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Kodi Streaming: How to Protect Your Privacy

Mar 20, 2017 · 3 min read

Kodi Streaming: How to Protect Your Privacy

It looks like 2017 is all about cutting cords and ditching cable TV, as more and more people are switching to online streaming. One of the alternatives, Kodi, has been experiencing a booming popularity recently, counting millions of users worldwide.

What is Kodi?

Kodi, previously known as XBMC, is a free and open-source media player application that runs on a set top box, connected to your TV device, so you could enjoy movie theater perks in the comfort of your own home. Kodi lets you play music, podcasts, watch movies, videos, TV shows and stream live TV – essentially, almost any type of media content from your local library or the Internet. The application is constantly modified and updated by coders’ community with lists of over 1000 various add-ons that enhance the player’s functionality. They can all be accessed through official Kodi repository that is monitored and reviewed by the Kodi team.

Is it legal?

Kodi’s legality is a bit controversial. The Kodi software itself is legal, but the third-party add-ons are what make things complicated. There are a lot of add-ons available in unofficial repositories that allow live sport broadcasting and access to the newest movies or TV series, in other words, the content that people should be paying for. Streaming of copyrighted content from unauthorized sources is a violation, and users engaged in such activities can be easily detected by their ISP, if no safety measures are taken. The answer to the question whether it is legal or not strongly depends on what the Kodi application is used for.

What you need to get the most out of Kodi

One of the main reasons for making Kodi so popular is that it brings ultimate flexibility to your TV watching experience due to its  full control of  content you want to see. However, geo-restrictions do apply for particular channels possibly making your favorite shows not available in your country. The good news is, you can safely bypass these restrictions and enjoy your favorite channels with a VPN service, like NordVPN, enabled. By hiding the real IP address and assigning a new IP address in another location selected from a list of VPN servers, giving  you access to geo-blocked content.

In order to stream media on your TV via Kodi, you will also need a set top box. Kodi does not make any of its’ own, but there are plenty options in the market to choose from. Some recommended picks worth considering:

  • Nvidia Shield
    Developed by graphics-card focused company, Nvidia Shield box can offers smooth 4K and HDR streaming and can be used for playing games when not used for streaming. It runs on Android TV, so Kodi can be installed straightly from the Google Play store.
  • Amazon Fire TV
    Amazon Fire TV is one of the most popular streaming boxes. Fast processor and 4K video streaming ability makes it a very good deal for the price. Originally, this streaming device is made for Amazon apps marketplace, so Kodi would need to be installed through sideloading process.
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick
    Tiny yet powerful Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with similar tech specs as its’ predecessor, Amazon Fire TV, except it is limited to Full HD 1080p resolution and has less memory space. This USB-sized streaming device plugs into HDMI port and is a way more compact solution.

You should be aware that some sellers offer set top boxes pre-loaded with Kodi software and pirate add-ons, making subscription TV channels available to watch for free. Selling such fully loaded boxes is illegal, as they violate the copyright laws by providing unauthorized access to copyrighted content.

Stay on the safe side

Being open-source, Kodi is not only available for improvement, but it also opens up to everyone with the know-how and bad intentions. Due to its’ growing popularity, Kodi has become a target for hackers and scammers attacks against users’ privacy. Here are some other risks to be aware of:

  • Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks
    These attacks target Kodi add-ons during their update processes, which, unfortunately, run automatically over HTTP with no encryption, this way making it easy for hackers to intervene and get access to personal information.
  • Unofficial third-party add-ons
    Unsupported and not monitored a by Kodi team, such add-ons are often in high demand because of their functionality, however, they are the ones to put your data at risk of exposure.
  • Pre-loaded boxes
    Not only being in breach of copyright laws, these boxes come loaded with pirate add-on apps that might have serious security gaps.

So if KODI is the player of your choice, we recommend to take all safety measures to prevent any privacy threats. Start by getting a VPN service, which keeps your online activity private by encrypting Internet traffic, hiding the IP address and protecting your sensitive data from being exposed. Careful selection of add-ons, a VPN service enabled, and staying away from pre-loaded boxes will help you be on the safe side when enjoying media streaming with Kodi.

Christina Craig
Christina Craig successVerified author

Christina is a community manager and the heart, the voice and the soul of NordVPN. She is always up for a conversation with our community of users and blog readers.

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