Internet users are always opening up themselves to some kind of digital attack when they download anything, but savvy downloaders usually know what sort of things are particularly dangerous—like brand new movies or anything attached to an email from “YOUR CLOSE FRIEND.” According to Newsweek, though, a cybersecurity firm called Check Point has discovered that hackers can even use subtitle files to “take complete control over any type of device” thanks to various vulnerabilities in video players like FLC, Popcorn-Time, and Kodi.
Apparently, this is all because there are a bunch of different formats for subtitle programs and very little security directed at subtitles. If you download a fan-made subtitle file for some movie or TV show and accidentally got an infected one, the media player will load it up because it just looks like a normal text file, and the hacker will be able to access your computer.
Luckily, this is all mostly hypothetical, as Check Point merely noticed that it was possible and then notified the companies behind the vulnerable media players. You should be safe if you have all of the latest updates, but as always, it’s worth remembering that even the smallest amount of internet activity can leave you vulnerable to countless horrible things. Ideally, everyone should just stay off of the internet as much as possible.