Securing content in the Media & Entertainment Industry

Category: News
Published: 10th July 2024

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Skyline view of Media City in Salford

The Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry is vast, digitally advanced, and diverse. It encompasses movie and TV production, distribution, newspapers, magazines, book and online publishers, streaming services, radio, music, video and audio recordings, video games, and more.

The most valuable asset for any M&E company is its content. Content in this industry is created, processed, and edited, across vast networks with many people needing access. With a large attack surface and high value assets, the M&E industry is one of the most targeted by cyber criminals.


Threat landscape

Threat actors constantly seek ways to infiltrate studios’ digital infrastructure to access files related to upcoming movies or TV shows. Stolen high-profile content can lead to lost revenue and reputational damage, potentially costing the M&E company millions.

To protect viewership and revenue, entertainment companies must safeguard their content from premature leaks. Pirated content distribution poses a significant threat to their bottom line and robust security is critical for protecting unreleased content.


Learning from Breaches

In September 2014, Sony Pictures suffered a breach in which significant amounts of data were stolen and malware was implanted in their systems. Over a month later, the hackers released the data which included salary information, email chains, and unreleased movies. The malware itself destroyed 70% of Sony’s laptops and computers. Sony were unfortunately hit again in 2023 when hackers leaked 1.6TB of stolen data from Insomniac Games.

The original breach is thought to have happened through spear phishing attacks, in which specific individuals and job titles had been targeted using legitimate looking emails with illegitimate hyperlinks embedded within them. This incident serves as a valuable lesson that providing staff with security awareness training and having strong email protection in place is vital.

Similarly, in 2017 hackers stole episodes of the new, unreleased season of the popular Netflix show ‘Orange is the New Black’. The episodes were stolen from a post-production house and served for ransom. Netflix did not pay the ransom and the episodes were subsequently released.

This attack demonstrated that securing your supply chain is just as important as securing your own infrastructure. Companies are only as secure as their most vulnerable link.


Effective Solutions

To protect their content, M&E companies should use comprehensive Network Monitoring and Network Forensic tools to monitor all activity on their network. These tools support quick and efficient reconstruction of a wide range of a range of network content so that specific alerts can be created for specific content.

Having technology with content-based alerts to detect if key resources leave the network is vital. For example, should an email containing a valuable script as an attachment be sent to an external recipient, an email alert would be generated, identifying the attempted theft. This alert should trigger a monitoring team who will determine the source of the theft and react accordingly.


Learn more about this case and our solutions at Red Helix.