Irdeto Points to Growing Trade in Stolen OTT Login Details

A growing trade in stolen logins for popular OTT services via the dark web has been exposed by revenue security technology vendor Irdeto.

The firm’s research has unearthed “hundreds of stolen login credentials” available every month for an average of just $8.81, which not only curtails OTT service revenues but is also a threat to the consumers whose details have been stolen. These credentials are being sold and used regularly to access a variety of products, accounts and services across pay TV, including subscription Video on Demand (sVoD) offerings form Netflix, HBO, Amazon and Hulu.

These findings also highlight how content revenue protection and traditional cybersecurity are converging as the same threats and attacks permeate both. Given that many consumers use the same user names and passwords for accessing multiple sites those stolen credentials could unlock a variety of services as well as OTT video. The same basic message of being vigilant and changing passwords frequently, preferably not using the same one for different services, applies equally to OTT video and pay TV.

Indeed Irdeto’s VP of cybersecurity services Mark Mulready used the findings to stress that while new forms of sophisticated stream redistribution piracy were becoming more prevalent more traditional forms of piracy still posed significant threats. The case of login credentials theft though was one of an established cybersecurity threat coming across to video. It highlighted a growing group of threats associated with the increasing scope and penetration of broadband video.

Irdeto VP for Cybersecurity Services, Mark Mulready, has highlighted the rising threat from stolen logon credentials.

Irdeto VP for Cybersecurity Services, Mark Mulready, has highlighted the rising threat from stolen logon credentials.

“With increasing broadband availability and internet speed globally, the pirates have adapted,” said the Irdeto report. “As a result, OTT piracy, or content redistribution, is the most rapidly growing threat facing pay TV operators and content rights holders,” it said, adding: “illegal supply of premium content, especially live events such as soccer, is driving this increase. However, we shouldn’t dismiss other forms of piracy.”

The findings also illuminate the need to combat the dark web as a reservoir of criminal activity. “Through dark web marketplaces, many products, accounts and services can be purchased all too easily, including account credentials for various pay TV and VOD OTT services,” Irdeto pointed out. That means “legitimate subscribers could have had their accounts compromised and used illegally for a small one-off fee.”

In just one month, April 2018, Irdeto found 854 listings of OTT credentials from 69 unique sellers across more than 15 dark web marketplaces, spanning 42 different OTT services. In the case of redistribution piracy, Irdeto noted its web analytics partner found an average of 74 million global visits per month to the top 10 live streaming sites in the first quarter of 2018. Most traffic came via the US with 2.9 million average monthly visits, the UK with 1.7 million average monthly visits and Germany with 1.5 million.

Then the threat of “fully-loaded” boxes was also highlighted. “Pirates are using popular e-commerce sites to advertise ISDs (Illicit Streaming Devices), which are often advertised around major sporting events,” said Irdeto. “So far in 2018, Irdeto has worked to take down nearly 7,000 ads for ISDs across 60 domains.”

Mulready concluded, “content theft by pirates has become a full-fledged criminal enterprise, with some providing illegal subscriptions in an attempt to compete with established pay TV operators”.

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