Within two years, the live video streaming market is predicted to be worth $70.5 billion USD. Already, it’s a massive industry. However, growth has also come from security problems. In fact, security firms are measuring an increase in piracy, hacking, and other digital attacks every year. And the video industry isn’t exempt! Luckily, there are solutions—including AES video encryption.
This article will examine AES video encryption in detail. Here’s what we’ll cover:
Table of Contents
- What is AES Video Encryption?
- Who Needs AES?
- Benefits of AES Video Encryption
- Technical Overview of AES Development and Strength
- AES-256 vs. AES-128
- How to Make AES Part of Your Security Strategy
What is AES Video Encryption?
AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. Overall, TechTarget defines AES as “a symmetric block cipher chosen by the U.S. government to protect classified information and is implemented in software and hardware throughout the world to encrypt sensitive data.”
In video streaming, broadcasters can add AES video encryption that can be to a stream for security purposes. When the video is encrypted, a special key scrambles the video content. Unless the viewer has the correct access key, they can’t watch the video. Furthermore, if they try to intercept it, all they’ll see is a scrambled mess of useless data.
Of course, authorized viewers will access to AES-encrypted video via their web browser and a secure HTTPS connection.
All this happens in a way that’s transparent to the users. All they have to do is gain legitimate access to the video, by logging in or accessing the right website. The encryption process is invisible but provides a significant layer of protection against interception and piracy.
Who Needs AES Video Encryption?
Simply put, AES video encryption can be extremely valuable to anyone who needs to keep the video private. If you need to protect your valuable video content from being viewed – or stolen – by unauthorized people, AES is for you. For example, if you have private internal content or if you sell video courses online it is essential that your videos remain exclusive. In those cases, videos should remain for subscribers or your internal team only.
AES works in combination with password protection and signed keys to keep your videos as secure as possible.
For OTT and entertainment businesses, avoiding content piracy is essential to the business model. For educational institutions and eLearning businesses, the stakes are similarly high. AES encryption can also be highly valuable in corporate and government settings, where unauthorized data leaks can be a significant issue.
Basically, anyone who wants to keep their video content from being copied should consider AES video encryption. Piracy costs the U.S. economy more than $20 billion per year. The price tag internationally, however, is even bigger.
- OTT and entertainment
- Education and eLearning
Benefits of AES Video Encryption
AES video encryption prevents “Man-in-the-Middle” (MITM) style hacking attacks. In this type of attack, someone intercepts network traffic maliciously. They’re trying to steal sensitive data.
You may have heard that using public, non-secured WiFi networks can be dangerous. MITM attacks are the reason why. Just log in to your bank at the local Starbucks, and you might have exposed your financial details to a hacker.
In general, these types of attacks are relatively simple. Tools such as packet sniffers are widely available, and any teenager can download and get one running easily. More concerning, however, are the professional hackers. These individuals look to gather sensitive information, corporate details, and the latest popular video content to sell on the dark web. It’s a growing problem. For example, Akamai has found that credential theft for online video subscriptions is a major issue. Millions of accounts are compromised every year.
AES video encryption allows you to halt these types of attacks completely. Anyone snooping on your streams will be stymied by AES encryption. This provides protection against piracy, data theft, intellectual property appropriation, and more.
Technical Overview of AES Development and Strength
As computers have grown more powerful, data encryption technology has had to grow stronger as well. AES was originally released in 2002 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It was designed to be as secure as possible, be free, and be relatively easy for programmers to implement.
Since then, AES has proven itself to be a strong and reliable encryption method. It’s still widely used in banking, government, military, and business. AES is free, open-source, and built-in to the hardware and software of many devices. Any time you connect to a secure WiFi network or use a VOIP calling app, you’re using AES.
Whether it’s used in video or for anything else, AES works the same way. It uses the Rijndael algorithm and symmetrical block ciphers to encrypt the content. This is a complex process of mathematical substitution that repeats to turn content in a jumbled mash. Unless the proper key is applied, the data is completely worthless. For example, AES encryption may turn this very sentence into something like this: “aflkjsfasf12 324spoudsafa 23dsgmzxc qpoaqwe67 asdj2k39.”
However, it’s important to be aware that it is possible to bypass AES video encryption. Like most security measures, it won’t stop someone who has legitimate access to your content from duplicating it. Anyone can point a video camera at their screen and duplicate your content.
Therefore, AES should be just one part of your larger security strategy.
AES-256 vs. AES-128
Those with the proper encryption key can use it to reverse the encryption process and see the original unencrypted data. The AES standard uses key sizes of 128, 192, or 256 bits. This means that the key (the secret code that secures the content) is either 128, 192, or 256 characters in length.
In general, AES-128 should be plenty secure for most use-cases. If you’re sending particularly sensitive information, you can choose to use AES-256. The only drawback is that encoding and playing back this video will require more CPU resources from your viewers.
However, in 2015 the NSA stopped recommending the use of 128-bit keys for AES encryption and started recommending 256. Today, most professionals recommend 256-bit keys as a matter of course. Most modern hardware should have no trouble at all decoding video encrypted with a 256-bit key.
How to Make AES Part of Your Security Strategy
So how can you implement AES video encryption? This all might sound rather technical. But, if you’re using the right online video platform, implementing AES encryption is as simple as a single click.
By simply turning on this security feature, you can provide a significant layer of security for your content. And it’s all invisible to the user, and to you. There’s no programming required and nothing new to learn.
We hope that this blog has introduced to AES video encryption. We’ve reviewed what it is, how it works, and who might want to implement it. This security tool is truly one of the best methods broadcasters and businesses can use today to protect their video content.
At DaCast, we offer secure video upload, hosting and live streaming solutions for all businesses. If you are interested in AES security, we do offer it via our new advanced video hosting platform. This platform is available for DaCast Premium and Enterprise plans. Please feel free to contact us if you’re interested.
You can also enjoy our 30-day free trial and start streaming on a secure online video platform today!