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Irdeto and African Wildlife Foundation partner to combat wildlife crime online

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The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Irdeto have partnered to combat poaching and wildlife crimes online. The illegal selling of animal parts is the fourth biggest illicit industry worldwide behind drugs, counterfeit goods and human trafficking. These wildlife crimes not only decimate animal populations but also have a negative effect on the entire ecosystem, impacting local economies that rely on these ecosystems for tourism. By joining forces, AWF and Irdeto aim to protect animals from these crimes by leveraging Irdeto’s suite of cybersecurity services and technologies to investigate, identify and disrupt the sale of animal parts on the internet. The partnership will also work with local law enforcement, providing key forensic data and intelligence to help locate and arrest the criminals responsible for this illegal trading.

“The global illegal wildlife trade generates between $7 billion and $23 billion in illicit revenue every year,” said Kaddu Sebunya, president, AWF. “Our mission is to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa. If this illicit industry continues to thrive, then our mission is in jeopardy. Together with Irdeto, we have an incredible opportunity to bring about a positive change, disrupt this illicit industry and make a positive impact on wildlife in Africa as well as across the globe.”

AWF is an international conservation organisation that focuses on critically important landscapes in Africa, including strategies designed to protect the wildlife and wild lands of Africa and ensure a more sustainable future for Africa’s people. Irdeto and AWF’s strategic partnership not only identifies different types of wildlife crimes across digital channels, but also provides the evidence needed to prosecute poachers and wildlife criminals. By disrupting illegal activities, this partnership can make a difference and ensure that endangered and threatened wildlife species are around for future generations.

“We are in a unique and lucky position to be able to use our cybersecurity expertise and technology for good,” said Doug Lowther, CEO, Irdeto. “When we announced to employees our intention to kickstart this philanthropic wildlife initiative, I was tremendously encouraged by the outpouring of support and the eagerness to get involved in this cause. The passion from our team was there, we just needed a like-minded partner that shared our enthusiasm for this cause. We have found that partner in AWF and I am proud that we can harness our expertise and technology for a good and just cause.”

To learn more about this cause, click here.

Pay TV opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

By Frank Poppelsdorf, vice president, Product Management, Irdeto.

As consumer behavior continues to evolve rapidly due to technological advances in the pay TV space and the rapid growth of OTT, the market in Sub-Saharan Africa presents an array of opportunities for operators. According to the Sub-Saharan Africa Pay TV Forecasts report, released by Digital TV Research earlier this year, the number of pay TV subscribers is predicted to see an increase of 74 per cent by 2023, to 40.89 million. With this healthy forecast in mind, operators should be looking at developing services to excite consumers and capitalise on this fast-growing market.

While increasing global penetration of pureplay OTT providers (Netflix launched in an additional 130 countries, including South Africa, in January 2016) has led consumers to expect OTT functionality and content everywhere, pay TV operators can reap the rewards of the OTT opportunity while simultaneously sustaining strong traditional pay TV operations. The key to this is in coming up with ways of rolling out exciting new services and content while ensuring ongoing cost efficiencies.

Traditional pay TV remains essential

While global OTT growth has been impressive, traditional pay TV services are still hugely important in the region. Operators however, must still consider the evolving consumer requirements for speed and convenience for all content delivery channels. Crucially, they must look to capitalise on new methods of secure delivery of their broadcast content to serve consumer convenience and make the sign-on process easier and cheaper.

It is also important to balance the need for protecting content against cost pressures. In this case, rather than being a cost burden, high quality security should be an enabler for business growth by evolving to support an operator’s changing needs. A software-based security solution will allow operators to securely deliver content across devices, while providing a cost-effective and easily renewable solution to stay ahead of piracy and security threats without hardware dependencies.

As operators look to further develop and grow their businesses, they must also be able to create new revenue streams from different tiers of programs or services, which will require the management of subscriber entitlements. Conditional Access (CA) will ensure that different packages can reach subscribers from different income groups and it will also help operators address piracy concerns.

