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The focus of content security needs to change from protecting the distribution of content to monitoring, identifying and prosecuting pirates. That is the view of the technology consultancy Farncombe, which has considered the increasing ease with which consumers can access pirated content thanks to the penetration of broadband, P2P software and user-generated websites where pirates can stream content at no cost to themselves, among other factors.
In a recent white paper about the future of broadcast CA the company says: “Regardless of CA system, in a territory with good broadband connectivity content redistribution represents an easy way for a pirate to steal content, and can only be responded to through monitoring and shutting down the pirate services.”
According to Farncombe’s Security and Piracy Survey, conducted in August 2012, the primary security concern of Pay TV operators today is control-word sharing but this is about to change as broadband availability increases. The survey showed that Pay TV operators believe that content redistribution will become the main piracy threat over the next five years.
“The view of operators is supported by data from across the industry. The growth in the streaming of premium content has been dramatic, as broadband speeds have increased and as sites offering cheap, and sometimes even free, streaming have multiplied,” Farncombe explains. The company points to figures from NetResult (Update on Digital Piracy of Sporting Events 2011) highlighting the number of UGC live streaming sites showing English Premier League Games since 2006. In 2006-7 it was one, then ten by 2008-9, 32 in 2009-10 and 37 in 2010-11 (counted up to February).
The white paper also points to the growth of multi-screen TV and how this puts responsibility for security outside the scope of the broadcast network. “Each additional non-proprietary device supported creates another point of attack for pirates from which to source high-quality content,” the consulting firm says.
The conclusion? “The weak points of a Pay TV operation are changing. Hackers will try to pursue the highest return on investment, which will come from targeting content directly, be it from the TV screen itself or from the distribution of content
among the increasing number of multi-screen devices.” Farncombe lists watermarking, fingerprinting and monitoring as three important new anti-piracy technologies.
The white paper, ‘The Future of Cardless Broadcast Security’ was published in October and is sponsored by Verimatrix.