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Audiovisual Fraud: stolen accounts, IPTV apps, IPTV Hack and pirate platforms

stolen accounts, IPTV apps, IPTV Hack and pirate platforms

After a long workday, you arrive home. You sit in front of the television with a glass of wine to watch an episode from a show that will help you unwind and relax. When you log into your account at a popular streaming platform, you are told you have exceeded the number of users. Why can you have only one device connected when you can access four? You are probably a victim of one of the most common audiovisual scamsstealing a streaming portal account.

This hypothetical scenario allows us to shed some light on the greatest challenges faced by companies involved in the production, distribution, and broadcasting of audiovisual content and the Cyber Intelligence Services responsible for detecting, studying, and combating criminals and audiovisual scams.

The audiovisual frauds of recent years, like pirate streaming portals or illegal IPTV services, exist alongside long-standing methods, such as those used by satellites, decoders, and other devices.

This is an overview of audiovisual Fraud, which poses the biggest challenges for companies in this sector. It also includes advanced cyberintelligence services to reduce the impact.

Audiovisual Fraud has been around for a while but is rising.

Audiovisual Fraud is a long-standing phenomenon that has evolved over the years. Since the days of pirated decoders allowing bars and homes to watch soccer matches on satellite pay TV, many things have changed.

The players behind audiovisual scams now have a wealth of resources, including an ambitious infrastructure to support their operations.

To reach this point, criminal practices and procedures have evolved over the years, as has the response to countermeasures that cybersecurity teams have implemented to prevent and investigate this phenomenon.

Content targeted by fraudulent viewing has changed as well. Even though there are still many criminal activities during major sporting events such as the World Cup, it’s not just soccer that attracts users. The law of (huge) supply and demand (insatiable) has brought everything into the spotlight, from popular series and major productions to exclusive premieres or even the most recent seasons of reality shows. The rise of streaming services has led to an exponential increase in content.

As society and technology have evolved, criminal practices have adapted to market conditions, user preferences, and countermeasures implemented by audiovisual companies.

Although the methods and techniques used have changed, the criminals’ goal is still the same as it was a few years ago when they hacked into satellite decoders – to violate the legitimate rights of businesses by doing business illegally.

Over time, they coexist an objective well-known to all – doing business illegally – changing techniques and processes that require a more agile and adaptable response and a loss of profits for companies who suffer.

Satellite and cable TV are giving way to new technologies, such as Internet Protocol TV or streaming platforms. In 2011, Netflix had 21 million users worldwide. Ten years later, in 2021, the figure had two added: 221 million worldwide.

This extraordinary growth, however, has slowed down for the first decade. In recent quarters, the company recorded its first subscriber loss.

Elena Neira, a consultant and professor at a university, popularized the term Streaming Wars. She played on a Disney saga to explain how platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, or Disney + are gaining market share.

The Streaming Wars are not just about the fight between the legal players. They also have a secret face, hidden like the moon: the proliferation among players who provide audiovisual content. People who abuse technology to compete with legitimate companies while violating their rights.

IPTV Hack and account theft: the perfect heist

Heists are an audiovisual subgenre that has fascinated audiences for over a century. Anyone who has watched a few heist films knows that the best ones are the ones that take a long time for the perpetrator to discover. This is the idea behind one of the most popular audiovisual scams: credential iptv hack or Fraud. What is it?

Hackers hack into streaming platforms and steal accounts. They often take advantage of this, as multiple people share these accounts. They do this in such a manner that, very rarely, they all access the portal simultaneously. This means that legitimate users only have some of the privileges they deserve. Credentials are then stolen and sold to people who did not know they had contracted services.

This type of iptv hack or Fraud may seem minor or even unprofitable in terms of numbers, but this is far from the truth. These groups and actors are so structured that they can instantly change passwords and accounts, extend services, or provide technical support.

In many cases, they offer technical assistance services and boast in their advertising that they are superior to the services provided by legitimate platforms.

IPTV lists and applications: A new (dangerous star) is born

IPTV is a technology that allows audiovisual companies to transmit television channels via the Internet using a private network. Bandwidth is set aside for the transmission of the content. Once the signal has reached the router, it must be decoded to view the channels we have subscribed to.

This illegal aspect has been the star service for fraudulent broadcasting and IPTV lists.

These lists include multiple channels which can be streamed. It is a copy of the content provided by a link. To view the video, you only need a VLC player.

Criminal organizations also developed applications in major stores, such as the Apple Store or Play Store, allowing users to create accounts or access IPTV lists.

Through audiovisual Fraud, illegal providers can combine several services. By purchasing a single package, users can access sports content like Formula 1 or Champions League matches and all other products and services distributed by different companies.

These illegal services are incomparable from an economic perspective. Audiovisual content can be obtained for as little as 40 or 50 Euros a year while contracting with the operators legally would cost several hundred Euros a month.

Pirate streaming platforms: invasion of the body-snatchers

In the classic B-movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, aliens invaded human bodies. The people kept their usual appearance, but the inside was different.

This is what happens when pirate streaming platforms are used. These portals use the same technology as companies like Netflix or Filmin, broadcasting fake content via streaming.

These online platforms sell illegal content for which they do not have any rights. The user can subscribe to Prime Video and HBO Max from portals that the company does not authorize to sell.

This Fraud can be even more sophisticated. Consumers are affected by the design of these platforms to appear wholly legal and to count on traditional communication channels.

The end user who pays for the service may need to be aware that the audiovisual material he consumes is fake. This is a testament to these platforms’ complete lack of malice.

Decoders: Classics never die

Despite technological advancements that have made it possible to create and consolidate less expensive audiovisual Fraud, organizations still offer audiovisual content via card sharing (IKS) or Internet key sharing. These technologies rely on an old friend of fraudsters: the set-top boxes.

6.1. Cardsharing

This Fraud requires advanced knowledge about how satellite connections operate. This Fraud involves extracting the content of a legitimate service and simulating it. Then, it is sent to customers using a satellite signal.

The criminals give the decoder codes to the user, allowing him to connect and view the signal. The signal contains image and sound data and the password for decrypting the content, making this possible.

6.2. IKS

IKS is replacing the decoder’s firmware with another one that was illegally provided. This allows the user to access the desired content.

Cardsharing has a more significant impact and suffers less signal loss, partly because criminals can replicate and broadcast the content more effectively. They have an enormous deployment of decoders, user cards, and TV channels to broadcast football, TV series, etc…

The deployment of this technology is the key to understanding why audiovisual Fraud is still carried out with card sharing and IKS. The criminals are trying to protect a significant investment. Users also want a return for the money spent on the decoder. This is why users new to the illegality world don’t choose these methods but instead opt for other ways, such as IPTV lists and buying and selling stolen credentials.

Despite the obvious economic concerns, many actors continue to use these methods to pursue their interests in technology. They have turned a fraud activity that brought them ample profits into an enjoyable hobby.

This type of Fraud can be difficult to combat, as cyber-intelligence professionals need a detailed technical understanding of how the satellite connection works and all the devices and protocols involved. No technician can handle this kind of work.

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