AES Video Encryption – The Ultimate Guide to Streaming Video Security [2021 Update]
The live video streaming market is predicted to be worth $102.09 billion by 2023. The rise of this industry has coincided with the growth of the internet and the trend towards virtual event attendance, distance learning, remote work, and the development of video for marketing and sales.
The downside to the explosive growth of live streaming is that cybersecurity threats are also rising. Security firms are reporting an increase in a variety of different cybersecurity threats, such as:
- Digital attacks
The good news is that there are serval video security solutions you can implement to protect your content against cybersecurity threats, including AES video encryption.
In this post, we will examine AES video encryption in detail. We will discuss what video encryption is, who should use it, and how it works. We will wrap this post up with a few additional video security methods. Video encryption can help you protect your content against rising cybersecurity threats.
Table of Contents
- What is AES Video Encryption?
- Who Needs AES Video Encryption?
- Benefits of Encrypting Video Streams
- Technical Overview of AES Video Encryption
- AES-256 vs. AES-128
- How to Encrypt Video with AES
- Additional Cyber Security Measures
What is AES Video Encryption?
AES stands for “Advanced Encryption Standard.” TechTarget says that AES encryption is “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.”
They can’t access the video unless the viewer has the correct digital access key. Furthermore, if they try to intercept it, they’ll see a scrambled mess of useless data. Authorized viewers can access AES-encrypted video via their web browser and a secure HTTPS connection.
This entire process plays out in a way that’s transparent to the users. To gain video access, the user must log in or access the right website.
The encryption process may be invisible, but it provides a significant layer of protection against interception and piracy. AES video encryption works behind the scenes to ensure that video content is accessed in the right location by the right people who have access to it.
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, your videos must remain exclusive. In those cases, videos should remain for subscribers or your internal team only.
AES often works with other security measures to keep your videos as secure as possible. That way, you can keep private internal content private and retain the monetization value of your video content through AES video encryption.
Although anyone can use AES video stream encryption, here are a few types of businesses and industries that benefit from this security measure:
- Government organizations
- Enterprise businesses and SMBs
- OTT and entertainment companies
- Education and eLearning
- Live event streaming
For OTT streaming 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.
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. That’s why video encryption is valuable.
Benefits of Encrypting Video Streams
Numerous benefits come with encrypting your video streams. Being aware of these benefits makes it easy to choose to use AES video encryption on your content.
Benefit #1: Stop “Man-in-the-Middle” (MITM) Hacks
AES video encryption prevents “Man-in-the-Middle” (MITM) style hacking attacks. In this attack, someone intercepts network traffic to steal sensitive data.
You may have heard that using public, unsecured WiFi networks can be dangerous, and MITM attacks are why. For example, if you log in to your bank at the local Starbucks, 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 anyone with little technical knowledge 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 resell on the dark web. This is a growing problem and is why encrypted video streaming is rising.
Akamai, one of the top-tier content delivery networks that many streaming platforms partner with, has reported that credential theft for online video subscriptions is a major issue. Millions of accounts are compromised every year.
AES video encryption allows you to prevent these types of attacks completely. Anyone snooping on your streams will be halted by AES encryption. This protects you against piracy, data theft, intellectual property appropriation, and more. Video encryptors help to protect the integrity of your content.
Benefit #2: Hardware and Software Implementation
AES video encryption takes place at both the hardware and software levels.
Implementing at both the hardware and software level creates an extremely secure and robust security protocol that is hard for hackers to get through. It is slightly more complicated to implement with software, but it is more than possible.
Benefit #3: Longer Key Sizes
AES encryption uses longer encryption key sizes than other types of technology you can use to protect your content. The average key size is 128, 192, or 256 bits. Using higher key lengths and various key lengths helps make the AES algorithm more secure and robust.
This is just another way that AES encryption makes it harder for someone to hack through.
Benefit #4: Commonly Used
AES encryption isn’t just for video files. It is used for a wide variety of different use cases, including:
- Financial transactions
- Wireless communications
- Encrypted data storage
- E-business transactions
Benefit #5: Greater Control Over Who Access Your Content
One of the biggest benefits of encrypting your video content is that you have more control over who views your content. This can allow you to ensure that only those users you want access to your content have access.
This is important if you are trying to monetize your content. You need to keep the content secure if you want to succeed in making money from your content. Your content needs to be exclusive to get people to pay subscription fees, for example.
Technical Overview of AES Video Encryption: Development and Strength
As computers have grown more powerful, data encryption technology has been forced 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, free, and relatively easy for programmers to implement.
Since then, AES video encryption has proven itself to be a strong and reliable security 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. Anytime you connect to a secure WiFi network or use a VOIP calling app, you use AES without realizing it.
AES works the same way whether it’s used in video or for anything else. 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 into 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 “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, since 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
There are some variations within AES technology. The AES standard uses key sizes of 128, 192, or 256 bits. This means that the key (or the secret code that secures the content) is either 128, 192, or 256 characters in length.
Those with the proper encryption key can use it to reverse the encryption process and see the original unencrypted data.
In general, AES-128 video encryption 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 a little 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 Encrypt Video with AES
Implementing AES video encryption might sound rather technical, but if you’re using the right secure video streaming platform, implementing AES encryption is as simple as a single click of a button on your video dashboard.
By turning on this security feature, you can provide a significant layer of security for your content. It’s all invisible to both you and your viewers. There’s no programming required and nothing new to learn. You just have to enable video encryption on your content with your video streaming platform.
AES Encryption on Dacast
Dacast has recently reintroduced AES streaming for our users in the new iteration of our platform. Our encryption process is bulletproof because we use special servers to encrypt the data before it is even sent to the video player, in addition to encrypting the video player itself.
Enabling AES encryption on our platform is very straightforward. You can follow these steps to enable AES video encryption on new or existing VOD files on your Dacast account:
- Sign in to your Dacast dashboard
- Choose the video that you would like to add AES encryption for
- Click the “Security” tab on the top menu bar
- Scroll to the “Advanced Encryption Standard” (AES) section and toggle to the right to turn it on
- Click the purple “Save” button
From there, you’re good to go. Feel free to review the other security options on the page while enabling AES to ensure that your security settings are properly configured and aligned with your streaming goals.
Additional Streaming Cybersecurity Measures
In order to keep your video content safe against cybersecurity threats, we recommend doubling or tripling up on your lines of defense.
Aside from online video encryption, there are several other measures you can take to make your content more secure.
Some of the most popular video security tools include:
- Password protection: Add a “first line of defense” against unauthorized viewers by requiring a password to access your content
- Geo-restrictions: Restrict access based on viewers’ physical location
- Domain/referrer-restrictions: Restrict access based on the website that your player is embedded in (i.e. limit access to players embedded in your website only)
- Tokenized security: Limit access to viewers that have the specified digital credentials
Now that you’re familiar with AES video encryption and how it works, we hope that you consider using it as part of your video hosting security strategy.
Encrypted streaming is truly one of the best methods broadcasters and businesses can use today to protect their video content.
We invite you to try these and our other private video hosting tools risk-free for 14 days. Sign up today to start your trial. No credit card is required.