Reseachers: Cyberlockers are a hotbed for piracy and malware

Cloud Services where users can download illegal movies, music and software are a hotbed for piracy and often exposure users to malware, according to researchers of the American Digital Citizens Alliance and the British NetNames. These cloud storage services are also known as cyberlockers and often sell premium accounts that remove advertisements and storage and bandwidth limits.


The researchers investigated 30 cyberlockers that together have an annual turnover of about 100 million dollar, with the largest ones being 4Shared, Mega and Uploaded. Also cyberlockers that offer streaming services have been part of the research of those the websites e PutLOcker, YouWatch and Streamcloud have the largest turnover, according to the researchers.

The cyberlockers try hard to hide their location by making use of proxy servers but the researchers found servers of the cyberlockers in the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States and other countries.

About 80% of the content on these cyberlockers infringes on copyright and most of them also serve malware to users. In a report from NetName the organisation argues that about 55% of all malware originates from visits to cyberlocker websites.

Because most cyberlockers accept payments with Visa and Mastercard credit cards, these companies could hurt the cyberlocker services bigtime by no longer accepting transactions from them. Paypal was accepted as payment method on one website and the researchers advise the credit card companies to follow the example of Paypal and don’t conduct business with cyberlockers.