Game of Thrones season 7 ending put everyone on the edge of their seats and the anticipation for the next season hasn't been easy for fans. After a long and weary wait, HBO confirmed that Game of Thrones season 8 will premiere on April 14 and with only a few days left, fans must be contemplating ways to watch the final season of the popular TV series before everyone else.

The official route to watch the Game of Thrones season 8 is through HBO or Hotstar if you're in India. The subscriptions of these services are quite affordable, especially if you consider watching the grand finale of your favourite TV show in the highest resolution possible. But if you choose to save the subscription money and watch GoT for free, downloading the content from torrent sites is an illegal, yet popular, method.

If you choose the latter and go with the free torrent copies of Game of Thrones season 8 episodes to watch the climax of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, there's a bigger price to pay. Security experts are warning against downloading pirated copies of Game of Thrones season 8 due to the risk of getting infected by malware is extremely high.

Game of Thrones
Game of ThronesGame of Thrones Official Youtube

"Online fraudsters tend to exploit people's loyalty and impatience, so may promise brand new material for download that is in fact a cyberthreat. Keeping in mind that the final season of Game of Thrones starts this month, we would like to warn users that it is highly likely there will be a spike in the amount of malware disguised as new episodes of this show," Anton V. Ivanov, Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said in a statement.

According to Ivanov, the first and last episodes are likely to be at the greatest risk of malware spoofing. The warning doesn't come without reason. In 2018, Game of Thrones was the most popular series among hackers to infect unsuspecting users. The popular series accounted for 17 percent of all infected pirated content all year, affecting 20,934 users, Kaspersky report revealed.

The report also found that The Walking Dead and Arrow were the other two popular TV series with the greatest number of infected users. The popularity of these TV shows serves as great bait for hackers. The researchers said they found 33 types and 505 different families of malicious threats behind Game of Thrones title.

Game of Thrones : Malware is coming
Game of Thrones : Malware is comingKaspersky Lab

How to stay safe?

While the best way to stay safe from a potential malware attack is to avoid torrent sites altogether, here are some tips one must keep in mind at all times:

  • Verify the website for its authenticity and legitimacy
  • Double check the URL format and check for spelling errors in the name of the site
  • Watch out for the extension of the downloaded file. Files of TV shows episodes must not end in .exe
  • Read comments of the torrents you are about to download
  • Do not click on suspicious links offering the early premiere of new episodes