Finding a sneaky way to watch your favorite shows and movies is often only an online search away. But those illegal streaming sites you love might be a hotbed of malware.

A new report from the Digital Citizens Alliance and cybersecurity firm RiskIQ found that sites distributing pirated videos were far more likely to expose visitors to dangerous software than legitimate streaming sites or the Internet at large.

The study worked by comparing a sample group of highly-trafficked sites known for pirated material with a control group of randomly selected legal streaming sites and other types of websites from different parts of Alexa's web rankings.

RiskIQ found that 33 percent of the piracy sites had at least one malware incident within the month the company collected data on it, versus just 2 percent of the control group. It also found that when users visited the sites distributing pirated material, they were 28 times more likely to be infected with malware  compared  with the control group that was using the legitimate streaming sites and other site online.

"Many of the sites in the Content Theft Sample Group sustained very high exposure rates, suggesting that malware distribution was part of their ongoing modus operandi," the report said. It found 20 of the pirating sites studied exposed more than 75 percent of users that visited them to malware.

The strategy at work there, according to the report, is to use popular television shows and movies as a sort of "digital bait" -- luring visitors to the site so they can be infected with malware that could spy on them or even take over their computer in some cases.

So maybe keep that in mind the next time you're desperate to watch a new release.