Cybercrimes were predicted to inflict damages amounting to US$ 6 trillion in 2021. In that scenario, cybercrime would have become the third-largest economy in the world, just after US and China!! And the threat of cyber attacks looms over any type of online platform, including OTT platforms!
OTT platforms often involve subscriptions, and the subscription process involves interaction with payment gateways. In this process, the users often share sensitive information like credit card details, name, date of birth, etc. This information needs to be safeguarded from hackers and cybercriminals, as they keep trying to steal them. Any loss of data from your platform can cause significant harm to your users. In fact, it can tarnish your brand image forever!
That is why, it is important to understand the types of cyber-attacks that usually occur on an OTT Platform, as knowing the technical details will help you prevent them more efficiently. So, let’s begin!
Cyber Attacks – What it means for OTT Platforms
Before we jump into the types of cyber attacks and their technical details, let’s quickly discuss why attackers usually attack an OTT platform.
A cybercriminal usually attacks an OTT platform for
Stealing sensitive information of the users, including their email IDs, phone numbers, credit card details, etc.
Stealing and pirating the content available on the platform.
Disturbing some live events.
Disturbing the telecast of certain videos.
Release some malicious video content online through the attacked platform.
As we can see, the attackers usually steal useful user information, which they can later sell to brokers and firms and earn money. Or sometimes, they intentionally sabotage certain shows or release certain videos. Based on the motive of the attack, the attackers use different types of attacks on the OTT Platforms.
Types of Cyber Attacks
Based on the technicalities involved, cyber attacks can be of many types. Here, we will discuss the most common types of cyber attacks on OTT platforms.
Malware attacks are carried out using spyware, ransomware, and viruses. It is one of the most widespread cyber attacks across the world. Especially when it comes to OTT platforms, these attacks are somewhat easier to carry out, as some of your users might get easily lured through false emails which ask them to click on certain links and as soon as they click on them, the malware gets downloaded in their system, and can then accuse serious cyber threats.
Malware Attack Stats
Till around 2019, the world saw around 8.5 to 9 billion malware attacks (on average) every year. But, from 2020 onwards, this number has seen a dip. In 2020, there were around 5.6 billion malware attacks, and in 2021, the world saw around 5.4 billion malware attacks. Also, this number is expected to be in the same range in 2022 too!
What is Malware Attack Technically
Technically, malware attacks involve installing malicious software (called malware) into the user’s system that can then carry out multiple malicious activities on and from that system. It is like losing control of your system to someone else.
Based on the activities it performs, malware can be of the types:
Ransomware: Ransomware blocks access to key components of your system, and then asks for ransom for accessing them.
Spyware: This software swiftly transfers information and data from your hard drive to another location chosen by the attacker.
Viruses: Corrupts the system and makes it inoperable.
How to Prevent Malware Attacks
You can prevent a Malware Attack by keeping the following points in mind:
Never ever click on any malicious links or download any software from such links.
You must install powerful antivirus software in your system that can protect you from any type of malware.
In phishing, the attackers send malicious emails and communications to your users, as if they are sent from your side. For example, they might send an email with your brand logo, telling them that their subscription has been canceled due to a failed credit card transaction and that they need to provide their credit card information in reply to the mail.
In 99% of the cases, phishing is carried out to steal such sensitive financial information. The attackers then withdraw huge amounts of money from the linked account of your users, using the details provided to them.
Phishing Attack Stats
Statistics say that around 15 billion spam emails are sent and received every day. Also, in 2021, around 83% of organizations across the world faced phishing attempts. Experts predict that the number of phishing attacks will surpass 6 billion in 2022.
The Technical Aspects of a Phishing Attack
Phishing attacks, though seeming to be simple, are technically quite complex in reality. This is because nowadays people have become aware of the type of emails or messages that might be malicious. That is why attackers nowadays create exactly identical email IDs and email templates as used by the original company.
Also, it is seen that many times, the attackers send the emails at a specific time when people would usually expect those emails. The content of these emails creates a sense of urgency among their readers and compels them to share the asked information. To protect yourself, you can use tools like an SPF checker to verify the authenticity of incoming emails and reduce the risk of such attacks.
Usually, attackers steal the information using:
Malicious Web Links
Fraudulent Data-Entry Forms
How To Prevent A Phishing Attack
Awareness is the best tool for preventing Phishing Attacks! On the behalf of your brand, you must send precautionary messages to your consumers on a regular basis, informing them that you will never ask them to share any of their personal or financial details.
As you might have already guessed by its name, in Password Stealing, or Password Attack, the attacker tries to crack the password of your system or platform so that they can log in and use it for their purpose.
