What is IPTV ?
IPTV (Internet Protocol television) is a service that provides television programming and other video content using the TCP/IP protocol as opposed to using traditional terrestrial, cable or satellite signals.
Is security the main priority when viewing streaming content?
Well this depends on who’s doing the sending, and who is principly receiving the content.
The providers of IPTV content have (generally-speaking) made concerted efforts to secure their content, however there are still many outstanding issues that need to be addressed, and certainly there is more scope for additional security in this area to be both improved and adopted.
Most end-users on-the-other-hand who receive IPTV streaming channels for example, are apparently not so concerned about this issue, and are more reliant on information posted around the internet to then make a judgement call as to whether they are secure or not, based on either their own personal knowledge/experience or indeed information that is passed from others. Naturally, they rely heavily on policy from the manufacturers and the software developers to also ensure security is put higher on the agenda, in preventing security vulnerabilities from occuring. Of course the providers of both hardware and software solutions, must bear equal responsibility on this issue.
Should I be worried about security?
In an age where the internet is becoming an integral part of our daily lives, there is a strong believe that security should be made a higher priority than it is at present.
IPTV in the early days was somewhat rudimentary, but all that has recently changed with the onset of improved streaming technology, and the increasing availability of new and inventive software solutions, and of course IPTV content itself.
The security aspect however has seemingly lagged behind, almost like the cart is being put before the horse (the horse being the hardware, and the cart is the software)
What do we mean by hardware & software ?
Well hardware is the physical apparatus which most of us should be familiar with, be it a smart tv, smart phone, tablet or even an IPTV box
Software is the programming code that drives the hardware. Like a driver in the car (car being the hardware, and the driver is the software)
What can be done improve IPTV security?
Companies like ours (and of course others), have decided to prioritise this issue, in making security more robust to meet the modern-day challenges of today. Where security breaches are becoming a more common occurrence, security is starting to be taken more seriously than ever before.
We have therefore developed our own secure platform, that we believe is the first step towards a more safer internet environment (especially for the end-user). Certainly, we would advise those particularly at the receiving end, to pay more attention to the security aspect of the service they are receiving, and to whom they are receiving the content from.
Is illegal IPTV streaming part of the problem?
Yes, in many cases. The research that was conducted by providers, NGO’s and other respectable institutions, concluded that security was less of a priority to criminals selling illegal IPTV services. Indeed, hardware and software studies over the past year which ranged from a variety of software applications, and hardware solutions being offered in the marketplace, indicated that security was severely inadequate to a point where security breaches of such platforms were common place and quite profound.
What else can be done to increase security?
Always buy hardware that has been thoroughly tested, and comes with a full guarantee from a reputable company. Also make sure their modern security policy is up to speed, and ensuring that any breaches that are found and identified will be quickly updated.
Software is aways a more difficult issue. Depending on the type of software being offered, will determine the priority of security. For example; resellers of illegal software, (which provide access to illegal streaming content) will make false promises that their software is secure, but in reality, (and in many cases) this has proved to be misleading.
In our own case study, we have examined that middleware platforms of non-official, or ‘cracked’ (not officially bought from the software developer) versions of the original. This means that they are not supported by the maker, and therefore any security vulnerabilities that exist, will not be updated. This put anyone using illegal streams from an un-bonified source at significant risk.
What do we mean by risk?
Well that depends of course on many factors. Lets first focus on what information can be retrieved from an insecure platform (be it hardware or software).
The case study we conducted a few years ago, revealed some surprising results. Most users which buy in particular illegal content, are not aware on how much information is retrieved by the middleware (the software that bridges the IPTV box (hardware) and the server supplying the content).
The Middleware (software bridge) first initialises an exchange to the hardware to first determine if the IPTV box is one they recognise in their system, if it does, then the initialisation will continue. This process extracts detailed information about the hardware, and the software that is driving the IPTV Box. In addition, other more sensitive information can be retrieved, like you exact location, your internet service provider (ISP), whether your using a proxy or virtual private network (VPN). In fact any type of information that is stored can be retrieved, building up a unique ID footprint of the user. In the event the supplier of the illegal content is found and apprehended, then of course the authorities have all the information already on the server database who is using the illegal system, and more importantly where the users are located.
The hardware we previously studied, were the most popular makes and brands which are predominately used for the illegal reception of IPTV content. Again, we found surprising results, which meant that any IT professional with a limited amount of knowledge, could easily breach the hardware, and extract all information stored.
Our general view on hardware, (especially from those manufacturing it for the sole purpose of receiving illegal content), did not adopt adequate security measures to prevent vulnerabilities from occurring, again putting the end-user a significant risk.
Can a server supplying illegal content be traced?
Yes, and those which have tried to adopt measures to hide themselves or indeed the servers can be traced back to the source, using sophisticated methods of interrogation.
How can an illegal server be traced?
There are tried and tested methods to probe any server. But there are special ways which can help the person/s making an enquiry that much easier.
Also note: criminals tend not to spend special attention to this issue, as they are more concerned about make money from the service they are offering, not spending it.
- If the middleware (software that used as a bridge) is insecure or vulnerable to attacks.
- If the hardware getting access to the server contains weaknesses to allow access to the server (either via the hardware itself or through the software loaded onto the IPTV box.
- The source server itself which stores the illegal content, has not implemented the latest security measures.
- If the hardware or software purchased comes from an unofficial source. This could include cloned IPTV boxes or crack/hacked copies of official software.
So what is the solution?
We always recommend that you obtain your IPTV content from an official source.
In addition, we advise that those which provide their own unique service, to ensure that their customers are totally secure. You can do this by testing out our solution.
This can be found on Googleplay or by visiting our website: https://www.iptvplay.com