How to #BeCyberSmart in Cybersecurity Awareness…

How to #BeCyberSmart in Cybersecurity Awareness Month

By Sharon Farber, Security Marketing Manager at Synamedia



Cybersecurity remains a growing concern worldwide. In fact, a study conducted by Deep Instinct found that overall malware usage increased by 358% through 2020, while ransomware usage more than quadrupled in 2020 compared to 2019.

The media and entertainment industry is no exception to these growing security concerns. With the spike in streaming piracy due to stay-at-home orders and the introduction of same-day streaming and theatrical releases for movies, content owners and service providers continue to lose billions in potential revenue.

As companies and users everywhere strive to protect themselves against cyberattacks and cybercrimes, it is crucial for our industry to understand the importance of cybersecurity and the resources available to ensure online safety.

This month is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a U.S. campaign brought to life through a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, with the goal of reinforcing safety and security online. With this year’s theme, “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” we at Synamedia want to share how we empower teams to take accountability and own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace – and share how we’re doing so ourselves within our organization.

Cybercrime vs. Cybersecurity

A solid first step to #BeCyberSmart is knowing your security vocab and when to use which terms. It’s important to have a full understanding of the difference between cybercrime and cybersecurity and in our case, its direct impact on the media & entertainment industry.

  • Cybercrime covers any criminal activity that involves an internet-connected device or a network. Most cybercrimes are carried out to generate profit for the cybercriminals such as pirates, while others are carried out against devices directly to damage or disable them. Streaming piracy is a major cybercrime, especially as it has evolved into a fully industrialized marketplace parallel to the legal streaming landscape, costing content owners billions of dollars.
  • Cybersecurity is the protection of internet-connected devices and networks from theft or damage to their hardware, software, or electronic data. In our industry, cybersecurity includes our continued efforts to help video service providers and content owners protect their services and content from being stolen.

How serious are these problems?

The illegal streaming landscape is such a profitable industry that even the United States federal government is paying attention. In December 2020 as a part of the COVID-19 Relief Bill, they issued the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act, which classifies streaming piracy, a cybercrime, as a felony. This was a key step in the right direction as many viewers who access pirated content aren’t typically faced with negative consequences and continue to do so.

What are we doing to #BeCyberSmart – and what can YOU do?

 At Synamedia, our security experts certainly know a thing or two about how users can stay safe online. We equip content owners and video service providers with the tools they need to combat piracy. This toolset includes solutions that specifically target pirates engaged in stealing or abusing accounts for commercial purposes, who also compromise the privacy and identity of legitimate subscribers, and pose a legal risk to service providers.

Antipiracy efforts are no longer limited to broadcasters and content owners, but now involve collective efforts with law enforcement and technology companies like Synamedia to help shut down pirate operations. Most recently (and for the third year in a row), our experts joined the police operation against piracy coordinated by the Secretariat for Integrated Operations (SEOPI) of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security from Brazil, supported by ABTA. As a part of this effort, we supported a larger investigation team and served as a resource to help detect and disrupt pirate networks.

Free seems fine, but viewers pay the price in other ways

While our security experts work on a larger-scale to combat the illegitimate services directly – what are some of the ways we encourage viewers to do their part and #BeCyberSmart? We believe a key component for viewers to be cybersmart is that they need to be aware of, and avoid, pirated websites delivering stolen streams of content. Not only is it illegal but it opens up your personal cybersecurity posture to irreversible damage.

It’s no secret that when streaming free content from a pirated site, viewers run the risk of downloading malware that can compromise their device and attack their network. Signing up for an illegitimate service usually requires submitting personal data and credit card information, which has the potential for putting you at risk of identity theft.

Additionally, the use of illegitimate services undermines the exclusivity that providers pay for when they license channels for distribution. As illegal streaming services get better at building user experiences, these pirate services set unrealistic expectations for legitimate streaming catalogs. As this is happening, why should viewers care? With illegal streaming services undermining the legitimate services part of the media and entertainment industry, content owners are not seeing any return on investment when viewers pay for pirates. Even paying less for illegitimate services takes subscriber revenue away from the legitimate service – And it will likely get shut down, forcing the “inexpensive” content to not have a long shelf-life and eventually premium content will cease to exist

Stay informed!

It’s important for viewers to be aware of the implications of using illegitimate streaming services. At Synamedia, we’ve taken on the challenge of educating our industry on the scale of piracy and provide solutions that address the vulnerabilities that make it easy for pirates steal content and gain access to video services. Click here to learn how we’re doing our part and download our latest report on piracy with Ampere Analysis, which examines triggers for sports piracy.


About the Author

Sharon Farber is the Security Marketing Manager at Synamedia, and as such believes that good technology needs to be accompanied by simple words. A veteran in Cyber Security, Sharon has worked for several big software vendors including Computer Associates as well as small nimble start-ups. She has held a variety of positions, some more technical than others. Sharon holds a B.S degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Operations Research. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys swimming in the Mediterranean.