The popularity of streaming platforms and apps have exploded in recent years. Streaming services have now become the norm, rather than the exception, as more households “cut the cord” with their cable providers. Streaming services provide almost an endless array of content that cater to the preferences of their viewers.
The rapid growth of streaming providers has increased the attack surface for cybercriminals looking to capitalize on the content, customer information, and confidential data that is available with each user account. This problem will not be going away anytime soon, especially given that streaming revenue is projected to reach $115 billion by 20261.
For streaming enterprises, binge-worthy content is not the only key differentiating factor. As consumers become more security conscious when it comes to their data and credentials, investing in the right solution that safeguards consumer accounts will be imperative.
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Protecting Media and Streaming Businesses from Fraud and Abuse
Security concerns for streaming services
Streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and even audio streaming services like Spotify, have changed the way we consume media. From binge-watching favorite shows and movies to creating popular shows and “appointment viewing” series, streaming platforms have taken over homes and devices around the globe.
While internet streaming is undeniably convenient, there are still security risks associated with it. Hackers can hijack streaming accounts and personal data to attack subscribers or their followers or conduct piracy with new content. These attacks can be damaging to a streaming provider’s reputation as well as its bottom line.
Security risks for streaming services
Cyberattacks continue to be a pertinent threat for online streaming services. Their popularization has led cybercriminals to develop attacks that provide them with illegitimate access to customer data and content, like credential stuffing, ATOs, and phishing attacks. Here are some common cyber threats facing streaming providers:
Phishing and social engineering
Phishing attacks can have damaging effects on users’ financial security and personal privacy. Phishing is a form of social-engineering attack where cybercriminals impersonate as trustworthy sources in order to obtain sensitive information such as account credentials, usernames, passwords, and credit card data. Cybercriminals accomplish this by creating phishing websites that resemble legitimate streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.
Typically, these phishing websites will ask users to provide personal information like their login credentials or credit card numbers in order to verify their accounts. Once cybercriminals have access to user accounts, they can then steal personal information and engage in further downstream cyberattacks and fraud.
Account takeover (ATO)
It seems that there is a new data breach each day. These data breaches, and the valuable information that is often leaked, has given rise to account takeover attacks. ATOs occur when fraudsters use stolen credentials to take control of genuine user accounts and use them as a launchpad for a variety of downstream cyber crimes. The use of stolen or fake credentials can also enable cybercriminals to conduct new account fraud in which they use these credentials to set up fake accounts on subscription-based streaming platforms.
Credential stuffing is a subset of ATOs in which cybercriminals use different username and password combinations at scale until a match is found and they can log into an account. Cybercriminals will often use stolen credentials, or credentials purchased on the dark web, to conduct credential stuffing attacks. Like ATOs, this type of attack is common amongst streaming services as many users have the same password for multiple accounts. This can lead to account takeover, data breaches, and other security issues.
Brute force attack is a continuous trial and error hacking attempt on a particular log-in page. It works by calculating every possible combination that could make up a password and testing it to see if it is correct. To prevent brute force attacks, unique passwords should be used for accounts and the operating systems.
Multi-factor authentication can also be used to protect against brute force attacks by requiring users to provide additional information such as a password, PIN, or security questions when attempting to access an account. Streaming services should also have a mitigation strategy in place to prevent brute force attacks. This can include limiting the number of passwords allowed for an account or using password recovery tools.
How automated bots enable cybercriminals
It should be noted, however, that automated malicious bots enable many of these attacks, as hackers often use bots to automate many of the processes that go on behind the scenes or even distribute malware or spyware. For instance, cybercriminals can use bots that use a combination of usernames, passwords, and email addresses to attempt to log into a streaming platform by way of the brute force or credential stuffing.
Bots can also be used to send spam or phishing emails to unsuspecting users in an attempt to steal sensitive information from them. This information can then be used as part of an account takeover. This is why it is imperative that streaming services look to use advanced bot management solutions to protect themselves and customers from the threats posed by automated bots.
Aiding cybercriminals is a vast cybercrime-as-a-service (CaaS) network in which cybercriminals can purchase criminal solutions, complete with how-to guides, online. For streaming services, this means that potential cybercriminals can buy sophisticated bots and use them to take advantage of inherent vulnerabilities within each platform or individual user account.
Best Practices for Protecting Streamers
Cyberattacks are on the rise, and popular streaming services are vulnerable. To protect customer data, it’s vital to implement a robust identity management solution into streaming services. These can include:
- multi-factor authentication (2FA)
- one-time passwords (OTP)
- password policies
- two-step verifications
Investing in analytics-driven solutions can also help predict potential cyber hotspots and identify high-risk items. Utilizing machine learning-based algorithms can flag potential vulnerabilities before an attack occurs. Investing in a solution that provides real-world data and insights, alongside a 24/7 managed security operations center (SOC) positions security teams to make informed decisions on how to best protect their enterprise and its valuable consumers.
Bot management tools and streaming
Cyberattacks using automated bots are a serious threat to streaming services. Bot management tools provide essential automation and security features such as detection of bot and botnet attacks, web scraping activities, credential stuffing attacks, phishing attempts, and account takeovers, among other user cases.
Efficient bot management is vital for securing online streaming content platforms against bots and the attacks that they enable. Automated bots can imitate real users, solve CAPTCHAs, implant malicious code, and test breached passwords. Using machine-learning automation can help mitigate cyberattacks in the streaming industry by proactively monitoring potential attack vectors and shoring up any vulnerabilities.
Arkose Labs protects streaming platforms from sophisticated attacks
Streaming services are revolutionizing the way we consume content. We can watch our favorite shows and movies on-demand, with thousands of titles at our fingertips. However, cybercriminals are also looking to take advantage of streaming service popularity for their own financial gain.
Arkose Labs recognizes the financial drivers behind cybercrime and how attackers use relatively cheap automated bots to maximize their own return on investment. Arkose Labs’ bot management solution empowers security teams to effectively mitigate the threat posed by bots without harming the experience for legitimate users.
Arkose Labs helps streaming platforms tackle cybercriminals by using targeted friction combined with risk-based assessments. Suspicious traffic is presented with real-time, Arkose MatchKey challenges that can’t be solved by bots, and that dramatically slow down human-driven attacks.