Currently, hundreds of millions of people remain at home and occur global changes in the Internet traffic trends. In particular, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, raised interest in pirated sites.The fact is that considerable part of the population now works from home, while other people also stay at home, but spend time online searching for news and entertainment. Because of this, for example, has significantly increased the traffic of legal streaming services. In particular, in March, Sandvine announced a global increase in traffic to its streaming services by 10%, which for the first time helped YouTube overtook Netflix.
“Of course, users are not limited to just legal content. So, a few weeks ago, the publication noted an increase in interest in pirated sites in those regions where was introduced quarantine. Now, using various data sources, reporters have calculated that file sharing and pirated traffic are showing steady growth around the world”, – wrote Torrent Freak reporters.
So, in China from mid-January of this year, a new coronavirus began to appear in the headlines, and on January 23, 2020, authorities quarantined Wuhan and prohibited entry and exit from the region. In the following days, additional restrictions followed.
As a result, over the period from December to the end of February 2020, significantly increased the number of Chinese visitors to pirated sites. According to the MUSO analytic company, a sharp increase in visits to pirated sites began on January 24, reaching its peak on January 27. After that, traffic slightly decreased, but at the end of February it was still about 20% more than before the epidemic.
To figure out what happened after February 2020, journalists turned to the statistics of the iknowwhatyoudownload.com resource, which tracks millions of files available on public torrent sites, including The Pirate Bay and YTS. It turned out that torrent downloads clearly increased from March 6 to April 6 this year. If previously there were about 12 million daily downloads, now their number has increased to 16 million, that is, 33%.
A surge in activity is also noticeable for torrent trackers. For example, the operator of the tracker OpenTrackr.org told Torrent Freak that it is observing an increase in the total number of connections, as well as the number of connected peers. As you can see in the illustration below, from March 31 to April 6, the daily peak in the number of peers increased from 24 million to 26 million.
Journalists expect that quarantine in certain countries will made this trend even more noticeable. In the meantime, the publication collects and processes data, promising to continue collecting and publishing statistics.
What about the pirates – researchers say that cybercriminals increasingly use pirated software to deliver backdoors and ransomware.