Kodi ‘spyware’ could find out if users are watching illegally streamed material on their boxes, according to a new report.
A new add-on has been installed on some versions of Kodi software without users’ approval.
It ‘spies on’ users by monitoring the content people are streaming on their boxes.
If the ‘KN Addon Caretaker’ software detects illegal content, it displays a message warning users to uninstall in case it is ‘harmful’.
The message will not go away until users comply, according to the report.
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Kodi (pictured) is using ‘spyware’ to find out if users are watching illegally streamed material on their boxes, according to a new report. A new add-on has been installed on some versions of Kodi software without users’ approval and is able to monitor what you stream
WHAT IS KODI TV?
Kodi is software that enables you to streams apps and on-demand services onto your TV.
The software, which is legal, can even be downloaded onto an Amazon Fire stick.
Blank boxes can be bought from most major retailers for as little as £20 ($24), with the software uploaded afterwards.
Users can play BBC iPlayer, Youtube, Soundcloud and other free catch-up apps on the device.
But many of the plug-ins the box offers are illegal.
Be wary if the box is pre-loaded to include subscription sport, TV and movies for free.
Commonly the ‘fully loaded’ boxes let users watch Premier League games or Sky Movies without paying a subscription fee.
The new add-on, created by German Kodi developer Birger Jesch, monitors potentially illegal software installed on a device, according to the report from TVAddons, a popular library for 3rd party add-ons.
It is being hidden in new versions of some developers’ ‘Kodi skins’, which change the look and often extend the features of a user’s Kodi setup.
Developers of at least two Kodi skins – Estuary MOD V2 and Embuary – have rolled out the software in their new update, meaning they are installing it without users’ approval.
They claim they have included it as ‘a dependency’ to protect from being linked with illicit add-ons.
The software flags up any ‘problematic’ add-ons that might have been installed on a device.
‘You have one or more unauthorised repositories installed. These repositories may contain harmful add-ons’, the warning message reads.
‘It’s highly recommended to clean up your add-on list’.
According to TVAddons, at least two official add-ons, MathsGrinds and MetalChris, have wrongly been blacklisted by the new software.
‘This seems like another attack against the add-ons that made Kodi popular in the first place,’ the site wrote.
Kodi called for TVAddons to be ‘shut down because it brings misery to everyone’ on Twitter earlier this month. It is one of the most popular libraries for add-ons on Kodi
TVAddons was quick to respond, claiming that whoever was running Kodi’s social media profile was ‘definitely not in touch’ with its user base
‘As abusive lawsuits have began to plague the unofficial Kodi community, we’ve noticed an alarming trend in official Kodi developers attacking the unofficial add-on community, within the official Kodi forums as well as over social media.
‘Many of these attacks are unwarranted considering the fact that once upon a time Kodi itself was home to many of the add-ons which they now claim to hate.’
It added: ‘We strongly believe that end users should always have the right to choose, otherwise what’s the point?’
The battle between Kodi and illegal add-ons has been raging for months.
Earlier this month, TVAddons was targeted by Kodi on Twitter, who called for it to be ‘shut down because it brings misery to everyone’.
Earlier in June the Digital Economy Bill warned that people making and streaming films using torrents online would be committing a criminal offence
TVAddons is one of the most popular libraries for add-ons on Kodi, and was suddenly shut down in June during a legal battle with Canadian TV networks.
It provided a library of more than 1,500 add-ons, which supplied both legal and illegal content.
But the developers were recently cleared in court in Canada, and the library – which can be used to stream both legal and illegal content on Kodi boxes – put back online.
Kodi’s initial comment was made in response to an article tweeted by Torrent Freak speaking out against such lawsuits.
WHO IS USING KODI BOXES?
Over 55s are six times more likely to watch pirated video using Kodi boxes than young adults, a recent survey found.
More than 25,000 adults in 30 countries were surveyed by digital security firm Irdeto.
The highest percentage of Kodi users in the UK were in the 35-44 and 55+ age groups, at 18 per cent each.
This is in stark contrast to the 3 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds using a Kodi box to stream pirated content.
18-24 year olds are more likely to use smartphones, tablets or laptops to access illegal content.
‘Let’s hope tvaddons gets shut down regardless cause they bring nothing but misery to everyone,’ Kodi TV tweeted.
TVAddons was quick to respond, tweeting that whoever runs Kodi’s social accounts ‘is definitely not in touch with your userbase’.
Kodi is software that enables users to streams apps and on-demand services onto their TV.
Although the software itself is legal, it has become associated with internet piracy due to addons, like Navi-X, that can provide illegal content.
Under new rules, people in the UK will now face up to 10 years in prison if caught streaming illegal content.