The straight answer is NO, 123movies and its mirrors are not safe to use.
123movies no longer exists today, but as soon as the authorities shut down the website, a huge amount of mirrors (cloned sites) emerged.
However, the integrity of these mirrors remains questionable.
But don’t worry – we’ll discuss in-depth in this guide why 123movies and its mirrors aren’t safe.
I’ll also include a few tried and tested alternatives for safe and free movie streaming.
Is 123movies Safe to Use?
123movies isn’t safe to use.
As we said above, the only way to enjoy the 123movies wide database is to use its mirrors.
However, most mirrors are famous for harboring malware and injecting viruses into your device.
Not to mention the dangers hiding behind an incalculable amount of ads and pop-ups.
They can even go as far as installing porn viruses and keyloggers on your system or stealing data from your computer.
You may also encounter mirror apps named after 123movies on the Google Play Store or App Store.
Beware of these apps!
They are not any safer than the websites.
But if you still want to use 123movies mirrors to watch your favorite shows, we’ll discuss security precautions next to keep you safe while doing so.
How to Make Your Experience on These Mirrors Safer?
Your best ally to ensure your security when watching free content on 123movies is a VPN.
It will hide your real IP address, encrypt your data, and protect the information on your device.
The best VPNs also offer a kill switch feature that automatically disconnects your device whenever your VPN connection drops.
Some VPNs even go the extra mile by providing an app kill switch.
This type of kill switch allows choosing which apps or software to exit when the connection fails.
NordVPN, for instance, is a VPN that offers two kill switches.
All your valuable data will then remain intact!
An antivirus is also an essential shield to protect your device while surfing on 123movies’ mirrors.
That way, if you land on a mirror with malware, your antivirus software will alert you and save your device from getting infected.
Adding some Adblock extensions to your browser could also drastically improve the security of your device and save you the trouble of battling against the chaos of annoying pop-ups.
Even if your VPN already has a built-in ad blocker, it’s good to get an additional layer of security for your device.
Another option that could make your time on 123movies safer is a firewall.
A firewall will protect your hardware from both hack threats and viruses by filtering all the data entering and exiting your device in addition to rejecting unauthorized connections to the router.
It can come in the form of hardware or software.
Is 123movies Legal?
123movies is an illegal website and was shut down in 2018 due to copyright infringement.
Even if 123movies didn’t host the pirated content on the website itself, providing illegal links to movies and TV shows was reason enough for the Vietnamese authorities to dismantle “the most popular illegal website.”
Can I Get Sued or Go to Jail for Using 123movies?
Every country has its own laws regarding streaming copyrighted content on illegal websites like 123movies.
So, you should check your country’s regulations on this matter.
Here’s a map to help you figure it out:
While punishment is unlikely depending on your location, downloading copyrighted content might be a federal felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
But what about viewing streams on illegal websites like 123movies?
First, we need to specify the exact definition of streaming.
Streaming is actually downloading and storing content in another device (server) concomitantly.
It is viewed on the user’s end without making a copy.
So legally speaking, is streaming considered downloading?
The answer was tricky before ABC, Inc v Aereo, Inc in 2014, but now the legal stance regarding this matter in the US is crystal clear.
The Supreme Court stated, “The best interpretation of copyright law is that it’s not illegal to watch unlicensed content” and “the person who’s merely watching a stream should incur no copyright liability from that act alone.”
Final verdict: you will not be sued for watching your favorite movies and TV shows on 123movies.
If My Computer Gets Infected by a Virus From 123movies or Its Mirrors, How Can I Get Rid of It?
Most of the 123movies’ viruses come from unauthorized ads, push notifications, and pop-ups.
Even if you’re as cautious as possible, the ceaseless waves of ads and pop-ups make it almost impossible to avoid.
So, if you end up clicking on the wrong spot, it may automatically install malevolent software or redirect you to dubious websites.
Other ads will try to scam you by claiming that your device is already infected and you need to download cleaners to remove viruses.
Installing this “cleaner” will introduce a Spigot virus to your device.
Once you download the software they advertised, your online security becomes compromised.
This means there’s a high risk of data leaks.
In addition to that, intrusive and shady pop-ups will start showing up everywhere on your screen.
But that’s not all; malware on 123movies and its mirrors can come in numerous forms.
Here are some other common signs that your device got infected while streaming on 123movies:
An Unknown Default Search Engine
If you open your browser and find a new default search engine that you did not set up, you might be a victim of browser hijacking.
Once the malware from 123movies infiltrates your device, it assigns a fake default search engine to collect your personal information and data.
How can you fix it?
First, delete all new extensions or apps.
Then, run an antivirus scan of your device.
You will also need to reset your browser to remove any residue.
Here’s how to do so on the three most popular browsers:
- Open your settings.
- Go to advanced settings.
- Reset and clean up.
- Click on the Menu button.
- Open Help.
- Select More Troubleshooting Information.
- Refresh Firefox.
- Confirm (Refresh Firefox).
- Open Menu.
- Click on Settings.
- Reset settings.
- Restore settings to their default values.
If You Own an Apple Device, an Unknown Event May Appear on Your Calendar
How can you fix it?
Open your calendar app.
Click on ‘Calendar’ at the bottom of your screen.
Spot the suspicious calendar event and click on the ‘info’ icon next to it.
Then, scroll to the bottom of the page and click remove and ‘delete calendar.’
Is Your Computer Still Showing Suspicious Signs of Infection?
Is your device slower than usual?
