Is 123Movies safe and legal in 2022? What are the alternatives available?

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: February 23, 2022
Disclosure

This article uncovers if 123Movies is safe to use and legal today. We also explore watching content securely on it alongside its alternatives.

123Movies was a popular free streaming website for movies and TV shows. However, the authorities closed it down because of copyright issues in 2018, which prompted the emergence of numerous mirror/clone sites.

Sadly, some of these sites are embedded with dangerous malware and virus that can steal your private data or damage your device. That is why you should protect your network with a VPN when accessing 123Movies clones and other similar sites. Also, it will enable you to bypass geo-restrictions to access your favorite content from anywhere. In this 123Movies safety review, we will look at the site’s legality, consequences, how to stay safe, alternatives, and much more. 

Our top 3 VPNs include: 

  1. NordVPN – Robust security features and fast-speed servers for a fascinating streaming experience.
  2. ProtonVPN – Impressive privacy measures and has a free plan with three servers and solid encryption.
  3. Surfshark – Budget-friendly plans and offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which means you can connect as many devices as you want.

Is 123Movies illegal?

There is no possible straight answer to this question. This is because every jurisdiction has its stand on copyrighted content. For example, many countries have strict laws prohibiting downloading or streaming copyrighted content to protect intellectual property. However, other regions allow it. 

Therefore, you should first check your country’s rules on copyright infringement and privacy laws before accessing sites like 123Movies. The table below shows the general stance on piracy in different countries around the world.

CountriesStand on piracy
Switzerland, Spain, and Poland Pirating is permitted for personal use 
China, the UK, Australia, China, Germany, France, Finland, Japan, Italy, Russia, Portugal, Latvia, the US, and South AfricaPirating is prohibited 
Czech Republic, Colombia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, India, Greece, Egypt, Denmark, Philippines, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovakia, Uruguay, and Slovenia Pirating is illegal, but prosecution is not active

Keep in mind that downloading and streaming copyrighted content is almost the same thing. Look at it this way. It has to be downloaded in real-time and cleared from the cache when you leave the site to stream anything online. However, the fact remains that you have already downloaded the content. This is like downloading a torrent then immediately deleting it after watching.

Besides countries having different stances on copyrighted content, the consequences of breaking those rules also differ. For example, you can get hefty fines or go to jail if caught downloading copyrighted content in Germany but may only receive a warning in other countries. It is even more challenging to prosecute streaming websites like 123Movies since the files are cleared after streaming content. However, you can be tracked through your IP address. 

At the same time, although they may have anti-copyright laws, some countries don’t prosecute people for streaming content on illegal sites. In most cases, the authorities will act on individuals that distribute copyrighted content and not online viewers.

Disclaimer:

This article provides a review of 123Movies and other necessary information. We are online security and privacy experts and not lawyers, so don’t take it as legal advice. Also, remember that laws differ in every country and change constantly. Therefore, consult your local legal expert if you have questions about the rules and regulations in your country.

Is using 123Movies dangerous? 

We have looked at whether you are permitted or not to stream content on sites such as 123Movies. However, we haven’t discussed the risks of using these sites apart from the hefty fines you may get. 

It isn’t easy to guarantee your utmost safety when using a site like 123Movies. This is because they are controlled by all manner of people, including criminals that can steal your data or install malicious code on your device. The best way to stay safe when using 123Movies mirrors is to employ security tools such as a VPN and antivirus.

123Movies official website was shut down in 2018 and isn’t available online anymore. However, you can access its database through mirror (clone) websites. The problem is that these sites are hosted and managed by third parties that are not affiliated with the original 123Movies site. In essence, there is no quality control, and the owners can track your data or inject malware on your device.

Be aware of mirrors

As mentioned above, 123Movies’s official website isn’t online anymore. Therefore, every website you see with the 123Movies on its address or resembles the official website is probably a copy/mirror site.

The downside is that the site can be owned by a malicious actor who can use it for bad things, like spreading malware. Making the matter worse, these sites can come back with a different name even if they are closed by authorities.

How to use 123Movies securely

We don’t advocate using 123Movies in countries where it has been prohibited. However, there are many jurisdictions where such streaming sites are allowed, even for personal use. 

Notwithstanding, you need to safeguard yourself from snooping eyes, malware, or malicious websites when using the 123Movies mirror. So, you use a VPN and antivirus to secure your private data and device.