Content delivery strategies for the future

Whether looking from a global or regional viewpoint, there is no denying that increasing choice is changing consumer habits and demands. However, it’s clear that broadcast services will remain extremely important in the pay TV market in sub-Saharan Africa and the revenue opportunity is there for operators. The secure delivery of high-quality content will be crucial to capitalise on this and, as the market continues to evolve in future, operators will need to be looking to offer a hybrid STB with linear TV and OTT services.

Open platforms like Android TV can be the most effective and fastest way to future-proof a set-top box and explore new revenue-generating services. The first step towards this future is ensuring a secure digital TV ecosystem, where subscriber entitlements can be managed, with the security demands of premium content met.

The key to this is a 360-degree approach to security which complements Conditional Access. This means a combination of state-of-the-art security technology, proactive services delivered by experienced investigators and analysts, and comprehensive cybercrime business intelligence services. Security should be robust, but also act as an enabler for great service delivery. This will allow operators to securely deliver high value content, enable new revenue streams and secure future growth, taking advantage of the huge subscriber increases that are expected in the region in the coming years.

 

Criminals profit with OTT streaming credentials available on dark web

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Hundreds of stolen login details for popular OTT services are available every month on the dark web for an average of only US$8.81, potentially putting consumers at risk and impacting OTT revenues, according to new research by Irdeto. Via dark web marketplaces, a variety of products, accounts and services can be bought, including account credentials for a range of pay TV and Video on Demand (VOD) OTT services. This means that legitimate subscribers could have had their accounts compromised and used illegally for a small one-off fee. Consumers should therefore be vigilant of any unusual or unfamiliar activity on their account, changing their password regularly.

The Irdeto Global Consumer Piracy Threat Report looks at pay TV credential availability on the dark web, global piracy hotspots and the market in illicit streaming devices (ISD’s). The report provides advice for content owners and rights holders and analyses the threat to consumers, outlining how they can be vigilant and avoid the risks of digital piracy. Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Widespread availability of stolen OTT credentials – In one month (April 2018), Irdeto discovered 854 listings of OTT credentials from 69 unique sellers across more than 15 dark web marketplaces. These credentials were from 42 different OTT services including Netflix, HBO, DirecTV and Hulu.
  • Live streaming piracy is a global problem – Irdeto’s web analytics partner found an average of 74 million total global visits per month (and an average of 21 million unique visits) to the top ten live streaming sites in Q1 2018. Most traffic came from the US (2 934 000 average monthly unique visits), the UK (1 714 000 average monthly unique visits) and Germany (1 519 000 average monthly unique visits)
  • Ads for “fully-loaded” boxes continue to spring up – Pirates are using popular ecommerce sites to advertise ISD’s, which are often advertised around major sporting events. For example, Irdeto identified 180 advertisements for ISD’s offering Joshua vs. Parker on e-commerce websites, including eBay and Gumtree in just one day in the week leading up to the fight. So far in 2018, Irdeto has worked to take down almost 7  000 adverts for ISDs across 60 domains.

“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. Content owners, rights holders, technology and security partners and law enforcement agencies are working hard to combat the threat of piracy. However, consumers must also be vigilant to avoid the risks they may be subject to from illegal content,” said Mark Mulready, vice president – Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto.

“Consumers must think about where they access their content from and ensure that any streaming or downloading is done from legitimate sources. They must also remember that if they use the same password for their OTT services as they do for a number of other online accounts, they could also be opening themselves up to a wider array of exploitative threats.”

Click here to download the full report.

New data from Irdeto shows P2P piracy still dominant for movies and TV

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Consumers who prefer piracy over legal video sites are ensuring that peer-to-peer (P2P) piracy continues to be the major method of accessing illegal copies of movies and TV shows, according to new research from Irdeto and a web analytics partner. The research also finds that the growth in web video piracy is only adding to the global movie and TV piracy problem, rather than replacing P2P piracy.

