21 September 2017 | Sergey Bludov
The Media & Entertainment Industry is Under Cyber Attack
"The mantra of any good security engineer is: 'Security is not a product, but a process.' It's more than designing strong cryptography into a system; it's designing the entire system such that all security measures, including cryptography, work together." - Bruce Schneier, Cryptographer, and Computer Security Expert
Cyber security. Although many businesses once viewed this as a buzz word that didn't require their full attention, our world's profound entrance into the digital era is now making it abundantly clear that cyber security can no longer be ignored in any sector. And unfortunately, the media and entertainment industry is now known to be particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Many experts agree that Hollywood is especially susceptible to cyber security threats due to the sheer number of people who are involved in every movie or television show that is produced. In addition to the core production team, studios typically hire a wide range of freelancers to write music scores, generate special effects, and complete many other tasks that are essential to the success of a film or TV show. While this may be an excellent artistic choice, the long chain of people creates a multitude of security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.
A severe Sony Pictures hack in 2014 definitely alerted the giants of the entertainment industry about the grave importance of taking cyber security seriously, after confidential information about employees was exploited, along with hackers using malware to erase Sony's computer infrastructure. However, the attacks on the Media & Entertainment industry have continued to increase since that time. Just last month, HBO was mired in an investigation of a cyber attack on its systems, after an unaired episode of the network's hit show, Game of Thrones, appeared online. And this incident came right on the heels of an April attack on Netflix, which resulted in 10 episodes of Orange Is The New Black being leaked on the internet, eventually discovered to be linked to a contractor on the show. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, with millions of accounts for internet radio service 8tracks being traded on the digital underground just a few months ago, and the list goes on and on.
Not long ago, Steam, one of the world’s largest online video game platforms, admitted that 77,000 of its gamer accounts are hacked every month. This revelation represented the first time that a major video game company acknowledged cyber crime.
If your company doesn't have a sophisticated cyber security infrastructure in place, the current - and particularly the future - reliance on digital mediums means that it's only a matter of time until a hacker gains access to your systems. And the repercussions can be extraordinary, from shows or movies being leaked before a studio has released them, to exposure of personal and financial information and ultimately the shutdown of your operations. The cost is often extraordinary, both financially and artistically, and it can be incredibly challenging to get back on track following a serious attack.
But wait, you don't have to assume that you'll experience a massive exploitation of your computer security, provided that you take the necessary steps to reduce the vulnerabilities in your systems and overall infrastructure. First and foremost, hire reputable experts to design and maintain all of your systems to reduce the possibility of attacks. Companies must monitor and mitigate vulnerabilities swiftly and comprehensively, while never cutting corners on encryption and proprietary communication channels. Additionally, it's essential to remember that employees often have very little understanding of the potential repercussions that can result from sharing information unwisely, which makes it necessary to educate them well to reduce the inadvertent exposure of data that will help hackers succeed.
Cybercrime is on the rise -- and no corporation or industry is immune to data breaches. It's time for us all to tighten our security belts and gear up for a bumpy ride.