What Are The Major Cybersecurity Issues With Streaming Services?

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 4:47 PM ET Mon, May 24th 2021

Account Hacked Error Message On Streaming Account

As the whole world is learning to survive with the Covid-19 Pandemic, social distancing and work-from-home have become the new norm in our society. Due to these new living conditions, video-on-demand streaming services’ popularity has escalated to meet people’s growing demand confined to their homes. 

70% of businesses are now investing in different sorts of video and audio media compared to  last year, a study by Animoto reveals. As other channels cannot produce new content due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, more and more viewers are gradually moving towards different streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, BBC iPlayer, and many others for continuous new content.  

The VPN technology has also contributed in a big way to the popularity of streaming services worldwide. Before, you couldn’t access regionally restricted content. With the introduction of VPN, users can enjoy  shows from their own country and any country in the world. A decade ago, someone in Canada wouldn’t have thought of watching US Netflix library content, but today by using NordVPN with Netflix, it is easily doable. For instance, you can watch “Batman: The killing Joke”, a US Netflix exclusive, right from your TV lounge in Canada.

With so many streaming services and applications available, we sometimes forget that they can quickly become a buffet for cybercriminals, and our credit card data and personally identifiable information are on the menu. We have seen many instances where people share their password without giving it a second thought or using the same password on multiple platforms. A skilled cybercriminal can easily take advantage of such mistakes and sell your credentials for identity fraud and data theft. 

Let’s take a look at some of the cybersecurity threats faced by Audio and Video streaming services.

Phishing Attack

The attempt to obtain sensitive information such as username, password, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive data by impersonating as a trustworthy source or person via digital communication is called Phishing Attack.

As millions of users are forced to stay home and rely on Netflix, Hulu, Hotstar, Disney+, and others to get rid of their boredom, cybercriminals see this as an opportunity to trick the users into their net and acquire information from them. According to a report by The Guardian, about 700 lookalike websites resembling Disney+ and Hulu have been created to take advantage of people in the current pandemic streaming boom. These websites lure in users by offering free subscriptions and steal their personal and financial information.

Credential Stuffing Attack

Cybercriminals try to breach a system or account by using the compromised account details. These details are stolen credentials stored in databases in the form of lists.

This attack is most likely when a popular streaming content is premiered on a streaming service. As people tend to share their account details during those times, that is exactly what hackers are looking for.

Brute Force Attack

A continuous trial and error hacking attempt on a particular log-in page. Usually, automated bots are attempting this attack until they can successfully login to the account. The attacker regularly checks all possible passwords and passphrases until the correct one is found.

This attack works by calculating every possible combination that could make up a password and test it to see if it is correct. The amount of time and computational power to find the correct password increases as the password’s length increases.

Account Takeover Attack

As the name suggests, a complete takeover of your account by a malicious third party entity is considered an account takeover attack. Once they gain access to the account, they can change the account details, steal financial information or sensitive data, and send out phishing emails to other people. Usually, the intention behind such attacks are based on financial gain.

Man-in-the-Middle (MITM)

In this attack, a hacker will secretly intercept communication between two people either to eavesdrop or change the traveling traffic. This attack is commonly used for stealing account login details, personal data, spying, or sabotaging communication. 

Detection of such attacks can be difficult, but its prevention is entirely possible using cybersecurity measures such as two-factor authentication and a virtual private network.

Let’s look at some of the recent Cyber Attacks in the Video and Music Streaming Industry.

  • Disney+ claimed to have had a credential stuffing cyberattack when hackers applied a brute force attack to hack into accounts.
  • According to an Irdeto Piracy Trends report, about 854 lists of streaming service credentials are available on the dark web. The list includes credentials for popular streaming services such as Netflix, HBO, and Hulu. 
  • According to Proofpoint threat analysts, multiple streaming services’ valid account details are being sold online at a discounted price.
  • Mixcloud was compromised by hackers who gained access to their systems and tried to sell more than 20 million user data on the dark web. 

When it comes to entertainment, security is often neglected because most users appreciate a frictionless user experience. Users will never treat their streaming content account details the same way they would to their bank accounts. 

It has become imperative for content streaming players to retaliate, and what better way than using a Virtual Private Network to secure yourself from all kinds of cybersecurity threats. A VPN keeps your data secure while providing you a frictionless user experience as well. 

A Virtual Private Network encrypts your online traffic with military-grade encryption so that no one can intercept your information. When you are connected with a VPN server, all your internet activity first goes through the VPN server, which applies different encryption and security protocols to your data so that no one can steal your data.

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