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Even though there were no new episodes of Game of Thrones in all of 2018, it was still the most pirated show online. While the show has consistently been a popular choice in the dark corners of the internet, it turns out those episode files might have come with an unexpected surprise this time around: malware.
Yesterday, online security firm Kaspersky released a report, titled "Game of Threats," (via Gizmodo) that talked about the use of popular TV shows to spread malware. HBO's fantasy epic was, unsurprisingly, the highest on the list of risky downloads.
Kaspersky found 33 different types of threats connected with Game of Thrones. Interestingly, each season's premiere and finale had the greatest risks of being infected. The series premiere, "Winter Is Coming," was the most likely to contain malware.
The other two biggest risks were AMC's The Walking Dead and The CW's Arrow, followed by other genre favorites like Vikings, Supernatural, and The Big Bang Theory. However, American Horror Story proved to be the most effective at masking malware.
Though malware encounters in 2018 were down around 33 percent from the year prior, Kaspersky warns that Game of Thrones' upcoming final season could send those numbers back on the rise.
If you want to read up more on the issue, including how to be more diligent online, you can check out Kaspersky's official statement in full here. Of course, if you want to be absolutely sure you're avoiding malware (and following the law), you should always pay for the content through a legitimate streaming service or retailer.