For the last 2 years of the global covid-19 pandemic, it appears many public figures, businesses and especially pirates have thought they could “get away with” just about anything. Whether it was businesses trying to avoid paying taxes, governments trying to hoard vaccinations for their own population(s), or online pirates illegally distributing copyrighted content digitally, they couldn’t really “get away with” it. Case in point: “Omi In A Hellcat” aka Bill Omar Carrasquillo aka “possibly facing 514 years in prison for illegally selling copyrighted TV shows and movies through an online service”.
Not only did the popular Youtuber admit to building a multimillion-dollar illegal TV streaming empire, but he has also repeatedly flaunted his wealth and further implicated himself. Rather than take a low-key private profile and keep his mouth shut, Carrasquillo was increasingly in the public eye for both friends and foes.
Carrasquillo started building a gradual fortune by selling online pre-loaded “firesticks” (a portable streaming device that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port enabling you to watch Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming apps). This was only a prelude to his primary cash generator – the launch of his own pirate IPTV service called Gears TV. He not only made money from the recurring subscriptions, but through resellers as well. Bringing an online criminal to justice requires intense collaboration and coordination with various law enforcement and investigative partners by our talented, dedicated and internationally operating Anti-Piracy and Cybersecurity team. In the rest of this blog I outline how we actually tackle piracy and cybercrime from A to Z.
Pirates and cybercriminals are the key threat actors in the video game and video entertainment space. At Irdeto we provide a end-to-end solution to fighting both piracy and cybercrime. Content theft and leaks, whether intentional or unintentional, can happen at any point along the value chain. Content security systems must be continuously monitored and evaluated to identify new attack vectors, then adapted to incorporate innovative technology. As I have mentioned elsewhere, there is no magic cure for piracy. You need to plan for the future.
Fighting piracy and cybercrime often requires multiple disciplines, and Irdeto Cyber Services has your organization covered every step of the way. (We have a long list of Success Stories to prove it.) In order to understand the dynamic process of asset protection and video security, I’ve outlined how we protect brands at Irdeto:
- The very first step in protecting revenue is to proactively address the key problems facing service providers that can lead to piracy such as credential sharing, session sharing, and token theft. An effective multi-DRM system provides a frictionless viewing experience, while at the same time protecting and maximizing content revenue. It also keeps infrastructure costs in check. Concurrent stream management limits the number of devices that can play back at any given time to a platform and alert viewers if credentials are being sold illegally. System logs can be continuously monitored using Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning to ensure that new security, piracy and fraud threats are quickly identified, investigated and addressed.
- Piracy also hurts video game revenue. The first 14 days of a new release is critical. It is within these first 14 days where publishers make up to 59% of their revenue ensuring that their business thrives. And that more games can be made in the future. Anti-Tamper technology is smart protection to combat devious hackers and secure the critical initial sales window. In addition, 24-7 piracy monitoring during this critical window ensures that NDA leaks or the resale of keys or accounts is identified and enforced.
- Forensic Watermarking identifies the source of pirated content, whether from a specific distributor or an individual account. The extracted forensic watermark then provides irrefutable evidence to support contractual compliance, better manage distribution network/operators, or refine content acquisition release strategies. Watermarking also allows for the rapid identification and shutdown of unauthorized streams, protecting time-sensitive valuable revenue during live events.
- Cybersecurity services supply technical and forensic device analysis (such as penetration testing of IT infrastructure and reverse engineering of apps, attack service management of internet connected devices). We normally combine this with open-source intelligence research and the infiltration and interactive monitoring of hacking and piracy communities in order to pinpoint additional sources of current piracy threats and security weaknesses.
- Utilizing a managed piracy monitoring service, that combines expert piracy oversight with powerful innovative technology for detecting and removing pirated streams, safeguards live events and video on demand content by mitigating unauthorized access and redistribution.
Employing a single provider for all security and anti-piracy services is crucial. Having a single touchpoint ensures a swift and comprehensive response to an ever-evolving threat landscape. The rich insights derived from continuous system monitoring, intelligence gathering and investigations, and global security and technical expertise ensures the rapid identification and response to all potential threat vectors, preventing revenue loss and mitigating reputational damage, no matter when an attack occurs.