IT’S SO TEMPTING TO OPT FOR A FREE IPTV SERVICE THROUGH A FREE VPN – BUT HERE ARE SEVEN SCARY REASONS YOU SHOULDN’T (AND HOW TO STREAM TV SAFELY, INSTEAD).
Sixty-one percent of young adults choose to stream their favorite programs rather than use traditional ways to watch their TV shows.
The on-demand aspect of streaming services – both paid and unpaid – makes them ideal. With Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) you can choose what you watch and when to watch it. You can binge-watch your favorite shows or catch up with the hottest film releases.
Many of people who stream their shows, however, aren’t using paid subscription services.
While free IPTV services sound like a dream, there are many scary reasons why you should avoid them.
Seven Scary Reasons to Avoid Free IPTV Services
To access unpaid IPTV you need to use a free Virtual Private Network (VPN) first. This, plus the problems associated with the free TV streaming services, opens you up to so many risks it’s not worth the trouble.
1. Your Data Is Still Being Tracked
The idea behind a VPN is to add anonymity and prevent your data from being gathered by the sites you visit.
The trouble is that running a VPN costs a lot of money. The providers, even if they want to run a legitimate free VPN service for you, need to find a way to make money.
This happens in two main ways:
1. You’re subjected to adverts plastered everywhere you look, or
2. Your data is sold to third parties.
Using a free VPN to access unpaid IPTV means you’re either going to face a lot of adverts (which cause more problems – more on that later), or your data will be sold.
Not only does the sale of your data negate the point of using a VPN, but it also means your data could be sold to the highest bidder.
Instead of legitimate data sales through marketing partnerships that are open for anybody to see (and opt out of) on a paid service, who knows who has bought your information?
2. You Open Your Computer up to Hackers
The connections used for unpaid IPTV services and free VPNs leave your computer, tablet, or phone open to hackers.
Opening up an unprotected connection to access these streaming services means you might as well put a neon sign up saying “hack me here!”
A paid subscription IPTV service has proper protocols in place that free streaming services and VPNs won’t offer.
3. Ads Will Slow Your Streaming Down
As well as making money from the insane number of ads you’ll see when you use a free online video streaming service, they also affect streaming performance.
The load time is very long and your favorite show could easily stop halfway through to buffer as more ads load.
4. Your IP Address May Still Be Logged
People use free VPNs and free streaming services to watch content because they know that it’s either entirely illegal or in the grey area of the law, depending on their country of residence.
You’re trying to hide your location by using workarounds such as a VPN. However, these services need to start the server process somewhere, and that somewhere could be your very own IP address.
When that happens, anybody can see your IP address on the server logs.
A famous case can be seen with the downfall of Hola. This service was widely touted as a great way to access geo-targeted content. For example, a user in the UK could access American videos by using Hola, which then logged an American IP address as the origin.
The trouble here, apart from illegal streaming, was that Hola was selling bandwidth to third parties.
This means the internet bandwidth that YOU pay for is being taken up by somebody else.
5. You’re Risking Malicious Malware
Have you ever used a free streaming service or a free VPN only to be faced with a wall of adverts? Or worse, the page seems fine but as soon as you click anywhere, up pop several new windows with ads in them?
As well as leaving your connection vulnerable to hackers, malware can get installed on your computer to track activity you do – even offline – well after you stop using the streaming service.
Simple malware can harvest information such as credit card numbers and passwords. It’s easy for hackers to gather this data and use it to spend all your money, or worse, steal your identity online.
Malicious software can also be simply that: a vicious attack on your computer. Your laptop or streaming device may become infected with malware that corrupts files. In extreme cases, you’ll need to buy a new device as your infected one becomes unusable.
Subscription IPTV services make their money from paying customers. They don’t need to raise funds via questionable adverts so you’re not putting yourself at risk of financial or identity theft.
6. End Users Can Be Sued for Distributing Content
If you think you can’t be sued for watching streamed online content, you need to think again.
Pirated video is no longer seen by the authorities as something that has been downloaded to a device. Producers of video content can sue those who stream their content through unapproved routes.
In 2014, the makers of an Adam Sandler film sued people who had viewed – not downloaded, but streamed – the film illegally.
Remember, the free streaming and VPN services you use don’t just open you up to hackers of the illegal kind. The authorities can use those same vulnerabilities to check up on what you’re doing. That includes viewing streamed content without the appropriate rights.
7. Your Connection Could Be Hijacked for Bad Things
You might not even notice your connection being hijacked. It might feel a bit slow, perhaps, as someone else is using your bandwidth.
Remember the problem with Hola? Your IP address becomes the root of a VPN process. That means someone else can use the VPN service with your IP as the root and whatever they do could look like your activity.
You could get into trouble for somebody else conducting nefarious internet activity because it all comes back to your IP address.
Safe Video Streaming Alternatives
Now you can see why free IPTV streaming services are a very bad idea, it’s time to consider the alternatives.
There’s really only one answer here: pay for your services. For just a small subscription each month, you’re protecting yourself from illegal activity, identity theft, and computer malware.
Don’t you think that’s worth the price?