Digital Studio

Security Solutions in Broadcasting

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Safe & Secure

With cyber breaches, attacks and theft on the rise, security solutions in the broadcasting world are complex with content being delivered across platforms. Broadcasters and media companies are delivering content across various platforms and are increasingly transitioning towards IP-based delivery services. At the same time, this has made them vulnerable to cyber breaches, attacks and theft. So how are companies safeguarding their networks, protecting their precious systems, data and IPR and customer information from these attacks? Read on to find out more.

Security Matters

As evidenced by an increasing number of high profile attacks that have wreaked havoc on the segment, it is clear that the media and entertainment industry has become a prime target for cybercrime. Security concerns facing the industry as a whole include valuable client assets being compromised and held ransom such as the 2016 attack on Larson Studios, where hackers demanded USD $50,000 in return for stolen content. “Also of threat is a company’s internal confidential documents being leaked, as evidenced by Sony’s 2014 hack. Hackers stole an estimated 10TB of data and assets from Sony Pictures and leaked three unreleased movies, a script for James Bond Spectre and personal information and emails from countless Sony employees. The damages included Sony co-chairperson Amy Pascal’s career, a heavily-damaged IT infrastructure and millions of dollars in civil damages,” says Peter Lambert, Sales Director, EditShare. Illegal redistribution of broadcast content continues to grow rapidly around the world. It is a very serious threat to the revenues of broadcasters and rights owners, especially with respect to premium live sports and entertainment content.

Safety Measures

Compliance with evolving security best practices is expected to ultimately become table stakes for doing business in the media and entertainment space. Even today, audits against these best practices are becoming more common as part of the selection process for service provider partners. The globally governing Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) advocate for a multi-layer approach spanning management, personnel asset management, physical access, IT security, training, incident management, workflow and script handling. “To protect their content from illegal video streaming, broadcasters are deploying advanced channel monitoring and content recognition systems, along with watermarking for advanced subscriber level identification. The latest watermarking technologies are completely invisible to viewers, and comply with the security requirements of premium sports rights holders and movie studios. Importantly, the watermarking can identify any subscribers leaking content in seconds to allow rapid termination of content theft,” says Neil Sharpe, Product Marketing Director, Friend MTS. Key elements of the network access layer include WAN security (firewalls, etc), Internet security (antivirus, etc), network access, authentication and account management and I/O management.  “The management layer focuses on the organization and management of your facility. It could span management policy, risk management and incident response, business continuity and disaster recovery, workflow, segregation of duties, employee hiring practices and how to engage with third parties. The physical layer focuses on the mechanisms and practices that prevent unauthorized entry to your facility. A comprehensive network access layer will focus on the mechanisms and practices that manage who has access to your video production infrastructure and the assets it provides access to,” says Lambert.

Privacy Matters

Unlawful distribution of premium content is a growing concern for content owners and platforms and companies are using various tools to deal with this threat. For instance, the all new EditShare XStream EFS Auditing dashboard has been designed with valuable content in mind. EditShare’s file auditing solution operates as part of the file system itself, “seeing” all user behaviors including all login and logouts and all file opens, creations, modifications, movements and deletions. K Yegneshwara Iyer – VP & Head Of Technology, Times Network explains, “we take care to continuously educate our users on best practices to handle all content and on the legal, financial, goodwill and operational consequences of mishandling content. We also put reasonable restrictions on access to content in a shape and form that could be exploited to our company’s detriment. This could be as simple as denying access to people who don’t need the access to allowing only low-resolution access to premium content or allowing delayed access to content – once it has passed its use-by date.” Friend MTS protects the content and revenues of many of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies, using global monitoring with advanced network forensics technology and fingerprint-based automatic content recognition. This delivers detailed insights on illicit video consumption and network-level piracy mitigation. This monitoring capability, coupled with the world’s most deployed subscriber-level watermarking technology and direct integrations with subscriber management systems, allows the rapid, automated termination of video piracy.

Overcoming Challenges

Broadcasting companies, typically, work in an open internal environment that is not immediately conducive to tight security measures. In an industry that is constantly working under time pressures, imposing security workflows is seen as affecting business deliverables. Consequently, internal risks are higher than external. “Broadcasters are generally able to secure their external perimeter but are less successful when it comes to creating internal fences. This leaves them open to potential insider attacks. Yes, this is true not just of broadcasting but of many other industries. In broadcasting, however, the ease of transporting data and media in the modern world means that the risk of breaches and leakages is higher. In broadcasting, as in other industries, ample solutions exist to protect and safeguard media and other data assets. The biggest challenge in broadcast is the workflow and the perceived efficiency reduction brought on my lockdowns of access on a need-to-have basis,” says Iyer.

