The Most Pirated TV Shows of 2015, AVG Compromises Security… [Tech News Digest]

What naughty pirates have been pirating this year, AVG secures its insecure extension, Sidecar is shutting down, Duke Nukem is disappearing off GOG, and a timely reminder that the Internet isn’t everything.

Everybody Pirates Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is the most-pirated television show of 2015, making this the fourth year in a row the HBO show has topped this chart. As compiled by TorrentFreak, the list shows just how popular certain shows are on BitTorrent. Game of Thrones is way out in front, with The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory coming in second and third respectively.

  1. Game of Thrones – 14.4 million
  2. The Walking Dead – 6.9 million
  3. The Big Bang Theory – 4.4 million
  4. Arrow – 3.9 million
  5. The Flash – 3.6 million
  6. Mr. Robot – 3.5 million
  7. Vikings 3.3 million
  8. Supergirl – 3 million
  9. The Blacklist – 2.9 million
  10. Suits – 2.6 million

These figures are only for individual episodes, which means overall these shows have been pirated in much greater numbers. Streaming and downloads from file-hosting services are also not included, making this even more depressing reading for the copyright-holders involved.

One thing to note is how many of these shows are exclusive to individual networks or services which require additional subscriptions. It therefore stands to reason that if people had better access to these shows that the levels of piracy would drop. In other words, give people flexible paid options and they’re likely to take them.

Chrome Extension Compromises Security

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If you’re currently running AVG’s Web TuneUp Chrome extension, then you should seriously consider removing it. Why? Because it was recently found to be a security risk, which is rather ironic given that its vendor is a security company specializing in antivirus software.

Web TuneUp is designed to flag suspicious search results when they crop up. However, as discovered by Google, it included a gaping flaw that could be exploited, exposing users’ browsing history, and hindering Chrome’s own malware-monitoring abilities. Not good.

As documented on the Google Security Research site, Google informed AVG of the issue, but the first fix was woefully inadequate. The second fix wasn’t much better, with Google suggesting it merely looked “okay”. Our advice is to disable this extension for the time being, especially as it’s not exactly crucial in the first place.

Uber Rival Sidecar Is No More

Sidecar, once a competitive rival to Uber and Lyft, is no more, with the company ceasing operations on December 31st. According to a Medium post by CEO Sunil Paul, no more rides or deliveries will be offered after 2pm PT tomorrow, as the team start to “work on strategic alternatives and lay the groundwork for the next big thing.”

While Sidecar was one of the pioneers of ride-sharing, it failed to keep up with Uber and Lyft, both of whom took a more aggressive approach to the business. Still, Sidecar did manage to raise $35 million in venture funding, most of which will have now disappeared into a black hole. And the winners in all this? Uber and Lyft.

Buy Duke Nukem While You Still Can

Fans of Duke Nukem should grab a copy of the old games while they still have the chance. The good news is that these classic shooters are extremely cheap to buy right now. The bad news is that they’re only available on GOG (Good Old Games) until tomorrow (December 31st, 2015). It should be noted, however, that they’re also available on Steam.

The titles up for grabs are Duke Nukem 1+2, Duke Nukem 3D, Balls of Steel, and Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, with a couple of dollars buying you all four games. Then, according to GOG, the games “will be removed from our catalog, but we are in talks with the new rights-holders to bring them back as swiftly as possible.”

F**k the Internet [NSFW]

And finally, we have a video spoofing all of those informative television shows from the 1990s which tried to wrap their heads around this thing called the Internet. Except it’s shot in 2015 and stars Elizabeth McDonough as a hippy treehugger not familiar with the latest technology.

There’s actually a lot going on here beyond being a straight spoof of the style of presenting 25 years ago. There’s the reminder to get off the Internet once in a while, and the light mocking of the sexism that suggested women would have a hard time understanding the Web. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is there still a legitimate excuse for piracy in this day and age? Should AVG be ashamed of itself for the TuneUp security issue? Have you ever taken a Sidecar? What’s your favorite Duke Nukem game? Are you aware that you spend too much time on the Internet?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Stephen Dann via Flickr