The Technical Nitty-Gritties of Password Attack
Password attacks are usually carried out by experienced cyber criminals, who use many advanced-level coding algorithms to crack your password. Also, they use tools like Aircrack, Cain, John the Ripper, Hash at, etc. which help them to guess the right password in a short time.
Password attacks can be of many types, depending on the technique used in them. Some common password attacks are
Brute Force Attack: The attacker submits multiple passwords in a hit-and-trial method, hoping to get it right.
Dictionary Attack: The attacker enters the words present in the dictionary as a password into the system.
Keylogger Attack: In a keylogger attack, the attacker retrieves the keys typed by the user, either using tools like a keystroke or using physical methods on the keyboard. They then use the letters typed by the user to crack the password.
How to Prevent Password Attacks
Ensure stronger passwords with multiple proper mix of alphabets, numbers, and special characters.
Make sure that your password is not guessable. Avoid adding common and known information like your name and surname into the password.
Make sure to use different passwords for different platforms.
In a Man-In-The-Middle attack, the attacker takes part in a conversation between a user and a platform. The attacker can either impersonate himself as a user or sometimes, can even carry out the conversation as executive staff of the OTT platform. In this way, the attacker gets access to sensitive information without raising any suspicion in the mind of the users.
According to some experts, around 35% of the total cyber attacks comprise Man-in-the-middle attack techniques.
Technical Details of MITM
A Man-in-the-middle attack usually comprises any one of the following techniques:
IP Spoofing: The cybercriminal alters the IP of their website and device, and because of this, the users cannot recognize the attacker and think that they are chatting with the original company.
DNS Spoofing: The attackers create and operate a website that has a domain name similar to the website used by the users.
HTTPS Spoofing: The HTTPS website entered by the users gets silently redirected to an HTTP website created by the attacker, from which the attacker can steal all the user data.
Wi-Fi Eavesdropping: The attackers create public wi-fi networks, which can be used by your users to stream videos from your OTT platform. The attackers intercept all the data of the users in this process.
Browser Cookie Theft: The attacker steals the information stored on your browser, like cookies and saved passwords.
How to Prevent MITM attack?
For your internal security, ask your employees, especially customer support executives, to always connect through a VPN.
Create awareness amongst your users about avoiding public and unsecured wi-fi networks.
SQL Injection Attack
SQL injection attack is a powerful cyber attack that allows the attacker to hide their identities and tamper with the existing data on a platform. They can even steal or destroy the data if they want.
SQL Injection Attack Stats
In 2021, SQL injection was the third most serious cyber threat across the world. A study found approximately 274,000 occurrences of SQL injection in the year 2021.
What is SQL Injection Technically?
In an SQL injection attack, a SQL query is injected via input data into the target platform. Now, this injected SQL interacts with the original database of your platform, reads the information stored in your database, and modifies it. In some cases, it can execute operations and even shut down your database completely.
How to Prevent SQL Injection?
There is only one way to prevent SQL Injection attacks. If you treat all user inputs as untrusted and employ verification mechanisms for verifying the user inputs before accepting them, only then you can prevent SQL injection attacks. However, regular scanning can also help prevent any major data breaches.
Denial Of Services Attack
As the name suggests, in Denial-of-Services or DoS attacks, your users cannot access your platform anymore, as the attackers shut down the services rendered by your platform. When this attack is carried out using multiple attacking systems, it is known as a Distributed Denial-of-Services attack or DDoS.
DoS Attack Stats
In 2022, the number of DoS became more than double what it was in 2021. Also, the number of ransom DDoS attacks rose by 67%. Even the application layer DDoS attacks saw a 3005 increase on year on year basis by the third quarter of 2022.
Technical Aspects of DoS Attacks
Most of the DoS attacks are conducted by either flooding the server-side traffic gates, so that the server crashes automatically, or by intentionally sending information that triggers the application crash. Hence, genuine platform users fail to access your platform.
Now, there are three modes of flooding the traffic gates:
Buffer overflow attacks are the most common means of DoS attacks in which the attackers send more traffic to your platform than your server can handle.
Sometimes, the attackers use misconfigured network devices to send spoofed packets that ping all the computers associated with the targeted network. This is called ICMP flood.
In the third type, the attacker intentionally keeps the server busy, by sending a connection request to all the open ports of a network but never completing the handshake.
How to Prevent DoS Attack?
By using a multi-CDN network, you can easily prevent any DoS and DDoS attacks attempt. The buffer servers present in the content delivery network will never let the pseudo traffic generated by the attacker reach your original server. Hence, your real server will never crash.
But for those who do not use a multi-CDN network, preventing a DoS attack can become extremely difficult!
In cryptojacking, the attacker uses your platform and system resources for mining cryptocurrency. That is why cryptojacking is also referred to as a malicious crypto-mining attack.
