Is 123Movies Safe?

123Movies has been among the top unofficial free streaming websites with a huge, popular movie catalog for a long time. Even after the US and Vietnamese authorities shut down the original platform, many clone movie sites still exist. However, is 123Movies safe?

The safety and legality of using this website have been debated for many years. Most users are concerned about the risks of using 123Movies mirror sites, such as copyright infringement, viruses, and malware.

After assessing the site and its clones, we compiled the following information on its safety, including how to protect yourself with a reliable antivirus if you visit the site.

What is 123Movies?

123Movies was one of the most popular pirate sites that allowed users to watch and download movies and TV series online for free. Created in Vietnam, the platform was available globally in many regions, including the UK, the US, and the EU.

However, in 2018, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) started investigating 123Movies for spreading pirated content. At that time, the site was reported to have a massive collection of movies and nearly 98 million active users, making it the top streaming website in the world with pirated content.

Does 123Movies Still Work?

After the MPAA labeled it as the world’s largest pirate site in 2018, the original 123Movies disappeared off the face of the internet. The MPAA collaborated with the Vietnamese authorities to shut the site down.

However, 123Movies remained a huge name, which resulted in other unofficial streaming websites creating its clone and using it to promote themselves. Today, the official 123Movies site doesn’t work, but you can find dozens of 123Movies duplicate sites that people commonly call ‘mirror’ sites.

Some of the 123Movies alternatives (mirror sites) include:

  • (considered the most safe)

One thing to note: while we listed out a few of the most popular sites, we are, by no means, suggesting you participate in illegal streaming activities. The legality of that may differ from country to country.

Is 123Movies Safe?

Using 123Movies isn’t 100% safe. The protection level you get from 123Movies depends on the mirror site you opt for.

However, all sketchy sites like, 123Movies mirror sites, carry typical threats that a reliable antivirus software can help to prevent.


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Malicious Ads and Annoying Pop-Ups

Sites like 123Movies monetize their platform by serving users’ advertising content. Apart from being annoying, ads from such sites might be malicious.

Clicking on such an ad might take you to a malicious third-party website that tracks your IP address, collects your data, and can even steal your personal information. Other times, the ad can distribute malware or expose you to other cybersecurity threats, such as phishing attacks.

Malware Infection

Most free movie streaming sites have malware and viruses embedded that can track you, steal your private data, or damage your device.

Here are some of the most popular viruses that may lurk on pirate pages:

  • Trojan,
  • Worms,
  • Rootkits,
  • Spyware,
  • Fileless malware.

You can get infected by clicking a malicious link, accidentally downloading infected files, or viewing ad pop-ups.

Spoofed Links

When viewing content from an unofficial streaming platform, it’s common to bump into unknown links. Most of these links attempt to lure you into a phishing attack. Following such links results in data theft or the downloading a dangerous virus.

Is 123Movies Legal to Use?

Technically, the legality of using 123Movies mirror sites depends on your country’s copyright laws. Some countries don’t have specific rules to regulate copyright infringement and piracy. However, streaming or downloading pirated content in most countries is illegal. In nations with strict piracy rules, copyright infringement can attract hefty fines or even jail sentences.

Here’s a quick overview of the legality of online piracy in different countries to bring everything into perspective.

Countries with strict copyright laws Countries that don’t prosecute copyright offenses Countries that allow piracy for personal use
  • Australia
  • China (depending on the region)
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • The UK
  • The US
  • UAE
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • India
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Philippines
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

We recommend avoiding unofficial streaming sites, even when they are available in your country. Opt for legal alternatives, as pirate sites have security and privacy risks that could leave you devastated.

Can I Get Sued for Using 123Movies?

The legal consequence of using 123Movies depends on where you are. If you’re in the US, the UK, Australia, some parts of China, or countries that strictly regulate piracy, you could face hefty fines or jail time.

If you’re in a country with tolerant copyright laws, you can still be prosecuted if you use pirated content for commercial gain. Countries like Poland, Spain, and Switzerland won’t bother you if you use pirated content for personal use.

Your best shot at avoiding the legal complications of using 123Movies is to familiarize yourself with your country’s copyright laws or use official streaming sites.

How to Stay Safe When Streaming on 123Movies?

If you must stream on 123Movies, there is always a way to use the site safely. Here are the most basic safety measures you can take to avoid the threats on 123Movies mirror sites:

  • Check what you’re downloading. Sites like 123Movies include “download now” buttons on ads to get you to click on them. If you don’t double-check, opening an ad or downloading a wrong file is easier. Check that your download button isn’t an ad banner.
  • Don’t share personal details. Don’t sign up or share personal information on an illegal streaming website. Your personal data can be stolen and land in the hands of malicious actors. Your data can then be used for financial fraud, credential stuffing, fraudulent account creation, or social engineering attacks.
  • Use a reliable antivirus. Most illegal streaming sites send pop-up ads loaded with malware and viruses. If you click such on ads, your device immediately gets infected with viruses. Reliable antivirus software like TotalAV will provide an extra layer of online protection against such attacks. The antivirus has real-time scanning that detects and intercepts potential threats before they compromise your device.
  • Use an ad blocker. An ad blocker can improve your streaming experience on 123Movies mirror sites and protect your privacy. Since most ads use tracking technologies to gather information about your online behavior and preferences, ad blockers will prevent the tracking mechanism. This will reduce the amount of personal data advertisers can collect about you.
  • Check user reviews. The best way to establish how you can be safe on 123Movies is to check the approaches other users leverage to stay safe.


Can 123Movies harm my phone or computer?

Does 123Movies track you?

Is 123Movies legal?

What is 123Movies called now?

Mary Kihoro
Cyber Security Expert

Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity and blockchain writer at Techopedia. Her years of experience in the field help her craft concise and engaging content in diverse fields such as VPNs, Password Managers, cryptocurrencies, AI, and diverse web3 topics. Over the years, she’s inked catchy pieces for Bybit, VPN Mentor, Crypto Digest, Captain Altcoins, Brain Manager, and Strive Marketing among other prominent brands and websites.