Game of Thrones has the most malware of any pirated TV show

The night is dark and full of malicious files.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
Expertise Space, Futurism, Science and Sci-Tech, Robotics, Tech Culture Credentials
  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
2 min read

If you're not worried about breaking the law when you pirate Game of Thrones , then at least worry about breaking your computer.

Security company Kaspersky has released a new report into malware disguised as episodes of popular TV shows in 2018. The findings? Game of Thrones torrents are dark and full of terrors.

Kaspersky collated the 31 most popular and most pirated shows of last year -- titles like Stranger Things, The Handmaid's Tale and Westworld -- and tracked their appearance on torrenting and piracy sites. Of the 31 shows studied, Kaspersky found 126,340 cases of malware posing as episodes. (The data is sourced from millions of volunteers worldwide that share cybersecurity data with the company as part of its Kaspersky Security Network).

Here's the low-down from the Kaspersky report:

  • Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Arrow were the worst shows for malware
  • Fake Game of Thrones eps accounted for almost one-fifth of malware (17 percent)
  • The first and last episode of each Game of Thrones season were the worst for malware, with the first ever episode "Winter is Coming" one of the leading sources of malware
  • American Horror Story did the most damage, with each malicious file posing as an episode reaching an average of three users

The two most popular pieces of malware were "Not-a-virus:Downloader" and "Not-a-virus:AdWare." C'mon guys. You just walked into that one.

Perhaps most mind-boggling of all is the fact that there were no new episodes of Game of Thrones released in 2018. It's a safe bet to expect even more malware posing as new episodes when season 8 starts to air.

So if you're not worried about getting a cease and desist letter from HBO, or you're not interested in paying for a show that costs $15 million per episode to make, then at least worry about the malware.

Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today

See all photos