Keep hackers at bay | Industry trends

The streaming giant now recognizes that account sharing impacts its ability to invest in new content for its paying customers. Indeed, Cowen & Co. analysts have been widely quoted as estimating that if Netflix rolled out the program globally, it could add an additional $1.6 billion in revenue per year.

Content Everywhere specialist Synamedia has already tapped into this need to detect illegal sharing of credentials, as Nitsan Baider explains, director of product management at Synamedia, in an April 2022 blog post.

Baider notes that credential sharing is becoming more widespread and socially acceptable, even though it is a form of piracy that affects content providers’ bottom lines. Synamedia has developed the Credential Sharing and Fraud Insight Solution (CSFeye), a cloud-based user behavior analysis service that accurately identifies shared accounts.

Yet sharing illegal content is only one factor affecting content providers. As content is delivered to more devices, the opportunities for piracy increase.

As Simon Brydon, senior director of security business development at Synamedia, explains, the growing shift to over-the-top (OTT) delivery and the emergence of hacking as a service (PaaS) – hackers using standard white labeling technology – “means it’s incredibly easy for pirates to steal, aggregate, sell and broadcast content illegally, putting salt in the wounds of broadcasters who face rising costs to purchase content and make it available on a range of devices”.

“Protecting content and combating streaming piracy requires a careful, forensic-intelligence-driven approach, backed by a legal and regulatory framework with the muscle power to deter, detect and disrupt pirates,” Simon Brydon

Content owners need to implement protective measures if they want to get the most out of their services. “Protecting content and combating streaming piracy requires a careful, forensic intelligence-driven approach, backed by a legal and regulatory framework with the muscle power to deter, detect and disrupt pirates,” said Brydon.

No quick fix

Moviegoers will remember the anti-copyright infringement campaign, “Piracy. It’s a crime.

“You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a purse. You wouldn’t steal a television. You wouldn’t steal a movie. Downloading pirated movies is stealing,” the ad read. Akamai, which produces regular internet security reports, noted that many people don’t perceive downloading a movie or rebroadcasting an event as theft because the original remains intact.


However, in 2019, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center estimated that piracy was responsible for at least $29 billion in lost revenue in the US creative and tech industries each year.

Pirates in the outfield is Akamai’s latest State of the Internet/Security Report and examines the evolving hacking landscape. The report is a collaboration between Akamai and MUSO, which provided data on pirate streaming and download activity across multiple industries.

Steve Ragan, Akamai security researcher and author of the report, described hacking as an ongoing battle and stressed that there is “no silver bullet to every type of online hack”.

Ragan said, “As content developers improve their protection against piracy, criminals are adapting their methods to access protected content. The impact of piracy goes far beyond stolen movies and other content. The real cost is behind the scenes, resulting in lost livelihoods for those who work to create the films, movies, books and software we all consume and enjoy.

According to the report, between January and September 2021, global demand for piracy – which Akamai said was measured by visits to websites offering access to movies and TV shows either directly through a browser or app mobile, as well as torrent downloads – reached 3.7 billion unlicensed streams and downloads.

The main pirated industries were television (67 billion total visits), publishing (30 billion total visits), cinema (14.5 billion total visits), music (10.8 billion visits total) and software, which includes video games and modern PC software (8.9 billion total visits).

“The real cost is behind the scenes, resulting in lost livelihoods for those working to create the films, movies, books and software we all consume and enjoy”, Steve Ragan

In terms of geography, Akamai found that the United States (13.5 billion), followed by Russia (7.2 billion), India (6.5 billion), China (5.9 billion ) and Brazil (4.5 billion) were the top five piracy sites. visits in 2021.

As Akamai explained, hacking poses a security concern both internally to organizations “and as another potential attack vector to protect against critical intellectual property (IP) breaches.”

equip yourself

Fortunately, Content Everywhere’s specialists are not lacking in ideas and solutions for content and data protection, as illustrated by companies such as Synamedia.

Brydon said proactive technologies include advanced monitoring, detection and disruption services such as edge, forensic and headend watermarking. “Automated takedown solutions also play a vital role in protecting premium content,” he added.

Bart Lozia

He also pointed out that advanced machine learning and AI technologies can help content owners master different types of credential sharing, “from family and casual sharing to industrial-scale fraud. and rampant credential abuse – and use a mixture of disincentives and incentives to entice viewers back to a legitimate service.”

NEP has developed centralized production solutions that emphasize safety while responding to rapidly changing consumer expectations and usage habits.

Jorge Llano, global head of security information for NEP, explained that NEP’s secure centralized production “uses scalable IP technology to connect technical producers, directors, reruns and on-air talent in different places around the world by adapting, accelerating and delivering content to consumers on the go.”

Olga Kornienko, founder and COO of digital rights management (DRM) specialist EZDRM, suggests there’s no better protection for content revenue than a robust DRM service integrated with a service rights system. .

“It’s now easy integration with most video workflows, using established API standards and mature DRM microservice solutions,” Kornienko said. “As more and more high-value live events transition to a streaming format, the potential for service leakage due to gaps in stream security is very significant. Our specialization makes it easy and cost effective to provide secure streams cost to each type of client device, so we’re not limiting your audience, but expanding your revenue opportunities.”

On the subject of DRM, Bart Lozia, CEO of Better Software Group, also points out that the use of Widevine – Google’s proprietary DRM technology – can actually be the source of vulnerabilities through the installation of plugins.

“This is a serious violation and affects Android, Android TV, or Chromium-based browsers,” Lozia said.

He added: “Fortunately, we already have methods to combat these threats, such as limiting the quality to SD if Google notifies the operator of the L3 hack, which can be a good solution, but with the technological advances on both sides , we should seek alternative solutions for the future.

Lozia cites other protection techniques such as whitelisting to better protect premium content and watermarking to help track leaks, content theft and protect the distribution chain.

Of course, not all content providers will have the deep pockets or the tools available to Netflix when it comes to protecting content. Here, Lozia offers an alternative approach.

“If you can’t beat them, join them. If it is not possible to block account sharing without additional investments, try to earn additional income from it. Use profiles, track IP addresses and give them a better user experience by adding a dedicated viewing list per profile, for example,” Lozia said.

Brydon said that only by “continuously monitoring and mapping the evolution of the hacker ecosystem – using artificial intelligence technologies alongside a mix of human intelligence, including undercover investigators and cybersecurity experts – that you can begin to answer questions such as: how do hackers steal content; how do they repackage and sell it; how does content travel across networks; where is it hosted? the streaming servers; where the authentication servers are hosted; how to differentiate my content and disrupt it in real time.

He concluded: “The importance of intelligence cannot be stressed enough. Adopting, developing and applying anti-piracy technologies and methodologies is essential, but to mitigate – and even prevent – ​​piracy, content owners must enter the criminal mindset.

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