on pirated resources.
White Bullet measured the amount of ad revenue generated by pirated resources by tracking the most popular illegal websites and apps active between June 2020 and May 2021. The company analyzed the work of about 6 thousand websites and 900 applications, tracking advertisements published in them.
Large brands account for about 4 percent of advertising on pirate sites and a whopping 24 percent in apps, with the largest advertisers being Amazon, Facebook and Google. Most of the ads are in the form of clickbait links.
The researchers note that advertising of large brands on pirate sites poses a big threat. It makes the entire resource safe in the eyes of the user and can increase the likelihood that he, losing vigilance, will begin to click on malicious links. In addition, advertisers indirectly finance criminals when their advertisements appear on pirated resources.