The overall popularity of pirate web video sites is growing alongside P2P, driven by visits from “casual pirates,” who go to both legitimate sites and illegal piracy sites. Five out of ten monthly visits to pirate sites by casual pirates in 2017 were to web video sites. However, in 2017, eight out of ten monthly visits to pirate sites by “committed pirates” (those who do not visit legitimate streaming sites) were to P2P sites.

The research also found that visits to P2P sites accounted for 70 per cent of global activity for both web video and P2P platforms. This behavior led to an average of 800 million global monthly downloads from P2P sites in 2017. In addition, P2P activity in the most prominent high-piracy countries, which include Russia, India, Brazil, the Netherlands and the U.S, is either constant or increasing. The research reveals that web video sites source a significant proportion (28 per cent) of their high-quality video content from P2P sites.

“While many expect P2P piracy to be taken over by streaming and direct downloads, it’s clear that this has not happened yet. P2P piracy is still a big threat to the industry, in which the overall piracy problem is growing,” said Peter Cossack, vice president, Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto. “While the increase in bandwidth and social media has facilitated growth in content redistribution piracy, particularly around live sporting events, it is clear that other forms of piracy are not going away any time soon. This must be considered by content owners and rights holders in their security strategies.”

Click here to view the full report.

Pay-TV operators empower consumer choice with Irdeto

Consumers today want choice. While providing open platforms like Android TV can help enable choice and provide pay-TV operators with a competitive edge, there are security challenges they must address with open platforms. To tackle these challenges, Irdeto has launched its Android TV security solution named “Irdeto Armor.” Designed to protect the device, data and services built on Android TV, Irdeto Armor now provides operators with the ability to securely manage this open platform. By supporting broadcast, OTT and new apps through open platforms like Android TV, operators are better able to address consumer demand now and in the future.

In order to succeed in today’s ever-evolving pay TV landscape, operators need to offer innovative and secure platforms. Irdeto Armor for Android TV enables operators to reap the benefits of Android TV while maintaining full control of security on their platform, including managing content piracy and preventing loading of unauthorized software. Irdeto supports a variety of chipsets from its partners and Irdeto Armor for Android TV comes pre-integrated and ready-to-certify with Irdeto Cloaked CA, the most widely deployed cardless CA solution in the world. The pre-integrated solution enables operators to shorten the launch time of a hybrid set-top box (STB) by three to six months.

“Pay-TV must evolve to survive, let alone thrive, and the services which will flourish will offer a credible user experience on all relevant devices to an increasingly discerning and value-conscious audience,” said Ed Barton, chief analyst of the Media, Entertainment and Consumer Practice at Ovum. “The competition from digital platforms is intensifying and relying on audience lock-in doesn’t work: operators have to balance the latitude offered by Android TV to finesse the user experience while protecting their ecosystems and business models alike. Given how important security is in underpinning audience confidence and trust on premium TV and video platforms, who operators choose to work with is a technical, commercial and, ultimately, critical decision to get right.”

Irdeto Armor combines conditional access and watermarking to protect premium content like 4K UHD. The solution also provides operators with advanced security services to help them manage a variety of threats while ensuring an optimal viewing experience. Irdeto’s highly scalable OTT security solution manages multiple DRMs and business policies, combined with high availability and 24×7 support, enabling operators to introduce OTT apps into the app store quickly and seamlessly.

“Changes in consumer behavior, the growth of unmanaged devices and the rapid evolution of STB platforms are just some of the challenges faced today by pay TV operators,” said Andrew Bunten, SVP of Content Protection at Irdeto. “The need to differentiate on content is more critical now than ever before. Open platforms like Android TV allow operators to future-proof their STB and provide consumers with choice. At the same time, protecting open platforms is crucial to preventing loss of revenue, STB investment, content and data as well as any other damage to the operator’s brand. With Irdeto, operators have a trusted security partner to help them achieve their business goals on any platform.”

