Whether it is downloading torrents or streaming through a dodgy Android box, the internet has more than its fair share of shady corners where you can watch pirated movies and TV shows.
However, Microsoft’s official Windows Store is probably one of the last places you would expect to find apps that give access to pirated content.
According to Torrent Freak, the Windows Store has become overrun with illegal streaming apps offering access to the latest movies, sporting events and TV shows.
“When we were browsing through the ‘top free’ apps in the Windows Store, our attention was drawn to several applications that promoted ‘free movies’ including various Hollywood blockbusters such as Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and The Mummy,” Torrent Freak reported.
“Initially, we assumed that a pirate app may have slipped past Microsoft’s screening process. However, the ‘problem’ doesn’t appear to be isolated. There are dozens of similar apps in the official store that promise potential users free movies, most with rave reviews.”
“The sheer number of piracy apps in the Windows Store, using names such as ‘Free Movies HD,’ ‘Free Movies Online 2020,’ and ‘FreeFlix HQ,’ came as a surprise to us. In particular, because the developers make no attempt to hide their activities, quite the opposite,” TorrentFreak said in its report.
“After hours of going through the pirate app offerings, it’s clear that Microsoft’s “trusted” Windows Store is ridden with unauthorized content. Thus far we have only mentioned video, but the issue also applies to pirated music in the form of dedicated streaming and download apps.”
Apps such as HD Movies Online, Free Unlimited Movies and Freeflix HQ all feature in the “Top Free” section, alongside legitimate apps such as Netflix, Spotify and Facebook.
The Kodi app, which while not illegal, can be used to gain access to pirated material, sits in the top 5 and is perhaps a pretty good indication of just how popular the open source software is for people looking to access premium content without paying.
It is not known how long the apps have been available to download or what action Microsoft plans to take against them, if any.
A word of warning, no matter how desperate you are to see the latest movie of Game of Thrones episode, downloading any of the mentioned could be pretty risky.
While we don’t know if any of the apps contain viruses, they’re exactly the type that might and are probably best avoided.