Whether due to the high cost of subscribing to services that cover championships or the restricted distribution of some games, many fans turn to pirated sites to watch football matches live and for free. At first glance, illegal streaming seems annoying only because of the excessive amount of ads and low-quality images. It turns out that they can also be dangerous, hiding malware capable of infecting the device and stealing user data. In addition, the use of pirated sites not only harms the digital security of fans, but also the maintenance of the football industry.
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Although there are efforts by the authorities to take down links with illegal transmissions, the practice of watching football matches online and for free on sites that are not authorized for this purpose has become common among fans. With that in mind, the TechTudo listed the main problems of illegal streaming, tips on how to protect yourself and options for safe platforms to watch live football games. Check it out below.
Pirated football streaming services compromise users’ security; understand — Photo: Rodrigo Fernandes/TechTudo
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Dangers and Problems of Illegal Football Streaming
1. Malware contraction
Intrusive and plentiful advertising is a hallmark of pirated football streaming sites. As well-established brands in the market are not willing to associate their names with illegal content, misleading or explicit advertising ends up occupying these spaces. It turns out that, in addition to being annoying, the ads spread on the pages can be dangerous and hide malware. Thus, it only takes one click, even if accidental, to infect the device with viruses. The practice of using online advertising to spread malware is called malvertising (mixture of the terms “malware” and “advertising”, which means “advertising”, in Portuguese translation).
Malware present on pirated streaming sites can infect the user’s cell phone and computer — Photo: Getty Images
Another way to contract malware from illegal streams is by installing malicious browser extensions and plugins. Many sites require the user to do this type of procedure to watch the games. But after downloading, the extensions infect the computer and manage to capture login credentials and passwords saved in the browser. Some are even able to view the user’s browsing history, information that can be used in phishing and social engineering scams.
Illegal streaming sites can also be used to spread phishing scams. In this type of fraud, scammers often promise gifts and cash prizes to users who fill out forms with their personal (email address, phone number, login credentials and password, among others) and bank details. With this information, cybercriminals can impersonate the victim to apply new scams (cloning social media profiles or sending fake WhatsApp messages, for example) or, in more serious cases, steal the user’s identity to borrow money in their name. .
3. Copyright infringement
Sharing television content and streaming services is a crime provided for in article 184 of the Penal Code. That’s because the practice violates the copyright of the companies that bought the authorization to broadcast the championship or match in question. Violators are subject to imprisonment for up to one year and a fine.
Pirate sites violate the rights of companies legally authorized to broadcast football matches — Photo: Ana Marques/TechTudo
Although the path to combat digital piracy is long, Brazilian authorities are already promoting actions to overturn illegal content distribution schemes on the Internet. This year, the Ministry of Justice and civil police from 11 states launched the fourth edition of “Operation 404”, which since 2019 has been working to dismantle digital piracy gangs in Brazil.
4. Theft of resources that could be reinvested in football
The piracy of football streaming has long ceased to be a “household industry”, with the involvement of a few people who shared the game and publicized it on networks, to become an activity that involves robust criminal organizations. Pirate sites have multiplied all over the world, worrying authorities in several countries. The English football league Premier League, for example, reported around 250,000 pirate broadcasts during the 2021/2022 season.
According to a report by video security company Synamedia, which analyzed the sports most impacted by piracy in the world, the irregular transmission of games takes up to 28 billion dollars annually from the football industry. This shows that the practice, although common among many fans, harms clubs, as it steals an amount that could be reapplied to the sport itself.
There is no completely safe way to watch football matches broadcast on illegal services. However, if the user insists, it is important to have a good antivirus installed on the device. In addition, care must be taken not to click on ads and not to install browser extensions or plugins.
Another valid tip is to have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) installed on your computer. These programs encrypt traffic and use ad blockers, preventing pop-up windows from appearing while browsing.
It is worth mentioning that, despite minimizing risks, these measures do not offer complete protection from malware and other dangers. The only safe way to watch football matches online is to access legal and authorized platforms to broadcast the matches.
Cool platforms to watch football in real time
There is a wide variety of platforms that broadcast live football matches legally, including the Globoplay streaming service. With the Globoplay + Premiere plan, fans can follow the Brasileirão (series A and B), the Copa do Brasil and state championships, in addition to entertainment content from the service’s catalog. The subscription costs 12 installments of R$ 39.90.
Globoplay also allows you to watch live football games for free — Photo: Rodrigo Fernandes/TechTudo
It is worth mentioning that Globo’s open programming, including football matches, can be accessed free of charge through Globoplay on Android and iPhone (iOS) mobile phones, smart TVs, tablets and computers. To do this, just make a quick registration on the Globo Account.
Star+, Disney’s streaming platform, broadcasts programming from the sports channel ESPN, showing the Copa Libertadores, Copa do Nordeste, Premier League and other European championships. The subscription costs R$32.90 per month. Streaming is available on apps for Android and iOS phones, and can also be accessed on smart TVs, computers and tablets.
Star Plus broadcasts the programming of the sports channel ESPN — Photo: Rodrigo Fernandes/TechTudo
The streaming and live TV service DirectTV Go, in addition to bringing together programming from ESPN, SportTV and Premiere, also broadcasts the Brasileirão, Copa do Brasil and Libertadores games. The monthly plan costs R$79.90, and users can add extra packages for other sports and championships. DirectTV Go can be accessed via Android and iPhone (iOS) mobile phones, tablet, computer and smart TV.
DirectTV Go broadcasts the Brasileirão, Copa do Brasil and Libertadores games — Photo: Paulo Alves/TechTudo
Eleven Sports, a streaming platform available in the web version and app for Android and iOS mobile phones, broadcasts football matches live and for free. Broadcasts include regional championships (Copa do Nordeste and Campeonato Capixaba, for example) and U-20 and U-17 matches, as well as women’s football championships. In addition, it is possible to follow matches from other countries, such as the Portuguese Championship and Nigerian Championship.
Eleven Sports app broadcasts football matches from around the world — Photo: Disclosure / Eleven Sports
The BandPlay application, available for Android and iOS mobile phones, is yet another alternative for fans who want to watch football online for free. In it, users can register to follow live the matches of the Campeonato Brasileiro Série C, Campeonato Brasileiro Sub-20, in addition to the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol Feminino.
BandPlay brings together TV and radio programs from the Bandeirantes network — Photo: Reproduction/BandPlay
with information from synamedia, BBC, G1 and TechRadar
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