Tech Talk

In the security industry, it is well understood that some security events can be more easily detected through correlation of separate events occurring on different systems throughout the facility. For example, it may be possible to detect unauthorized media asset access via file moves in a storage server combined with file copies to removable storage device such as a USB. Solutions supporting this approach are called Security Information and Events Management (SIEM) systems. “To harness the power of SIEM in your video production facility, it is important to choose media production elements that are capable of forwarding file audit logs to third-party systems. These systems provide centralized collection of file audit log data as well as log data from switches, routers, firewalls and other elements of the IT infrastructure. They also normalize the data so that it can be stored efficiently,” explains Lambert. SIEM systems also provide the capability to look across individual files and correlate events to more precisely identify specific events and threats. Once detected, SIEM systems are capable of notifying responsible parties so that an immediate response can be mounted. The broadcasting sector is challenged in the application of many standard IT technologies due to the kind of workflow and processes that have evolved. Identification of content is extremely difficult. Unlike a PDF or any other office document, media – both audio and video can be cut up and bits and pieces used making tracking much more difficult. While it is easy to restrict access to media, once access is provided, tracking usage is a tedious, expensive and impractical solution. “Restrictions are imposed on users’ ability to copy material on non-authorised media like external hard disks. The ability to upload or FTP is also restricted from end-points where media is accessible. Ideally, broadcasters would like fingerprinting every distinct frame of media which could, then, be tracked throughout its lifecycle. But, that will require all systems to come on a common platform to share tracking information,” says Iyer.

Cloud Control

That modern, collaborative production workflows owe a great deal to the use of file-based content shared on enterprise-wide and cloud-wide networks for their efficiency is undeniable. But equally indisputable is the fact that as workflows transitioned from tightly-guarded tapes to enterprise-wide and worldwide cloud-based networks, the exposure to exploitation; the “threat surface” in security speak, has grown exponentially. With new broadcast workflows and the growth in OTT platforms, there is a greater potential for content redistribution because many of the OTT apps have an insufficient level of security to prevent content redistribution. “To provide end-to-end security, it is essential for broadcasters and platform operators to address content protection across set-top boxes and OTT apps, using a unified, watermarking based approach to security,” avers Sharpe. Motivated by the value of the content being produced, pirates seek to exploit vulnerabilities in lax studio operations as well as the closely associated and often interconnected ecosystem of post-production service providers. “Preparedness with layered security systems and protocols is one of the best ways to protect valuable content in the era of cybercrime. In the past, security efforts were focused on creating barriers preventing access to media assets. However, as cyber criminals have found ways around these, the focus has shifted to file auditing to prevent internal and external theft,” says Lambert.

Net Fix

Cloud workflows for broadcast are still maturing. Many processes like second copies, multiple-GPU based tasks among many others are good candidates for cloud workflows and are being adopted at pace. However, security of data in transit, security of data at rest in a third party data centre and the chances of data loss and the potential for recovery after a loss are all variables today. Controlling security of cloud based workflows needs to be approached much the same way as one would approach internal workflows. It is important to consider cloud resources as an extension of internal processes and apply appropriate controls of access and data protection at every step of all workflows. “In addition, broadcasters should be aware of risks of liability of data loss that cloud vendors are willing to undertake and factor that into their management processes for data and its security. Managing security of cloud workflows and cloud storage of large media assets becomes complicated due to the addition of latency in data transfers. While media was streaming locally within a facility as SDI signals, everything was hard wired and secured. With increasing transmission of media data over IP, media has become as vulnerable as other data that is transmitted over IP links. Consequently, it is important to apply the same measures of securing connections, end-points, monitoring data flows and using methods like checksums to minimise data corruption in transmission,” says Iyer.

Making the Connection

As IoT becomes a reality in the broadcasting industry, security solutions are changing too. Connectivity is a huge advantage to clients who are working on global productions. Previously you would need to send the tape or hard drives back to the facility, which could be 5,000 miles away. Through IOT, you can automate a huge amount of tasks, such as ingest, transcode and file based delivery. Being connected to the post production house from any location worldwide helps improve efficiency, reduces wasted time on shipping and helps with the bottom line of a production. “Furthermore through IOT you can automate many of these mundane tasks remotely. With this attractive global exchange comes the risk of hacks and EditShare are at the helm of safeguarding this workflow opportunity. We are pioneering the security solutions facilities need today. Our technology File Auditing offered in the EditShare XStream EFS shared storage platform is the missing security layer for many and a big trend for 2018,” says Lambert.

Future Perfect

Almost any production/post production leveraging the IoT for content exchange will require cloud based security as part of the workflow. Clients want to make sure that there content is secure at all times and how can they do that if their files are on a third party server somewhere around the globe. To protect these workflows, EditShare offers hybrid solutions such as AirFlow/Flow and XStream EFS that provide secure remote access/retrieval to assets, mitigating content breaches with secure networks and audit trails. We will continue to focus on evolving our solutions security over the next 12 months and continue to offer solutions that allow our clients to fully embrace cloud based production on a large scale whilst being confident security breaches will not happen. “We are seeing media and entertainment companies turn towards more integrated security services. There’s a demand for managed content protection services that deliver demonstrable success against video piracy, as opposed to just deploying security software and hardware devices,” says Sharpe. “Increasing use of cloud based workflows will help standardise and homogenise many of these processes and as this happens, security will become easier to configure and maintain. However, the efficacy and practicality of security of cloud based broadcasting workflows and the usability of cloud based security solutions for broadcasting remains to be proved. However, I’m confident that both will improve to a point that they will become the standard rather than the experimental alternative that they now are,” concludes Iyer.

This story appeared in the Mar-18 issue of Digital Studio magazine here: DS March 2018

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