A reliable and trustworthy VPN service like NordVPN will mask your internet traffic and activities from third parties like your ISP or government. Still, remember that streaming copyrighted sites such as 123Movies are only allowed in a few countries. So, even if a VPN hides your IP address and anonymizes your online activities, it is good to follow the local law. On the other hand, antivirus software will protect your device from malicious malware.

Disclaimer:

PrivacySavvy never encourages streaming copyrighted content on sites such as 123Movies. So, first, check out if such websites are permitted in your country before accessing them. Shun the sites if they are outlawed to avoid getting into trouble.

Can a VPN really secure my connections on 123Movies?

As noted already, due to the potential threats, you need to ensure a safe and smooth experience when using 123Movies. For that, you can take the necessary safety measures to protect your network and device from intrusions. And yes, a VPN is the most efficient way to safeguard your connections and stay private on 123Movies. 

The VPNs we list in the next section are high-quality services that will ensure your online security and anonymity. They all have AES 256-bit encryption that will prevent third parties from snooping on your activities or stealing your data. In fact, if anyone manages to access your information, they cannot decipher it. 

Furthermore, some VPN providers like NordVPN and Surfshark offer an ad blocker that prevents annoying pop-ups so you can watch 123Movies ad-free. In addition, they block malicious malware to protect your device. 

Another important VPN feature is the kill switch. It will cut your traffic from the internet if your VPN connection drops to keep you safe. So, the combination of these security features will protect you when using 123Movies or similar sites.

Besides upholding your online security and privacy, a VPN can come in handy in many ways. For example, it can help you bypass geo-restrictions of famous sites in your region. This will ensure you get unlimited content, no matter where you live. 

Best 123Movies VPNs today

As we have previously mentioned, a VPN is an excellent way to use sites such as 123Movies. It will act as an encryption tunnel between your device and the server you are accessing. The best VPNs to stream 123Movies content include:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN-Best-VPNs-600x300-1

Key features:

  • AES 256-bit encryption 
  • Kill switch 
  • 5307 servers in 60 countries 
  • Verified no-logs policy 
  • 30-days money guarantee 

NordVPN is the safest VPN in the industry as it has excellent all-around security features. That is why we highly recommend using it when accessing 123Movies or any other similar site.

Besides hiding your IP address, the VPN will also secure your connections with AES 256-bit encryption. It also has an automatic kill switch, DDoS protection, DNS leak protection, split tunneling, and many more features.  

Another handy security feature is the CyberSec suite. It is designed to block all intrusive ads and prevent malicious malware from installing on your device. This will improve your streaming experience on 123Movies mirror sites filled with advertisements.

Moreover, the double VPN feature lets you pass your connection through two servers instead of one. This adds an extra security layer, although the speed may drop slightly. 

Apart from keeping you safe, NordVPN will also enable you to bypass restrictions of popular streaming services like Netflix. Finally, the provider boasts a massive network of over 5307 servers worldwide, giving you access to your favorite content from anywhere.

Pros:

  • Robust security and privacy features
  • Extensive server network
  • Fast speeds
  • Reliable customer support 

Cons:

  • Cramped desktop interface 

2. ProtonVPN 

Proton VPN

Key features:

  • AES 256-bit encryption 
  • DNS leak protection 
  • 1538 servers in 63 countries 
  • Secure core 
  • Kill switch 
  • Netshield ad blocker 
  • 30-day money-back guarantee 

ProtonVPN is the best Freemium VPN for 123Movies. This means that it offers both subscription plans and a free option, better than completely free VPNs.

The AES 256-bit encryption will ensure your traffic and data are incredibly safe. It also employs the perfect forward secrecy, continuously changing the encryption key. Also, the automatic kill switch will disable the internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly. 

Another noteworthy feature is the Secure Core servers. They will add an extra security layer by running your data through two servers, which other providers term multi-hoping. However, the first destination will be the secure core servers placed in Sweden, Iceland, and Switzerland. 

Last but not least, ProtonVPN’s Netshield adblocker will protect you against annoying ads, malware, and trackers. Unfortunately, it is only available when the VPN is active and fails to prevent YouTube ads. 

