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.
In particular, users often report that they encounter various security issues, such as malicious files and viruses, after watching content on shady websites similar to 123Movies. Here is one such example:
That said, let’s explore the most common security concerns associated with 123Movies and its clones.
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.
Is 123Movies illegal?
Overall, the legality of using 123Movies mirror sites depends on the laws in your particular country. In certain regions, piracy and copyright circumvention are not prohibited at all (or not actively persecuted), as there are no specific regulations in this regard. But in most parts of the world, streaming and downloading pirated content is illegal. Such acts can lead to heavy fines or even jail sentences.
To be more specific, let’s overview the legality of online piracy in different regions worldwide.
|Not actively persecuted
|Allowed for personal use
🇨🇳 China (depending on the region)
🇿🇦 South Africa
🇬🇧 The UK
🇺🇸 The US
🇨🇿 Czech Republic
Disclaimer: VeePN does not endorse piracy, and our service is not intended to facilitate bypassing copyright regulations or engaging in illegal activities. While torrenting itself is not inherently illegal and can be used for legitimate purposes, such as downloading material without copyright issues, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Please be aware that if an action is illegal without using a VPN, it remains illegal when using our service.
With that in mind, even if unofficial streaming sites are available in your region, we still recommend using such services cautiously. Again, platforms similar to 123Movies are often associated with multiple security risks one shouldn’t neglect. So, if you happen to use such a website, here are several tips on how to stay safe and secure.
How to stay safe on 123Movies
To avoid cyber-attacks, viruses, and snooping attempts when browsing websites like 123Movies, follow these simple yet effective practices:
- Be aware of potential risks. Always check whether a particular activity, such as watching pirated content, is allowed in your country. Also, remember that such sites always come with certain risks to your data privacy and device’s security. And even the most powerful online protection tools do not guarantee 100% immunity against those threats.
- Consider legitimate 123Movies alternatives. To support the creators of your beloved content and stick to generally accepted rules, it’s always better (and much safer) to opt for a legal 123Movies alternative if possible. While premium streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are quite costly, you may also check out free streaming services, such as Tubi, Plex, Freevee, Roku Channel, Vudu, and Pluto TV. These platforms also come with ads – but at least, you can be sure that your device won’t be infected with some dangerous virus if you accidentally click on some pop-up.
- Update your software. Make sure to update your system and browser to the latest version. It will save you from potential vulnerabilities that might have already been fixed by the developers.
- Don’t download suspicious files. When using a 123Movies mirror website, it’s a bad idea to download any files from there. Those might be viruses or other types of malicious programs you don’t want to deal with.
- Avoid spoofed links and pop-ups. Another important cyber hygiene rule is to stay away from suspicious and unverified links. The same applies to pop-ups appearing on your screen out of nowhere.
- Don’t share your personal details. Signing up on an illegal movie streaming website or sharing your personal info in any other way is another critical mistake. Your private data can be stolen, eventually appearing in the hands of malicious actors.
- Use a VPN and advanced antivirus software. Last but not least, empower your cybersecurity kit with two essential protection tools – a virtual private network (VPN) and antivirus. They cover the most critical aspects of your Internet privacy and security. A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your Internet traffic, making it nearly impossible to snoop on you. On top of that, reputable VPNs come with extra features to prevent malware, phishing, malicious ads, and other risks. Antivirus, in turn, allows you to scan your device’s system, detecting viruses, spyware, rootkits, and more.
💡 Pro tip: The reliability of VPN services, as well as antivirus tools, varies. Some providers, especially the ones promoted as free, tend to sell customer data to third parties, such as ad agencies or government organizations, to make a profit. To make things worse, you may fall victim to a VPN scam – a fake service striving to steal your private details or infect your device with malware. To eliminate these risks, we recommend using premium VPN and antivirus services like VeePN.
How to use VeePN for 123Movies
VeePN comes with all the essential privacy and security features, from NetGuard (to prevent malware, phishing attacks, and unwanted monitoring) to Kill Switch (to avoid data leaks in case your VPN connection fails) and AES-256 encryption. Moreover, our service comes with an effective Antivirus feature for Windows and Android. Here’s how to safeguard your online presence and stay safe even on insecure websites like 123Movies with VeePN’s VPN and Antivirus toolkit.
How to use VeePN VPN
- Opt for the most suitable pricing plan.
- Download and install the VeePN app on your device. Our multi-platform solution supports all major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Note that you can use VeePN on up to 10 devices with a single subscription.
- Open the app and connect to the preferred server location. VeePN comes with over 2,500 servers across 89 locations in 60 countries worldwide.
- Configure your VPN settings. When using unprotected streaming sites, make sure to toggle on all boxes in the Privacy Settings tab.
- Turn VeePN on. Once done, your IP address will be changed and your traffic will be covered with powerful encryption.
How to use VeePN Antivirus
- Choose the preferred subscription plan and create a VeePN account.
- Download and install VeePN for PC or VeePN for Android on your device (or get both solutions without extra charge).
- Open VeePN, choose the Antivirus tab, and tap the Protect this device option.
- Run a scan to detect threats. It will take some time to complete.
- If any threats are detected, select View details and remove the infected files.
- Consider enabling the Real-time protection feature to scan any files once installed on your device.
Protect your streaming experience with VeePN
Looking for a way to safeguard your data when browsing the web? VeePN will add an extra security layer to your connection even when using unofficial websites containing fishy ads and spoofed links. Take advantage of VeePN’s strong cybersecurity features and reliable encryption to surf the Internet with peace of mind.
Moreover, if you opt for legitimate streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu, VeePN is still worth a shot. Use our reputable VPN for streaming to access the desired content when traveling and maintain your privacy while watching your favorite shows and movies. Try it now with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
FAQ: Is 123Movies Safe?
Although the original 123Movies website shut down in 2018, many mirror sites also provide free access to a large number of titles. But such platforms aren’t official and usually distribute pirated content, which is illegal in most parts of the world. Please note that VeePN does not endorse piracy. Our service is not intended to facilitate bypassing copyright regulations or engaging in illegal activities.
Yes, 123Movies clone sites are associated with numerous security and privacy risks. In particular, these are malicious ads and pop-ups, spoofed links, and malware-infected download files. On top of that, using such sites is illegal in many regions. Read this article to learn more about these threats.
While you can’t be completely safe on websites like 123Movies, there are a couple of ways to protect yourself from potential risks. In particular, it’s better to avoid clicking on suspicious links and downloading any files on such sites. Also, it’s a good idea to use a reputable VPN service and antivirus software. For more details, check out this blog post.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution here, as 123Movies viruses vary in their forms and behavior. One essential method is to install premium antivirus software that will help you detect malware on your device and remove it. Also, it’s important to get rid of malicious 123Movies redirects in your web browser.
Yes! It’s important to use a reliable VPN for 123Movies and similar websites since they’re highly insecure. A reliable VPN like VeePN will help you avoid malicious links, malware-infected ads, phishing attacks, and more. Such a tool will also protect your privacy thanks to powerful AES-256 encryption. Read this article to learn more.