How LaLiga’s Anti-Piracy Tools Led To Two More IPTV Pirate Arrests *TorrentFreak
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The Spanish National Police report that two people suspected of intellectual property infringements and other crimes related to the supply of pirate IPTV subscriptions have been arrested. The survey was launched in 2019 by the Spanish football league LaLiga which, as we will explain today, has developed a formidable range of anti-hacking tools and services.
Sports leagues and their TV streaming partners across Europe are working hard to combat the supply and sale of pirate IPTV subscriptions.
Available for just a few euros, pounds or dollars per month, pirate IPTV subscriptions allow users to watch all the live TV content they will ever need, plus PPV events, movies and TV shows in one convenient package. . Rights holders see them as a threat to their survival, which is why significant resources are spent to bring IPTV providers and distributors to justice.
La Liga strikes again
Spain’s top football league, LaLiga, is now tackling live hacking on all fronts. From the early stages in 2016/2017 and most recently in 2022, services are being dynamically blocked and many people have been arrested for broadcasting or selling access to league games without permission.
An announcement this week from the Spanish National Police reveals that La Liga are keeping their foot on the accelerator. In 2019, LaLiga launched an investigation into a website advertised on social media which was being used to illegally market football content and other material belonging to a “well-known” on-demand television platform.
According to law enforcement sources, the site offered subscriptions to illegal IPTV and CCCAM services. When IPTV streams contain actual video content, CCCAM services capture encryption codes from subscribers’ legal viewing cards and then, via the Internet, distribute them to set-top boxes that have access to a source (such as a satellite) but do not have a legal subscription – called ‘card sharing’.
In addition to selling both types of subscriptions, the site also had a blog where technical support was provided to users.
LaLiga investigation goes in two directions
To target the individuals involved, LaLiga’s investigation went in two directions. The first step was to identify the person behind the pirate network and discover the technical infrastructure supporting the illicit broadcasts.
LaLiga then took a ‘follow the money’ approach to determining how subscribers paid for subscriptions, leading investigators to a financial payment platform. This made it possible to identify two individuals in Malaga who would be the main responsible for the operation.
National police make two arrests
On Monday, Spain’s national police said that following LaLiga’s investigation, two people had been arrested on suspicion of illegally selling access to premium audiovisual content broadcast via the internet and satellite.
“They were arrested for crimes against intellectual property, against conditional television services and for electricity fraud. They had a high degree of technological specialization. To carry out their illicit activities, they used a sophisticated infrastructure to provide services to their clients,” a police statement read.
The gross revenue generated by the suspects has yet to be revealed, but at least for now, police say the profit made exceeds €87,500 (US$95,400).
As LaLiga’s anti-piracy efforts increase and see success on multiple fronts, it’s worth looking at how the league is tackling piracy using internal tools.
LaLiga develops its own anti-piracy tools
In February 2015, LaLiga released web-spider software called “Marauder”. It scans the web for hot terms such as team names (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, etc.) and assesses whether any “hits” are related to hacking. If so, Marauder identifies the provider/server and sends automatic infringement notices to web platforms and applications such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to have the content removed.
LaLiga says Marauder can also detect illegal IPTV streams and card-sharing operations. In these cases, infringement notices are sent to infrastructure providers to block or remove the affected servers. The system is also used to identify sites selling illegal subscriptions. As stated earlier, these are then sent to Google to be removed from its search engine.
Marauder can also provide a visual map that helps LaLiga geolocate illegal websites, but more recently LaLiga discussed its ‘Blackhole’ tool which appears to map illegal IPTV services nationally and internationally. Finally, the LaLiga Light tool assists investigations by extracting and signing digital evidence and preparing evidence for legal action.
The technology created by LaLiga is also used by other industries to protect their intellectual property. In February, LaLiga said its subsidiary LaLiga Tech (which operates LaLiga Content Protection) had signed an agreement with CEDRO, an association representing creators in the publishing industry.
“LaLiga Content Protection will detect and analyze illegal domains using artificial intelligence monitoring software on the world’s major search engines and social media platforms, enabling it to identify the source illegal content and expedite the process by which CEDRO can request the disabling and blocking of pirated material,” the company said.