What Are Kodi’s Biggest Security Issues? And How Can You Avoid Them?By Steph Myers / December 22, 2016 / Tags: Kodi
Kodi has some major security and privacy risks. The good news is they’re easy to avoid, and Kodi’s awesomeness soars even higher once you do.
There isn’t much to dislike about Kodi. The home entertainment platform is free, versatile, slick, and powerful.
There’s just one major problem with Kodi. It has some pretty serious security vulnerabilities. Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid them and stay secure on Kodi.
Using Kodi with a VPN is now standard practice to stay safe and private in the face of increasing hacks targeting Kodi users. (I personally use NordVPN, which I can recommend as an excellent service with the highest standards of safety and privacy protection. And I’ve tried a ton of different VPN providers. Nord is a PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for two years running and has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Now through Feb. 28 you can get their winter deal: only $3.29/mo for two years.)
So what are the biggest security issues on Kodi? Here’s a rundown of what to be aware of — and take steps to avoid.
Man-In-The-Middle Attacks: Kodi leaves users vulnerable to what’s called “man-in-the-middle” attacks. That’s when a hacker infiltrates the connection between you and Kodi, inserting himself in the middle. This means your network is compromised, and your personal information in the hands of bad elements.
Third-Party Add-Ons: Many of the best Kodi add-ons aren’t part of the official repository. Instead, they are from unofficial — and sometimes downright sketchy — sources. You can avoid the risks by only installing whitelisted add-ons from official Kodi repository. But if you (like most Kodi users) are a fan of some of the popular unofficial add-ons for streaming TV, movies and sports then you’ll want to protect yourself. You need to use Kodi with a VPN, which will keep you secure and protect your personal information while you stream. See the top VPNs for Kodi.
Streaming Sticks & Boxes Pre-Loaded With Kodi: The Kodi Foundation acknowledged the extent of this security vulnerability in a recent blog post. People are buying Amazon Fire Sticks and similar devices that come with versions of Kodi already installed — and putting themselves at risk in the process. The jacked-up devices are being sold by ‘programmers’ looking to make money off the fact that it’s not easy for a regular person to install Kodi on a streaming device — yet having it on your Fire Stick sure is convenient. But these “piracy boxes” as Team Kodi calls them leave unsuspecting users “open to numerous security exploits.”
ISP Tracking & Monitoring: Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) regularly tracks your online activities (shocking, but true). If you stream Kodi TV (that is, ahem, watch stuff you didn’t pay for), you will get an alarming letter from your ISP, if you haven’t already. It’s rather upsetting, and nobody really knows what the ISPs are doing beyond sending letters to customers. Are they tipping off other agencies? One can only wonder.
Hackers & Scammers: It’s not surprising hackers would use Kodi — a free, popular media platform — to target users. But it does suck. A lot. Kodi is an open-source technology, which makes it fairly easy for hackers and scammers to infiltrate. The aim is to breach your network and get hold of your personal information, followed by one-can-only-imagine-what.
Corporate & Government Spies: It’s not only the “bad guys” who use Kodi to spy and pry. It’s also the government and content copyright holders like major TV and movie corporation. They think Kodi users are the “bad guys” for streaming copyrighted content without their permission. And they would very much like to put an end to it. In fact, there are arguments about whether Kodi is legal, with copyright holders pushing for government action, as in the recent takedown of KickAss Torrents.
How To Stay Safe On Kodi
Whether you are watching bootlegged TV on Kodi or not, it’s just plain smart to protect yourself from security and privacy breaches. Plus, it’s so easy there’s really no excuse not to. Using a VPN will secure your connection, keep you safe, and hide your identity from scammers and spies.
Unreliable VPNs will slow your connection, and the free ones come with their own risks (like Hola Better Internet, a free VPN that got busted for selling users’ bandwidth to run a spam-bot network). My personal choice, NordVPN, has never given me any trouble, and streaming speeds are excellent. Another top-rated VPN is ExpressVPN, which also has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Check out our chart of the top VPNs for Kodi to compare features. If you need help setting it up, see How To Set Up A VPN With Kodi.
Knowing — and preventing — any trouble on Kodi will make all that great content you’re watching even more enjoyable.
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