New research from Irdeto shows 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. 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 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% of global activity for both web video and P2P platforms. This behaviour 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%) of their high-quality video content from P2P sites.
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 per month) 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.
- India among the top five countries for P2P downloads – Irdeto tracked more than 800 million monthly downloads between January 2017 and May 2018 through its P2P Business Intelligence tracker. India is among the top five countries, with 965 million P2P downloads tracked during the monitoring period.
“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,” he added.