 

Content owners amp up anti-piracy strategy with Irdeto

As content owners and distributors continue to address consumer demand for premium content, Interoperable Master Format (IMF) is becoming an increasingly popular exchange format for 4K and HDR assets. While this format has helped OTT providers and pay-TV operators reduce costs and complexity associated with distributing premium content, pirates have also evolved their piracy strategies to steal valuable assets. To address piracy challenges, Irdeto has introduced an industry-first feature set into its scalable distributor watermarking solution. Irdeto TraceMark™ forensic watermarking now provides content owners with support for JPEG 2000 (J2K) in IMF exchange formats to help prevent theft of premium 4K and HDR content.

With Irdeto TraceMark now supporting J2K in IMF, content owners are able to keep one master version of the content and send out individually watermarked versions of the content on-the-fly with no delay to distributors. As a result, content owners no longer need to transcode individual copies, reducing the use of storage space and preparation time before distributing content. The solution also offers the ability to distribute high-quality content at scale in individually watermarked form, provides post-encode benefits that eliminate the need for custom watermarking plugins and operates independently of encoders, requiring zero integration so it can be deployed immediately. TraceMark is also the first to fully integrate distributor watermarking with Aspera’s FASP® transfer technology.

“One thing is for certain, if pirates want to get their hands on premium content, they will alter their tactics in order to find a weak point in a content owner’s anti-piracy strategy,” said Pete Cossack, vice president of Cybersecurity Services at Irdeto. “To combat pirates, we recognise the importance of continually innovating in order to enhance anti-piracy strategies. With our industry-first J2K in IMF watermarking solution, we are adding yet another layer of defense to help content owners and distributors protect premium 4K and HDR content. Supporting IMF exchange formats is the type of innovative functionality needed to help content owners stay one step ahead of pirates.”

Offered as a key solution in the Irdeto Piracy Control suite, Irdeto TraceMark forensic watermarking provides the industry’s widest support for file formats and codecs, including XDCAM, HD50, ProRes, AVC, HEVC and now J2K in IMF. The solution provides content owners with deeper insight into the actual origin of pirated content, allowing content owners to make informed decisions based on correct data rather than what was purported based on file name or other characteristics. Irdeto’s team of multi-discipline specialists and its proven methodology has a successful track record in rapidly identifying content theft, disrupting piracy and leveraging its established networks to track down pirates and their supply chains.

 

Irdeto – building a secure future at IBC 2017

Irdeto will be showcasing its 360 Security suite at IBC 2017, which provides comprehensive security across the content value chain. This offers premium security for content owners – movie studios or sports rights holders – and pay-media providers such as OTT and broadcast operators.

The media industry has been undergoing unprecedented changes, driven by technology innovation, new entrants and ecosystem fragmentation. If your business today is based on broadcast, making the transition to OTT can be difficult and expensive. One of the trickiest parts to get right is how to secure and deliver content to both managed and unmanaged devices without multiplying your efforts and cost. To make the transition even harder, Hollywood studios and sports rights holders have also raised security requirements for premium content, such as 4K UHD.

Through informational videos and meetings with domain experts, visitors will discover how content owners and pay-media providers can manage multiple new technology implementations. In today’s competitive landscape, it is also crucial that they do this while combatting the growing scale and sophistication of online piracy, and accommodating consumer demand for high quality, multiscreen experiences. Irdeto provides a full-service capability to enable customers to protect their brand and revenue and establishes long-term partnerships to allow them to continually adapt and grow with the changing time.

Other industry issues Irdeto will be focused on at IBC are watermarking. For pay-media providers to secure the rights of UHD content, early-release movies and live sports, they need to have a watermarking solution. In the case of live sports, the impact of piracy in a short revenue window for this content can be substantial. Android TV will be another hot topic at the event, and should be a serious consideration for operators’ next STB platform.

Irdeto’s CTO, Andrews Wajs, will also be speaking at IBC 2017 about the role of Artificial Intelligence in media: making security smarter. The presentation session titled “Cyber and Content Security – Putting it into Practice’ will take place on Saturday 16 September at 12h00.

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