Research: SVoDs targeted for credential fraud

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According to research from Akamai, the intelligent edge platform for securing and delivering digital experiences, three of the largest credential stuffing attacks against streaming services in 2018, ranging in size from 133 million to 200 million attempts, took place shortly after reported data breaches, indicating hackers were likely testing stolen credentials before selling them.

The findings in the State of the Internet / Security: Credential Stuffing: Attacks and Economies – Special Media Report detail wide-ranging credential abuse attacks against online video and music streaming services.

Security of streaming properties is top of mind at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas this week, where Akamai’s Director of Security Technology and Strategy Patrick Sullivan unveiled the new research during an NAB Cybersecurity & Content Protection Summit presentation.

The attack method studied is commonly referred to as ‘credential stuffing’, in which nefarious actors tap automated tools to use stolen login information to attempt to gain access to user accounts on other online sites, on the assumption that consumers use the same login and password for multiple services. “Hackers are very attracted to the high profile and value of online streaming services,” noted Sullivan.

Stolen credentials can be used for a host of illicit purposes, not the least of which is enabling non-subscribers to view content via pirated streaming accounts. Compromised accounts are also sold, traded or harvested for various types of personal information, and they are often available for purchase in bulk on the Dark Web, according to Akamai researchers.

“Educating subscribers on the importance of using unique username and password combinations is one of the most effective measures businesses can take to mitigate credential abuse,” advised Sullivan. “The good news is that organisations are taking the threat seriously and investigating security defences, as evidenced by the discussions at NAB. Akamai offers its research and best practices to help these organisations who are facing significant brand and financial harm.”

The report spotlights how Akamai researchers discovered easily accessible online video tutorials that provide step-by-step instructions for executing credential stuffing attacks, including using All-in-One applications to validate stolen or generated credentials. The report lists the US as the top country of origin for the attacks, followed by Russia and Canada. The US is also the top target, followed by India and Canada. Previous Akamai research noted that media, gaming and entertainment companies saw 11.6 billion attacks between May and December 2018.


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