360-degree threats need a 360-degree security response

September 15, 2017 Adrian Pennington - Guest Blogger

The media sector is now a top target for cyber criminals and combating these threats is a major focus at IBC. At midday today, the Conference takes aim at the problem, with a sold-out invite-only C-Tech Forum event which places security firmly at the top of executive agendas. Tomorrow at 12.00 [in the Emerald Room] a panel of experts explain how to put content security into practice.

Perhaps the chief take-away from discussions like these is that the threat from piracy is multi-faceted and that security strategies need to be as sophisticated and multi-layered in response. But what does this actually mean for operators genuinely concerned about the risk?

It starts by acknowledging that current business models – which rely on connectivity to meet growing consumer demands for flexibility, ease of access and convenience – are inherently expanding the surface of attack. Any insecure device, IPTV set-top box and OTT service can be abused for cybercrime, and pirated services can be streamed from anywhere on the internet. Combating this threat means adopting a 360-degree strategy which accounts for the delivery of high value content to this broad range of unmanaged devices.

Irdeto’s Director Product Management, Frank Poppelsdorf lays this out succinctly: “Support for the widest range of unmanaged devices to reach consumers means that operators must support multiple DRMs to cover the popular web browsers and consumer devices.”

Secondly, to get premium content such as 4K UHD sports and early-release box office movies, operators must be able to meet the increasingly stringent security requirements set by MovieLabs.

“MovieLabs’ Enhanced Content Protection (ECP) specification sets the new bar for what operators must do to get premium content,” asserts Poppelsdorf. “This ranges from ensuring renewability in CA and DRM, to locking down consumer devices, to end-to-end breach response and watermarking.”

The third plank of a successful 360-degree strategy is having flexible policy management across broadcast and OTT services.

“Because major OTT players like Amazon and Netflix are constantly changing their policies and pricing options to explore the optimal business models in each market, operators need to ensure their hybrid offer is equally flexible and consistent on both broadcast and OTT devices to compete,” he says. “To enable this capability, operators must look for an integrated head-end system that allows them easily set subscriber entitlement rules, without worrying about what device, CA or DRM is in use.”

However, engineering all of this into existing service provider operations, including on-premise hardware, creates tremendous operational and expertise challenges, especially when different packaging and encryption technologies are required for the devices. Let’s not beat around the bush – meeting these requirements can take a long time and cost a lot of money. Unless, of course, operators have experienced security partners on their side which consider the whole threat landscape and a proactive 360-degree defense.

Once organizations and the content production market have made this mind-shift, the more effective the industry will be at recognizing and combatting cybercrime.

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