Wyomingites are being warned about pirate websites

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Cheyenne, Wyo. - Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael is warning consumers about pirate websites.

Michael says hackers are known to use these pirate websites to infect consumer's computers. These websites, which online users visit to watch illegally distributed movies, music, books, and other copyrighted content, have become a source for infecting computers with dangerous malware that can lead to identity theft and other serious financial and privacy harms.

A recent study found that 1 in 3 pirate websites exposed users to malware exploitable by criminals. Almost half of the malware was “drive-by,” meaning it was delivered without the user even having to click on the link.

In the announcement, Michael cautions viewers that “Hackers are always looking for new ways to break into our computers. Something as simple as visiting pirate websites can put your computer at risk.”

Malware can lead to the following:

-Financial loss, including breaches to financial accounts.
-Identify theft and loss of privacy.
-So-called ransomware, where access to a computer is frozen until the user pays the hacker to regain access.
-Spyware downloads that grant hackers access to the computer’s camera without the user’s knowledge.

The following tips can help you avoid compromising your digital devices:

-Avoid pirate websites and only visit legal, legitimate websites.
-Install anti-virus programs and keep them updated.
-If you think your computer has been compromised, alert a computer specialist to have your computer analyzed.