Is it giving you a hard time restarting or shutting off?
Is the hard drive overworking for no reason?
These can all be signs that a virus is still present on your device.
How can you fix it?
- Disconnect your device from the internet.
- Reboot into safe mode.
- Scan your device with your antivirus.
- Delete the virus or put it in quarantine.
- Back important files and documents: 3-2-1 rule: make 3 copies, save 2 on an external hard drive and keep 1 offsite.
- Delete temporary files and clean the browser cache.
- Change passwords.
- Reinstall your operating system (only if necessary).
On MAC OS:
- Run your antivirus and scan your computer.
- Open your Activity Monitor and look for unusual activity from an app that uses too much CPU when it should be idle.
- Once you find it, click on ‘Quit process‘ before quitting ‘Activity Monitor.’
- Now type its name in your ‘Finder’ and drag it to the ‘Trash.’
- Empty the ‘Trash.’
What Is the Safest Site to Watch Free Movies?
The safest options to stream your favorite movies and TV series are often the legal ones.
But even if these legal streaming services are safer than 123movies and other illegal streaming websites, your security cannot be 100% guaranteed.
However, using the safety measures we recommended above significantly enhances your security online.
Additionally, to keep you as secure as possible, we tried the safest legal alternatives to 123movies:
This app, owned by FOX, is one of the best legal platforms that offer a wide variety of movies and TV series to stream for free.
With more than 40,000 hits of all sorts of genres, it has become quite popular among streamers.
But since May 2018, Tubi TV is no longer available in Europe due to changes in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The company communicated on its official website that they’re working thoroughly to offer their services again in the EU.
Roku Channel is a free live and on-demand streaming service providing access to a great diversity of entertainment, such as Roku Originals and the latest Hollywood hits.
Movies and TV series are frequently rotating, so there’s always something new to watch.
The interface is clean, simple to use, and responsive.
You do not need to purchase any Roku devices to enjoy Roku channel content.
Moreover, a premium service of Roku Channel is also available and allows you to subscribe to a selection of channels and benefit from their promotional deals.
This one is an open-source media player app, meaning the source code is accessible and can even be modified and redistributed.
Navigating an open-source app also makes it more transparent and flexible, therefore safer to use.
However, the vast diversity of content presented by Popcornflix should also be underlined, as that’s what makes it so popular.
The only drawback is that Popcornflix is only accessible if you live in the US or Canada.
Check out our previous article, where we tested the best VPNs for streaming.
Using a VPN that comes up with a wide variety of servers all over the world, like NordVPN, will be essential here if you still want to enjoy Tubi TV’s content from Europe or anywhere else in the world.
Crackle is also one of the top-ranked video streaming services, thanks to its enormous collection of high-quality original scripted content, Hollywood favorites, and easy-to-use interface.
It’s also an ad-supported video streaming service, so some commercials might appear while you’re watching a movie.
However, we found that activating an ad block extension does a good job of avoiding them.
It is available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV.
Again, if you do not live in the US, UK, Canada, or Australia, you will need to connect to your VPN to use it.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock offers three different tiers:
- A free plan where you have access to its 40,000+ hours of hit movies, TV shows, and 50+ always-on channels.
- A premium one that unlocks all 60,000+ hours of hit movies, TV Shows, and live sports streams and events like Sunday Night Football, the Premier League, and WWE.
- The third one is also a paying service and allows downloading content to watch it offline and to experience Peacock TV ad-free.
It is only available in the US and its territories and for the subscribers to SKY NOW in the UK and Ireland.
For the rest of the world, there’s only one way to enjoy Peacock TV, and it is through the use of a VPN.
With Pluto TV, you get access to live broadcasts of more than 250 channels and regular on-demand TV.
Plus, all the content is free.
The only minor inconvenience we found is that most of the content is not in HD.
IMDb TV possesses an outstanding selection of content, including big hits, original movies, and TV series that you can stream for free through Primevideo’s platform.
But no worries, both members and non-members of Amazon prime can access it.
The video quality is good with lots of HD movies and TV Shows.
Some live TV channels are also available.
IMDb TV is technically only available in the US, so you’ll need the help of a VPN to bypass the geo-restriction.
This platform is quite different from the other usual streaming services because it encompasses a unique kind of entertainment catering to a specific niche that appreciates Comic-Con.
Therefore, most programs are documentaries, independent productions, and anime.
There’s a free and a Premium service of CONtv.
The free one only has 40% of the Premium catalog.
As for the premium subscription, it costs $7/month.
This ad-supported video streaming service grants the possibility of either buying or renting your favorite content instead of a monthly plan.
There’s also a free section.
The free service offers around 10,000 movies and TV series episodes, though you will not find many big hits or the latest releases.
Instead, you’ll get older or less-known content.
One thing you should take into consideration is the considerable amount of ads while streaming, which can be quite annoying.
Besides, 4K quality video is available for non-free content only.
Hoopla and Kanopy
Hoopla and Kanopy are two separate streaming apps, even if they both function in the same way.
The obvious inconvenience here is that they are both only free and accessible if you are already a library cardholder.
So if you are, it is definitely worth the try.
To Wrap Up
123movies and its mirrors are unsafe unless you use a reliable VPN and antivirus.
And the same goes for all the illegal streaming websites on the net.
Instead, you can find plenty of legal, safer, and smoother platforms where you can watch all of your favorite movies and TV shows.
If you still have doubts about which VPN to choose, check out this guide where we compared and tested them for you.
This way, you can easily get a VPN that suits you best.