Hollywood at Risk Without Better Encryption


hollywood

The summer blockbuster season has begun with movies such as Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.’s Spider-Man: Homecoming set to launch. Summer is no longer re-run land for television with shows such as Home Box Office Inc.’s Game of Thrones beginning its next season soon. However, if the movie and television industries aren’t careful about their data security, hackers and other cybercriminals might pirate these prizes or try to hold them hostage. 

Hackers have a proven track record of going after major media outlets to steal unreleased copies of popular movies and television shows. Earlier this year, hackers stole unreleased copies of Netflix Inc.’s prison drama Orange is the New Black and demanded ransom in exchange for not releasing bootlegged copies.

Lax data security controls at third-party vendors, which have a major role in the entertainment industry, may be the weak link. The entertainment industry can have many different company partners with various levels of control over sensitive and high valuable content, John Ackerly, CEO and co-founder of data security company Virtru Corp in Washington, told Bloomberg BNA. Television shows and movies generally go through multiple layers of “third-party vendors and production companies” that each have varying levels of data security protections, he said. 

Third-party vendor data security is definitely hot topic. The Republican National Committee recently saw the impact of using third-party vendors with security apparently not up to par. The personal information of 198 million voters was compromised in a hacking breach of a data analytics company used by the RNC.

A lesson for all companies, even those not in the entertainment industry, is to adopt encryption controls that would secure the “data at the time of creation all the way through consumption and beyond,” Ackerly said. By having this system in place, original creators of content and companies would have an audit trail of their “highly sensitive data, such as movie scripts and the finished products,” he said. 

Beyond encryption protocols, companies should also employ watermarking procedures, limit printing capabilities, and limit access to more highly sensitive data, Ackerly said. Although a page or two of a script may be leaked from time to time, employing better data security protocols, encryption mechanisms, and audit procedures will go a long way in stopping hackers from stealing highly-valuable media content, he said. 

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