Indee: Protecting Content with Security-Native Streaming APIs

Digital piracy and illegal streaming services are costing the U.S. economy about $30 billion each year in lost revenue and siphoning as many as 250,000 jobs, Bloomberg reported recently, citing estimates from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center.

The global digital media market, spanning gaming, video, music, e-books, and more, generates over $330 billion annually. Expected to grow over 10 percent annually, this market is driven by increased broadband access and expanding customer bases.

A significant portion of this market, representing two-thirds of residential internet traffic, is dominated by over-the-top (OTT) video subscription services like Netflix and HBO Max.

Recent technology advancements have streamlined unauthorized access to subscription and live video content, posing challenges in protecting content producers’ rights.

The graph illustrates the economic impact of piracy across various digital media sectors, comparing the annual revenue loss due to piracy, potential revenue without piracy, and the overall economic impact on the digital media market. It provides a comprehensive overview of the financial ramifications of piracy, highlighting the significant revenue losses incurred by content creators and the potential gains that could be realized in a piracy-free environment.

By juxtaposing these figures, the graph underscores the urgent need for effective anti-piracy measures to mitigate economic losses and foster sustainable growth in the digital media industry.

The impact on the video industry

Loss of revenue: Stream ripping cuts into the profits of video platforms. When someone rips content instead of subscribing, the platform loses subscription fees, advertising revenue, and potential future viewership. This can stifle content creation and innovation in the industry.

Devalued content: Stream ripping often results in lower-quality copies. The ripped files might have reduced resolution, distorted audio, or missing parts. This diminishes the viewing experience and undervalues the work put into creating the content.

Disrupted business models: Streaming services rely on viewership patterns and user engagement data to recommend content and target advertising. Stream ripping disrupts this data, making it harder for platforms to personalize the experience and generate revenue.

The solution

The distribution of high-value content requires a security-native video platform designed with security, not as an appendage, but at its core. This approach ensures that every aspect of the platform, from data storage and transmission, viewing applications to user authentication and content access, is deliberately protected without affecting ease of access for legitimate uses. By integrating robust security measures from the ground up, such a platform mitigates vulnerabilities and protects against a wide array of cyber threats. It employs end-to-end encryption, rigorous access controls, and continuous monitoring to safeguard user data and content.

This fundamental integration of security principles not only enhances user trust and compliance with regulatory standards but also ensures a seamless and secure viewing experience.

The new grade of security-native video platforms such as Indee’s APIs offer protection against common piracy techniques, ensuring that your content remains secure and accessible only to authorized users. Video creators, guilds, and studios can use these to protect their content and preserve its value in the digital marketplace. In this article, we will elaborate on how a security nature video platform can specifically address common piracy attacks and provide protection.

Protecting against attacks faced by the media industry

Attack No. 1: Stream ripping
Stream ripping involves unauthorized downloading of streaming content, which can lead to copyright infringement and revenue loss for content providers. It is the process of capturing streaming video or audio content from online platforms, decrypting it, and preserving it as a file locally on a computer or server.

It is executed using various tools, including browser extensions or standalone software programs, adept at intercepting the streaming data and archiving it in a playback-compatible format for later use.

Counter: Multi-layered security solutions

Security native video platforms typically employ multi-layered security solutions to address the stream ripping threat.

• HDCP 2.2 Enforcement: Security native video platforms can be configured to enforce HDCP 2.2, which helps prevent HDMI-based ripping devices from capturing protected content.

• Forensic watermarking: Each stream can be uniquely watermarked for each recipient using forensic invisible watermarking techniques, enabling traceability back to the source of any leaks.

• Burned-in visual watermarking: Visual watermarks can be embedded throughout the video or in specific sections, providing an additional layer of protection and deterrence against unauthorized distribution.

• DRM: Security native video platforms typically apply unique DRM keys for every video and recipient combination, ensuring that cracking a single key does not give a bad actor access to multiple streams.

These features ensure that any instance of stream ripping can be effectively traced and mitigated, preserving the integrity and security of the content.

Attack No. 2: Credential sharing

Credential sharing is a prevalent form of video piracy where users share login credentials for streaming services, enabling unauthorized access to premium content without a subscription. Despite its ease facilitated by multiple user profiles and simultaneous streaming, password sharing compromises user security by exposing personal information to malicious use.

Counter: Limit concurrent playback

Security native video platforms can be configured to limit the number of concurrent playbacks for an account. This measure prevents credential sharing from being effective, as any new stream will be blocked if there is already an active video stream associated with the account.
Restricting the number of simultaneous streams significantly curtails credential sharing, enhancing content security and user privacy.

Attack No. 3: Credential fraud

Credential fraud in video content piracy involves utilizing stolen login credentials to access premium video content without payment. This illicit practice, often executed through “credential-stuffing,” where stolen credentials are tested across multiple streaming platforms, poses significant risks to revenue and reputation for content providers and streaming services.

Counter: Compromised password detection
Security native video platforms support passwords to be tested against a well-known database of compromised passwords from stolen accounts. Passwords found in this database are not allowed to be used in accounts on the viewing apps.

By preventing compromised passwords, we can significantly reduce the risk of credential stuffing attacks on new accounts, enhancing user account security and protecting premium content from unauthorized access.

Attack No. 4: Session theft

Fraudulent actors can steal the session information of a legitimate user after they log in through various covert means.

Counter: Rotating session tokens
Security native video platforms typically use rotating session tokens that expire within a short period of time. This ensures that any stolen session credential is invalidated within a few minutes, significantly reducing the window of opportunity for unauthorized access.

By implementing these short-lived, rotating session tokens, we can enhance the security of user sessions, protecting accounts and content from unauthorized access due to session theft.

Attack #5: Compromising viewing applications

The following set of attacks are typically performed on the viewing application.

• Man-in-the-middle attack (MITM): Perpetrators intercept data flow between the TV and the streaming server, exploiting vulnerabilities in routers or intermediary devices to capture sensitive information.

Counter: Security native video platforms would rollout applications that typically check if they have uncompromised access to their video servers by validating the SSL certificates used on their servers. In case of a compromise, the application prevents playback.

• Jailbroken device exploitation: Malicious actors gain unauthorized access by running the viewing application on jailbroken devices, clandestinely monitoring app activities, and accessing stored data.

Counter: Secure applications are hardened to detect jailbroken devices and will prevent playback on compromised devices.

• Rooted device vulnerabilities: Similar to jailbroken devices, running the app on rooted devices provides covert access to app functionalities and storage, posing significant security risks.

Counter: Secure applications attempt to detect rooted devices and will log out users on compromised devices and erase any data stored by the app.

Partner for success: Indee’s user-centric strategy to combat piracy

Indee’s secure streaming platform provides end-to-end security from uploading the video all the way to finally playing it on our players.

We ensure that your content is securely stored, watermarked to your specifications, and delivered to your customers using our secure CDN.

We also track viewing information and playback analytics to ensure we have sufficient insight into clients who accessed the content and at what time.

These features provide a comprehensive security before, during, and after viewing the video. Our full-scale offerings provide a strong, defensive solution over basic DRM-based viewing applications in the market.

* By Sharan Reddy, CEO, Indee *