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‘The Walking Dead’ Was the Most Pirated TV Show of 2018

AMC’s The Walking Dead has topped the list of the most-pirated television shows for 2018, TorrentFreak reports.

The hit zombie drama, now in the middle of its ninth season, ended a six-year streak for HBO’s Game of Thrones, which didn’t air new episodes in 2018.

TorrentFreak compiles the information from BitTorrent traffic as well as statistics recorded by public BitTorrent trackers, which the site notes is just a “small portion of the piracy landscape,” and does not account for streaming sites and affiliated services that don’t report viewing statistics.

CW’s DC Comics-inspired The Flash ranks second in the top ten most-pirated shows — moving in from third now that Game of Thrones has vacated the top spot — followed by CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, History’s Vikings, DC Universe streaming series Titans, the CW’s Arrow and Supernatural, HBO’s Westworld, the CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and USA Network’s Suits.

The Walking Dead previously emerged as the second-most dangerous show to pirate, behind only Game of Thrones, as the most popular series are targets for cyber criminals who use the most sought after shows and downloads to infect unsuspecting computers with malicious malware.

According to research published by BestVPN.com and antivirus producers Kapersky Lab, those findings reported about 50,000 users were affected by more than 170,000 infection attempts piggybacking episodes of Game of Thrones, while The Walking Dead racked up around 100,000 infection attempts across nearly 20,000 computers across the globe — numbers that handily defeated other risky hit series, including Netflix’s Stranger Things and Orange Is the New Black.

The Walking Dead winning the title of most-pirated show of 2018 comes even after producers AMC implemented Civolution’s NexGuard watermarks in 2016, digital watermarks intended to prevent insiders — such as workers performing post-production services — from leaking AMC shows like Fear the Walking Dead and Better Call Saul online.

“It is paramount for us to protect our assets when they are at their most valuable,” said Steve Pontillo, AMC’s chief technology officer. “This enhanced content security is a powerful deterrent against piracy and protects our revenue and that of our distribution partners.”

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The network has foreseen a “long future” with The Walking Dead, which aims to continue with Season Ten and beyond as AMC readies to roll out more content from the budding Walking Dead Universe, which will soon feature other series, films, and more digital content.

The Walking Dead Season Nine returns with new episodes Sunday, February 10 on AMC.