Game of Thrones season 8 episode 1 has been aired at last, with the latest GoT chapter kicking off the final season of the HBO epic.
Game of Thrones season 8 episode 1, which is called Winterfell, was aired in the US on Sunday April 14 and starts a final six episode GoT run.
The episode was also simulcast on Sky Atlantic, meaning fans in the UK who tuned in at 2am on Monday April 15 were able to watch it.
Game of Thrones season 8 will finish off the storyline of the Westeros epic which began on TV all the way back in 2011.
Anticipation is high for the final Game of Thrones season with HBO putting in huge security measures to ensure nothing gets leaked.
And the airing of the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere saw a huge rise in online piracy, according to a post by TorrentFreak.
There were reportedly 120,000 BitTorrent users actively sharing the premiere of Game of Thrones season 8 after it aired.
This came as hundreds of thousands of people reportedly visited torrent and streaming sites to watch Game of Thrones season 8 episode 1.
TF added that on Pirate Bay the five most popular releases were Game of Thrones episodes.
The operator of one torrent site, that didn’t want to be named, also told the torrent news portal that they had seen a huge uptick in traffic.
The site saw a 20 per cent rise in visitors following the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere.
However, those looking to illegally pirate Game of Thrones season 8 episode 1 need to be aware of one major issue.
A study carried out last year from BestVPN.com and Kaspersky Lab revealed pirated Game of Thrones episodes carry the highest risk of having malware.
Mariya Fedorova, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said: “Other TV shows, such as Stranger Things, WestWorld and Orange is the New Black are not as popular as Game of Thrones.
“Nevertheless, they are being used in malware distribution schemes.”
While Sean McGrath, editor of BestVPN.com, said: “These are exciting times for television fans.
“Streaming services have shaken things up and we are living through a new golden age of TV programming.
“But our love of television and desire to get things instantly makes us easy targets for those who wish to do us harm.
“Malicious executable files can easily be bound to video files, which means all a user needs to do is start watching a video and their computer could be infected.
“That’s why it’s vital to run quality antivirus software, regardless of platform or operating system.”
• Stay tuned to Express.co.uk for more Game of Thrones news and online piracy updates