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Is 123Movies Safe? (Yes, If You Follow This Guide)

123Movies had long been among the most popular free streaming websites with a huge catalog providing access to hundreds of decent titles. While the original platform disappeared, many mirror websites still exist, attracting those who can’t access legitimate streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus. But is it safe to use such websites? Read on to find out the most common security risks associated with 123Movies and its clones, along with ways to stay protected.

What is 123Movies? A brief overview

123Movies, also known as 123movieshub, GoMovies, MeMovies, and GoStream, was one of the biggest pirate sites that allowed users to watch movies and TV series online for free. Created in Vietnam, the platform was available in many regions worldwide, including the US, the UK, and the EU countries.

In 2018, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) conducted a comprehensive investigation of the Vietnamese website spreading illegal content. The organization’s executive Jan van Voorn claimed that 123Movies had nearly 98 million active users, making it the most popular illegal site in the world.

Does 123Movies still work?

The original 123Movies isn’t working and doesn’t exist anymore. Soon after the MPAA investigation, 123Movies shut down in cooperation with Vietnamese authorities. 

But the brand was so popular at the time that other unofficial streaming websites started to use its name to promote themselves. Today, dozens of mirror sites can be found online. Now, let’s focus on safety concerns regarding such platforms.

So, is 123Movies a safe website?

If you’re looking for a quick answer then no, neither 123Movies nor its mirror websites are safe. The main reason is that all those platforms are unofficial websites providing access to pirated content. On top of that, such sites are usually full of various cyber-threats, from ID and data theft to malware-infected links and pop-ups.

Main 123Movies safety issues

Here are some typical threats lying in wait on sketchy streaming websites like 123Movies.

  • Malicious ads and pop-ups. Sketchy websites similar to 123Movies are full of advertising content. And apart from being annoying, they may be dangerous to your online security. Once you click on such an ad, it will take you to a malicious website, leading to ID theft, malware distribution, and other dangers. For more details, check out our detailed guide on how to get rid of intrusive (and often harmful) ads and pop-ups.
  • Spoofed links. When bumping on an unknown link placed on a questionable website, don’t click it (even if it claims that a single click will make you super rich). That’s probably an attempt to lure you into a phishing trap – again, resulting in data theft or a dangerous virus introduced to your device. You can find out how to avoid phishing attacks in our related article.
  • Different forms of malware. If you’re using an unofficial streaming platform, it may infect your device with spyware, trojans, worms, rootkits, fileless malware, and other types of viruses you’d better avoid. Either through a link, pop-up, or infected file you may accidentally download, those malicious programs may get you into serious trouble. So again, it’s a bad idea to browse such websites without taking extra protection measures.

Apart from the cybersecurity risks listed above, it’s also important to mention that using unofficial streaming sites like 123Movies might be against your country’s laws. Here are some details.

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