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Is 123 movies safe?

The short answer is no, 123Movies is not safe to use anymore.

As your friend and streaming expert, I wanted to provide you with a detailed guide explaining why 123Movies is unsafe, illegal, and not worth the risks. Read on to learn the full story!

What happened to the real 123Movies?

The original 123Movies website was shut down back in 2018 after pushback from movie studios and a criminal investigation.

At its peak, 123Movies was the most popular illegal streaming site in the world. But it was facilitating mass copyright infringement by letting people watch movies and shows without permission.

The Motion Picture Association of America called 123Movies the "most popular illegal site" before working with authorities to seize the site‘s domains and shut down its servers.

So the real 123Movies.to site has been gone for years now. Any site using its name today is a fake imposter.

Are 123Movies copycats legal or safe to use?

No, 123Movies mirrors and clone sites are neither legal nor safe to use. Here‘s why:

  • They allow illegal streaming of copyrighted material without permission. This breaks piracy laws.
  • They could infect your device with malware through videos, ads or downloads.
  • Your IP address and personal data is at risk of being logged or stolen.
  • You may see inappropriate/offensive content since the sites are unmoderated.
  • You could receive legal penalties like copyright notices, fines and lawsuits.

I do not recommend ever using a website that brands itself as 123Movies for the reasons above. The risks outweigh any benefit of getting free entertainment.

How popular are fake 123Movies sites?

While the original 123Movies is gone, copycat sites continue attracting massive amounts of traffic.

According to piracy tracking firm MUSO, 123Movies clones generated over 98.7 billion visits in 2021 alone!

Some of the most visited clones include:

  • 123movieshub.to – 3.3 billion visits
  • 123moviesfree.to – 729 million visits
  • 123moviefree.to – 587 million visits

So even though none of these sites are real or legal 123Movies operations, they continue misleading millions of users.

What dangers do 123Movies sites pose?

Fake 123Movies streaming portals are riddled with all kinds of problems, such as:

Malware and viruses

  • Many clone sites inject malware into videos, downloads, subtitles or site code. This can infect devices with viruses, spyware, ransomware and other threats.
  • According to a 2020 study, 98% of ‘pirate‘ sites contain malware or other harmful code.

Phishing and identity theft

  • 123Movies copies often trick users into completing scam surveys that steal personal information.
  • Your IP address, location, device details and other data may be logged and sold.

Poor/distracting experience

  • Annoying and intrusive ads disrupt viewing sessions and can even trigger malware.
  • Slow loading times, video buffering, pop-ups and redirects are common.

Adult/offensive material

  • Without moderation, you risk exposure to inappropriate adult ads or illegal content.

Legal consequences

  • Accessing pirated streams violates copyright law and could result in penalties.

In summary, fakes pose privacy, security and legal risks with a poor viewing experience.

Can you get in trouble legally for 123Movies?

Yes, there can be legal consequences for streaming pirated movies and shows through sites masquerading as 123Movies. Potential penalties include:

  • Copyright notices: Your ISP may send you warnings if they detect illegal streaming activity on your network. Repeated notices can lead to service termination.
  • Fines: Governments are authorized to impose fines on those engaging in copyright infringement under laws like the U.S. Copyright Act.
  • Lawsuits: Movie studios, networks and other content owners can sue individual streamers for substantial civil damages under piracy laws.
  • Criminal charges: Willful and excessive copyright infringement can lead to criminal prosecution in some countries, including jail time.

While the odds of getting sued as an individual are low, they increase if you download and distribute pirated materials yourself. Streaming on sketchy sites like fake 123Movies clones still carries significant privacy, security and legal risks.

What happened to the 123Movies Kodi addon?

The 123Movies Kodi addon allowed viewing pirated movies and shows through the Kodi media player. Kodi has many legitimate uses, but piracy addons like the 123Movies one crossed the line.

In 2018, the Motion Picture Association got GitHub to remove the source code repository for the 123Movies Kodi addon. This made the add-on unusable and effectively killed it off.

Installing unauthorized third-party addons like 123Movies on Kodi can be illegal. I advise against it – using Kodi as intended with your own local media library is perfectly legal.

Are there any real 123Movies apps?

No. Following the shutdown of the real 123Movies, its official Android and iOS apps were also removed from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Some third-party app stores may still allow installing "123Movies" apps. But these are all pirated versions that could contain malware or spyware.

For your own safety, only install apps from official sources like Google Play and the App Store. Streaming through unofficial "123Movies" apps comes with huge privacy and legal risks.

What are the top alternatives?

Instead of playing Russian roulette with sketchy 123Movies clones, I recommend using legal streaming alternatives.

Paid streaming services

For the best experience, go with premium services like:

  • Netflix: Still the top streaming service with an unmatched content library and originals. Plans start at $9.99 a month.
  • HBO Max: Get all HBO content plus Warner Bros. movies, DC films, Cartoon Network and more for $14.99 a month.
  • Hulu: Offers thousands of shows, movies, and Hulu originals with plans starting at $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year.
  • Disney+: The home for Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic titles. Just $7.99 a month.
  • Amazon Prime Video: Access a deep content catalog as part of an Amazon Prime membership for $14.99 a month or $139 annually.

Free, legal options

If you want free streaming, use legitimate ad-supported platforms like:

  • Tubi TV: Owned by Fox, Tubi has over 25,000 movies and shows available entirely for free.
  • Pluto TV Provides free live TV and on-demand content without needing an account. Now owned by Paramount.
  • The Roku Channel: Roku‘s free service has movies, shows, live news and more. Available on the web even without a Roku device.
  • The Freevee: Amazon‘s ad-supported service with originals and licensed movies/TV.
  • Peacock: NBCUniversal‘s free tier has next-day NBC shows, news, sports, and more.

The options above give you tons of great entertainment without malware risks, costs or legal concerns.

Should you use a VPN for streaming?

A VPN (virtual private network) alone won‘t make piracy safe or legal. However, using a VPN provides important privacy and security benefits:

  • It hides your IP address and location so sketchy sites can‘t log it.
  • Encrypts your internet traffic to keep ISPs from detecting or throttling streams.
  • Helps bypass geographic restrictions and access more content.
  • Adds a layer of security when on public WiFi hotspots.

I suggest considering a premium VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN if you plan to stream a lot, whether pirated or not. But remember a VPN won‘t protect you from legal liability if caught.

Let‘s recap…

The original 123Movies site has been permanently shut down and is not coming back. Any site now claiming to be 123Movies is a fake imposter site:

✘ 123Movies clones facilitate illegal streaming and often propagate malware. They should be avoided.

✘ Streaming pirated movies or shows could lead to penalties like copyright notices, fines or a lawsuit. It‘s not worth the risk.

✘ The 123Movies Kodi addon, mobile apps and other related software are defunct and dangerous to use. Only install apps from official app stores.

✔ Instead, use reputable paid services like Netflix and HBO Max or free, legal options like Tubi TV and Pluto TV. These provide a much better and safer viewing experience.

I hope this detailed guide helps explain why staying away from sketchy 123Movies copycats is so important. Please let me know if you have any other questions!