Scams, Cyber Threats and Illicit Sports Streaming in Singapore

35 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2024

Date Written: January 30, 2024


Sports piracy continues to be an urgent and pressing issue in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region more broadly. Notwithstanding the economic impacts on creators and rightsholders, cybercriminals specifically target consumers, exposing them to identity theft and identity fraud through browser hijacking, malware, and scams promoted by advertising on piracy sites.
This study investigated cyber threats across 25 of the top sports streaming sites in Singapore. Using cyber threat analysis from Google’s VirusTotal product, it was found that the average likelihood of encountering a cyber threat on these sites was 48%, meaning that consumers had a 48 in 100 average chance of encountering a cyber threat when visiting any of these sites.
Furthermore, the relative scam risk of visiting these sites compared to the top 25 mainstream sites in Singapore (acting as controls) was found to be 3.5x higher, based on an unweighted assessment of scam features identified by ScamAdviser, including the use of DNS registrars known to be associated with scam sites, and high Alexa ratings despite being newly registered.
Next, the pathways for consumers using Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs) was analysed. Out of the three most popular ISDs, a number of malicious applications were identified, that could cause consumers significant harm, with up to 243 malware samples detected across 115 .apk files, realizing an average detection rate of 2.11.
Finally, an analysis of the advertising was undertaken on the 25 sites using the simulated user methodology. After viewing each page ten times, all ads displayed were classified as either “high risk” or mainstream. 139 ads were identified, of which the majority (53.96%) were high risk. The average likelihood of viewing a high risk ad was 37.5%, meaning that a high risk ad would be viewed 37.5 times per 100 page views.
Taken together, these data indicate that Singaporeans who use illicit live streaming sports sites are at a higher risk of encountering cyber threats and scams compared to control sites.
In practical terms, consumers using these sites are highly likely to encounter cyber threats, or become victim of a scam.
It is recommended that consumers choose safe and legal alternatives, and that education initiatives be developed for the local market. Furthermore, regulatory reform and law enforcement resourcing may need to be enhanced to reduce the impact on Singaporean consumers.

Keywords: Singapore, piracy, streaming, sports

Suggested Citation

Watters, Paul, Scams, Cyber Threats and Illicit Sports Streaming in Singapore (January 30, 2024). Available at SSRN: or

Paul Watters (Contact Author)

Cyberstronomy Pty Ltd ( email )

Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000


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