A control tower against illegal streaming, supported by AI

The ways in which creative content and video streaming are pirated may diversify in the near future. Digital countermeasures aimed at protecting legal distributors are either now being developed or are already operational. These include the Anti-Piracy Centre, which uses artificial intelligence (AI).

Anti-Piracy Centre package comprises a range of high-level operational and consulting services, drawing in particular on methodologies from the world of cybersecurity.

Streaming services are multiplying and it is becoming easier to access high-quality files with both fixed and mobile devices using high-speed and very high-speed connections, from a larger and more varied range of terminals. Will the illegal redistribution and sharing of video content intensify?

A threat with a thousand faces…

“We’re facing new types of piracy”, said Kevin Le Jannic, Product Director for Security at Viaccess-Orca, a subsidiary of Orange. “Today’s hackers have a larger area of potential attack and an ability to reach their ‘customers’ with systems that work for all kinds of terminals, including mobile.” Viaccess-Orca, as a global provider of content delivery, management, protection and monetisation services, is capitalising on its wide experience and expertise in security matters. Its offering in the areas of protection and content access also covers the worlds of TV and over-the-top (OTT) services, not only through its conditional access systems (CAS) and digital rights management (DRM) but also thanks to its Secure Video Player. This subsidiary of Orange has recently expanded its range of solutions with a view to responding more effectively to current and emerging piracy trends. Unveiled at the 2019 International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), its Anti-Piracy Centre package comprises a range of high-level operational and consulting services, drawing in particular on methodologies from the world of cybersecurity, adapted to the constraints and specific problems of media players.

Monitoring, detection and removal: an end-to-end anti-piracy solution

The Anti-Piracy Centre is a veritable control tower, tracking and fighting against suspicious usage. It is structured around four blocks of complementary solutions. The first—Eye on Piracy—was designed to keep a close eye on online feeds, based on engines that track and identify fraudulent links. Watermarking, or digital tattooing, is the second pillar of the portal and aims to identify the redistribution source of illegal streaming services. All content is marked, or tattooed, with a unique identifier that can be extracted in case of piracy in order to find the original source. A result of combining the expertise of the b<>com Institute of Research and Technology (1) in the field of cybersecurity and Viaccess-Orca’s know-how in protecting content and analysing pirate feeds, this solution paves the way for dynamic digital watermarking, in real time and for all types of screens. “At present, there is no algorithm that is sufficiently robust to counter all attacks, and hackers will always find new ways of overriding watermarking. The innovation implemented with b<>com consists of introducing a dynamic and renewable approach to this equation — we can juggle multiple algorithms so we don’t give hackers enough time to break the watermarking.”

Data analysis and AI as reinforcements

The other two building blocks of the Anti-Piracy Centre relate to detecting breaches and monitoring password sharing.

The first is aimed at detecting anomalies and identifying suspicious behaviour, through monitoring and analysing data likely to be out of the ordinary. “We have defined a set of tracking rules on the basis of which algorithms detect deviations from the defined model and issue alerts, before a human investigation is launched. The relevant data is collected and aggregated in a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tool. The scarcity of labelled data represents a challenge in the fight against piracy compared to the detection of ‘generic’ fraud. This makes unsupervised or semi-supervised approaches even more attractive.”

The second building block relates to employing the usage data of TV services by different learning algorithms to detect the sharing of logins and passwords outside the home, the theft of accounts by hackers and their resale on the black market.

By using data and AI in this way via its Anti-Piracy Centre platform, Viaccess-Orca is consolidating its detection abilities and is enriching its arsenal of barriers against an aggravated threat. Moreover, the relevance of its solution is already recognised within the ecosystem. In fact, its watermarking technology has recently been granted certification by Cartesian, a North American organisation that specialises in the fields of telecommunications, media and technologies.

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