Cryptojacking has seen a massive rise in the past few years. In 2021, Google reported that 86% of its observed cloud platform compromises were due to cryptojacking. Also, in 202, Cisco reported that 69% of its customers had suffered the menace of crypto mining malware.
How is Cryptojacking Performed?
Cryptojacking is usually carried out through malware. The specialized malware, called crypto mining malware, gets embedded directly into your website and stays there without displaying any effect. Then, when your users visit your website, the malware gets access to the web browser of your users, and from there, it can invade the system.
How to Prevent Cryptojacking?
Train your IT team so that they can detect the crypto-mining malware embedded with your website, and negate its impact.
How You Can Prevent The Cyber Attacks On Your OTT Platform Using Muvi One
Muvi One provides you with strict server-side security, PCI compliance, geo-blocking and VPN detection, ISO certification, GDPR compliance, and FISMA compliance. In addition, our built-in multi-DRM architecture offers protection against screen recording along with offline streaming protection, secured content storage, visible as well as forensic watermarking too! Our built-in AWS multi-CDN architecture helps you prevent any type of DoS and DDoS attack. Hence, with Muvi One, you get everything built-in, out-of-the-box.
Some of our core USPs have been discussed below:
Geo-Blocking: Using Geo-Blocking, you can block access to your content for users of a specific geographical location. It helps you avoid unwanted viewers on your platform.
Dynamic Watermarking: Dynamic watermarking makes copying your content extremely difficult, as the moving watermark cannot be easily erased.
Multi-DRM Protection: Multi-DRM ensures that only your genuine users can access your content.
Like any other web-based service, OTT platforms are also vulnerable to cyber-attacks. But, if you use a well-built OTT platform like Muvi One, you can easily negate most of the threats. Along with a secured video hosting and streaming environment, you also get an extremely easy-to-use content management system and detailed analytics for keeping track of your content’s performance. Sign up to start your 14-day free trial today!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I protect myself from a cyber attack?
Ans. You can protect yourself from cyber attacks by following the steps given below:
Always keep strong passwords.
Never use the same password for multiple platforms.
Instal powerful antivirus software that can identify the malware.
Never click on links given in suspicious emails.
Always use a secured wifi network.
2. What are the top five types of cyber attacks that can target OTT platforms?
Ans. The OTT Platforms are usually susceptible to the following types of cyber attacks:
3. How can I protect my OTT platform (try to use some case study if possible)
Ans. You can take the following steps to protect your platform from cyber attacks:
Train your employees to keep scanning for injected SQLs, MITM, DoS, Cryptojacking, or other types of cyber threats.
Spread awareness campaigns to educate your users not to click on any malicious link sent with the intention of phishing.
Back up your data regularly, to negate the impacts of ransomware attacks
Make sure that all the sensitive information on your platform can be accessed only by authorized users.
Ans. Cyber attacks on OTT platforms usually happen mainly for the following reasons:
For stealing the sensitive information of the users, including their email IDs, phone numbers, credit card details, etc.
Steal the content available on your platform.
Either release some malicious video content or stop the telecast of certain events through the attacked platform.
5. What are the 4 types of DoS attacks?
Ans. The most common types of DoS attacks are
6. Which tools can be used for hacking passwords?
Ans. The hackers usually use one of the following tools for hacking passwords of OTT platforms:
Brutus Password Cracker.
7. How to prevent phishing attacks?
Ans. Phishing attacks can be prevented by following the steps given below:
Spread awareness among your customers about malicious emails.
On the behalf of your brand, you can send precautionary text messages to your consumers on a regular basis, informing them that you will never ask them to share any of their personal or financial details.
8. How long do DoS attacks last?
Ans. DoS attacks can last from a few hours to even a few days. It usually depends on how soon you identify the cause of the attack and work to release the server from the control of attackers.
9. Can we trace the source of DoS attacks?
Ans. For identifying the cause and tracing the source of DoS attacks, you will have to study your system architecture very minutely, and identify the servers which are denying the services. Once you succeed in it, you will have to work on identifying the bonnets that are blocking these servers.
10. What are the five ways of doing SQL injection?
Ans. The five ways of doing SQL injection are
Boolean Inferential (Blind) SQLi
Time-based Inferential (Blind) SQLi
11. Which tool is best for accessing SQL injection vulnerability?
Ans. Tools like Acunetix can be used for accessing SQL injection vulnerabilities.
Written by: Debarpita Banerjee
Debarpita is a Content Writer with Muvi. With around 2 years of experience in content creation, she has worked across industries like SaaS, EdTech, eLearning, AR-VR, and Metaverse. She believes in delivering content that can be of some value to the readers. In her free time, she likes to try her hand at website and app development.