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Cybersecurity challenges streaming providers face

by maria

By: Muhammad Rehman, VP, Product Management, CDN, Cloud Security & Edge Computing at Edgecast

Cybercriminals are more adept than ever, accessing computers, servers, and Internet of Things devices, yet businesses are frequently unable to safeguard themselves and their consumers. With more individuals working from home on unprotected or under-protected networks and more of life moving online, the global pandemic poked even more holes in security protocols.

Many streaming services have struggled to keep up with the increase of their subscriber base in cybersecurity measures, leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks that take advantage of weaknesses unique to OTT platforms and technology. It’s a vicious cycle: as a streaming service grows in popularity, it becomes more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the increasing number of users and devices, providing thieves with a larger surface area to target

Security of web applications, in particular, has become an Achilles’ heel for businesses. According to Verizon’s “2021 Data Breach Investigations Report,” which includes data from more than 5,250 confirmed breaches, online apps account for more than half of all security breaches (servers). Businesses will typically utilize a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to keep track of and protect application requests.  WAFs allow the business to configure dynamic rules to protect against an emergent hazard, whereas static rules can only stop known threats.

When discussing streaming-related difficulties, it’s vital to bring up viruses and unwanted software. Consumers frequently come across malware such as Trojans, spyware, and backdoors, as well as harmful software such as adware, when looking for other sources to download a streaming app or a TV program. It’s easy to forget that with so many organizations holding high-value personal data online, they might soon become a gold mine for cybercriminals, with credit card numbers and other personally identifying information on the menu.

Malicious cyberattacks can affect almost any corporation. Some of the most common cyber-attacks are as follows:

  • Ransomware attacks: The attacker demands a ransom from the victim in exchange for restoring access to the data. Users are given information on how to obtain the decryption key by paying a charge.
  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks: in these attacks, generated traffic is utilized to make a site or service inaccessible or slow to respond to legitimate visitors.
  • Credential stuffing: hackers take advantage of consumers’ habit of reusing usernames and passwords across many accounts. In this form of attack, hackers can buy big lists of stolen credentials on the dark web and use automation to try each one to get access to the target service.

Phishing attempts are one of the most prevalent ways of obtaining account passwords. Scammers have moved their attention to streaming platforms as most movies are now published online. Users become oblivious to the websites they visit to be the first to see a new episode of their favorite show, which is exactly what criminals exploit when creating phishing websites. Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) are beneficial in this situation because they help to eliminate application vulnerabilities used by hackers in DDoS, app, credential stuffing, and phishing assaults. Servers are protected by analyzing HTTP/HTTPS traffic and enforcing server-client communication rules. The WAF protects against app threats such as SQL injections and cross-scripting exploits.

The likelihood of being targeted grows as more streaming providers enter the market. Hackers breach services and acquire illegal access to user credentials through account takeover assaults. They then either use the credentials themselves or sell them for a profit on the dark web, where data is king.

Advanced hackers increasingly use bots that can effectively mimic human behavior and launch thousands of bots at once to overwhelm specific security measures. Once a winning combination has been discovered, fraudsters employ credential stuffing techniques and software to test it against additional sites where people have repeated their username and password information. Suppose a hacker uses sign-in credentials taken from a streaming service to enter into a bank account. In that case, the hacker has access to even more identifying information and the opportunity to steal funds or credit card details.

This concerning trend in the spread of cybercrime poses existential threats to Internet security professionals. There is a growing need for a demand-side solution as dangers increase daily and hackers become more skilled. Even if behavioral analytics is used on a bigger scale, the end-user will always remain the defining enabler of cybercrime.

The basic conclusion is that just because an unlawful streaming website doesn’t trigger any warnings from a user’s antivirus or adblocker doesn’t imply it’s safe to use. When a user’s computer is infected, it joins a malicious network of infected machines (bots) utilized by various groups for personal gain or to launch cyber assaults against multiple targets.

As additional streaming services become available, cybercriminals will be enticed to steal more accounts. On the other hand, failure to act can result in significant financial losses and long-term reputational damage. Giving customers a reason to leave your service is the last thing you want to do in a competitive industry. Knowing how to secure your business from the inside will encourage clients to stick around for the long haul and have faith in your service’s security.

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