Pros:

  • Military-grade encryption 
  • Unblocks Netflix 
  • A free plan 

Cons:

  • Mediocre speed on some servers

3. Surfshark

SurfShark-Best-VPNs-600x300-1
Key features 
  • Kill switch 
  • AES 256-bit encryption 
  • 3500 servers in 65 countries 
  • CleanWeb suite 
  • DNS leak protection
  • No-logs policy 
  • 30-day money-back guarantee 

Surfshark is the best affordable premium VPN to access 123Movies. It is filled will great features that will keep you safe and anonymous. 

First, the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption will prevent third parties like hackers, government agencies, or your ISP from seeing your online activities. Also, the kill switch feature will cut your connection if the VPN drops to maintain your privacy always. Additionally, the CleanWeb suite blocks ads and malware to improve your security.

Furthermore, the Camouflage mode will come in handy if you live in a country that restricts VPN usage, like China. Also known as obfuscation, the technology will make your VPN connection look normal under deep packet inspection (DPI). 

Surfshark operates more than 3500 servers in over 65 countries. With its impressive unblocking capabilities, you will be able to stream content from any service you like. Also, the combination of unlimited data and fast-speed servers will give you a buffer-free streaming experience. 

Pros 
  • Budget-friendly 
  • Strong and secure encryption 
  • Effective adblocker 
Cons 
  • Some servers are a bit slow

Is 123Movies safe for downloaders 

123Movies is not permitted everywhere. Even so, you should take the necessary security measures if you live in a region where the site is available. This is how to do it. 

Use a combination of a reliable VPN like NordVPN and antivirus like TotalAV. They ensure you can access the right 123Movies mirror or just search for 123Movies mirrors on your browser. However, Google doesn’t always show mirror sites, so you have to find a site that has a list of 123Movie mirrors. 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to find a free and legal streaming and downloading site. So, the best way to avoid getting copyright trolls is using subscription-based streaming services. Essentially, you will pay a small fee to access an extensive database of TV shows and movies. While they may not have the latest content like some illegal sites, the collection is enormous. Here are some of the popular legal alternatives to 123Movies. 

Streaming service providerDescription
Netflix It is probably the most significant streaming service worldwide with a wide range of content from movies, documentaries, TV shows, anime, etc. In fact, Android users can access some of the content for free in some regions. What’s more, you can use a VPN to access Netflix libraries in other areas.
Disney Plus The streaming service solely focuses on Disney Network content. Some popular titles include The Mandalorian, The Simpsons, WandaVision, Grey’s Anatomy, etc. However, it is only available in the US, so you need to use a VPN.
Amazon Prime Video This is another popular streaming service with many movies and TV shows. Currently, it is available worldwide except in Iran, Mainland China, Syria, and North Korea. Some of the popular titles on the site include Jack Ryan, Made in Heaven, The Expanse, etc.
HBO Max HBO Max provides a wide range of WarnerMedia library content, original programming, and additional titles licensed through third-party distributors. Some of the high-quality shows you will get on the site include Band of Brothers, Games of Thrones, The Sopranos, etc. Like Netflix, unfortunately, to enjoy HBO Max at full, you’ll need to access its US catalog.
Sling TVThis popular IPTV service is a tremendous legal 123Movies alternative and lets you watch movies, TV shows, live sports, and News. Also, it provides premium add-ons like Showtime and Starz.
Hulu It started as a platform to broadcast recently-aired TV shows. However, it has grown into a massive service with original programs, full movies, and live TV options. Unfortunately, it works only in selected countries, so you may need a VPN to access Hulu worldwide.
YouTube TVThe search giant Google’s streaming service offers on-demand video, live TV, and cloud-based DVR from over 85 Television Networks. So, although the subscription is slightly expensive, you will have access to coveted networks like ESPN, CBS, ABC, Fox, and more. However, it is geo-blocked in the US, so you need a VPN to access it from other regions.

Keep in mind that the streaming services use geo-restrictions and may not be available everywhere in the world. For example, some are only accessible in the US, while others like Disney Plus are available in selected countries. Therefore, the best way to evade the restrictions is by using a trustworthy VPN to change your IP address.

Conclusion 

123Movies has not existed since 2018, but many clone sites are still riding on its popularity. However, these sites host copyrighted content, and you can open yourself to hefty fines or even incarceration. Also, hackers can easily steal your data and infect your device with viruses. So, it would be best if you used a reliable VPN like NordVPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your connections.

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About the Author

Ruheni Mathenge

Ruheni Mathenge

Tech researcher and writer with a passion for cybersecurity. Alex is a strong advocate of digital freedom and online privacy. Read More

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