Keynoter Talks Hacking Motives at Cybersecurity, Content Protection Summit

When Ralph Echemendia — a cybersecurity specialist with the memorable moniker “The Ethical Hacker” — first got into hacking, it wasn’t with nefarious intent.

“When I got started, it was ‘Can I make this do that?’” he said May 12 during a keynote presentation at the annual Cybersecurity & Content Protection Summit (CCPS), being held digitally as part of the NAB Show Express experience.

And that remains true today with some “hackers,” who push digital barriers to test systems, find weaknesses, and improve cybersecurity footing, he said during his “Securing the Future of Media & Entertainment” presentation.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the game in some ways, pushing cyberthreat issues to the forefront. With so many people working from home, disparate work-from-home systems are proving vulnerable to cyber criminals, with per-minute hacks growing to more than 2,000, Echemendia said.

“So much [around hacking] is about profit, with data being the target,” he said. “Hacking has [also] become the tool for manipulating perceptions. We live in a virtual reality world right now, and you don’t need goggles.”

Today, governments and individuals alike can take any message and make it “real” online, a new tool available to everyone, where machines aren’t the hacking target, but the individual’s perception of reality, he said. Deep fakes using artificial intelligence (AI) have become easier than ever for anyone to create, and disinformation can spread like wildfire.

And the motives for cyber criminals run the gamut today, Echemendia said. Curiosity, fame and notoriety, espionage, political maneuvering, and even revenge can be behind the “why?” But for Hollywood, the protection issue is much the same as most every other business: “The risk to media and entertainment, like everyone, is the amount of data being used,” Echemendia said. “And we’re not in the business of cybersecurity per se, we’re in the business of trust.”

Presented by Richey May Technology Solutions, with sponsorship by Akamai, Cyberhaven, Microsoft Azure, SHIFT, Convergent Risks, and the Trusted Partner Network (TPN), the Cybersecurity & Content Protection Summit focused on the latest cybersecurity and content protection challenges studios, broadcasters and vendors alike are facing during the ongoing pandemic.

Produced under the direction of the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) Board of Directors and content advisors representing Amazon Studios, Adobe, Paramount, BBC Studios, NBCUniversal, Lionsgate, WarnerMedia, Amblin Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, and Lego Group, this year’s Cybersecurity & Content Protection Summit looked ahead at the challenges facing the security community in 2020 and beyond.