Online video is a powerful technology that everything from businesses to educational institutions to the government itself is increasingly using. According to the latest live video streaming trends report, the star of online video and streaming is definitely rising. Streaming is now available on any device, at any time. Experts such as Cisco research estimate that video will make up a full 76% of web traffic by 2020.
In this growth climate, a secure online video platform is essential to take advantage of this technology safely. Why? With rising usage comes increased security risks. In recent years, security firms are registering an increase in piracy, hacking, and other digital attacks. Piracy alone costs the U.S. economy more than $29.2 billion per year. The costs of cybercrime could reach $6 trillion by the year 2021.
In light of these trends, this article describes the main security features you’ll want to consider when selecting a secure online video platform (OVP). These features should give you the security you need to deliver both live stream and on-demand video content.
Let’s jump right into our list of secure streaming solutions through your dedicated OVP!
Features of a secure online video platform
There are many security options available for live video streaming and on-demand video. Below is a sampling of Dacast’s counter-measures, to give you a sense of the protection methods that a secure online video platform provides. Any reasonably secure host should implement most or all of the following methods, which include:
One of the most basic forms of security for your videos is password protection. This option enables you to set a password blocking your video content before anyone can view it. As long as you can ensure the privacy of your password, your stream will be secure. This method can be essential for use within a small business or organization, or to pass around a video privately before publicly sharing.
Geographic and domain restrictions
There are also two types of restrictions you can use to protect your online video. The first is a domain restriction. As the name implies, this setting restricts the domains on which your stream is playable. When setting up this feature, you type in the websites on which you’ll allow your videos to play. Once up and running, embedding your video on any other website will fail. Anyone attempting to steal your embed code will be stymied, providing an additional layer of protection.
The second type of restriction is geographic restriction. This method uses IP addresses to whitelist certain countries. Similarly to the above method, you select which countries can view your videos. Users living outside these countries will not be able to watch. This method is highly accurate and provides an additional layer of security.
“Paywall” payment security
If you are monetizing your online videos and live streams, payment security is critical. Dacast uses an in-player payment system. This method is fully HTTPS and uses bank-grade SSL encryption to protect payment information again malicious actors. Without strong payment security measures, you may lose many customers due to mixed-content warnings. In the worst-case scenario, you could get bad press or even legal action for failing to protect customer information.
Dacast also prevents the sharing of login information to bypass the paywall. Users who have purchased access to videos or live video streams are only authorized to be logged in on one device at a time. When another login is detected via another device, the original stream will shut down.
Dynamic token security system
One advanced method that Dacast uses to ensure video security is tokenized video delivery. When you embed your video on any site or share it in any location, this precaution activates. Every two minutes, the Dacast video player calls the server for a new token. This ensures that domain restrictions, geographic restrictions, and other security measures are constantly checked and cross-checked. If the wrong tokens or no tokens are present, the video playback will immediately fail.
This process is completely transparent to the user, yet it provides a hard-to-bypass additional layer of security for your content.
Our streaming solution, specifically, is protected by both automated and human-managed security scans, tests, and checks. For example, video content storage requires SSH public-key authentication. Security managers review the integrity and access to this system daily.
HTTPS video delivery
HTTPS is an encrypted web communication standard often used by banks (and other industries) when data needs to be kept private.
This protocol provides security in three ways. First, it prevents tampering in transit. Encrypted data cannot be changed while moving through the internet without destroying the data completely. Second, HTTPS provides authentication. You can usually be sure that data sent via HTTPS connections truly came from where you think it did. Finally, in conjunction with the HLS streaming protocol, HTTPS provides protection from eavesdropping. Implemented correctly, no one but the intended recipient should be able to access the data being transmitted.
AES video encryption
AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. 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.
At the same time, authorized viewers have access to AES-encrypted video via their web browser and a secure HTTPS connection. The encryption process is invisible but provides a significant layer of protection against interception and piracy.
Exceptions to secure streaming
Secure online video platform technology is still relatively new, and as such there are a few incompatibilities. For example, Dacast supports broadcasting to mobile apps and set-top boxes such as Roku TV.
If you want to reach these platforms, however, you’ll have to disable HTTPS delivery. You can do this by generating an HLS M3U8 media playlist file; this feature allows you to quickly link your stream to set-top boxes.
What needs protecting?
With these security features in mind, you may be wondering how this all applies to you when you broadcast your own online video. Generally speaking, different types of video users have different privacy needs. However, many organizations can benefit from encrypted HTTPS video delivery. Here is a short (though non-exhaustive) list of those who may especially benefit from a secure online video platform.
Medical and educational institutions
In the U.S. and most other countries, strong medical laws (e.g., HIPAA) ensure the protection of patient records. Anytime that confidential information transmits over the internet, it requires a secure video upload and delivery system. Educational institutions also deal with confidential student data and should ensure that video communications are encrypted.
Those in the legal field are often working with sensitive client information. While attorney-client privilege is supposedly inviolable, it’s best to ensure the secure delivery of videos. Security mistakes in this field can cause major problems for clients.
Corporations and businesses
Anytime you are communicating sensitive information about your finances or market positioning, you want to be careful. Leaks of this type of data can cause serious difficulties and even aid competitors. Even seemingly innocuous data, such as training videos, could cause embarrassment or problems if made public.
While transparency is important in government, there are cases where communications and content must be secure. Using some method of encryption, such as HTTPS delivery, is essential in this situation.
Intellectual property and piracy
Musicians, software providers, artists, and other creatives should always consider the danger of intellectual property theft. When you stream your own video of concerts or films, you should always be aware of potential security or privacy risks.
As this article reveals, customization options for a secure HTML5 online video player are more complex than ever before. In a world with rapidly evolving threats and attack vectors, however, they need to be complex; that way, you can pick and choose the best features and protocols for your situation and needs. Thankfully, when you use a professional grade secure online video platform, like our video streaming platform, you can depend on the security tools provided to protect your content.
I hope that this essay has offered you a useful overview of several crucial security measures that Dacast offers. If you’re a Dacast client with special concerns about privacy and security, feel free to contact our support team directly to discuss your needs. We’re here to help! For regular tips on live streaming, as well as exclusive offers, you can join our LinkedIn group.
Not yet streaming with Dacast, and ready to give our secure online video platform a try? Just click the button below to sign up for 30 days of free streaming (no credit card required). You can set up an account and start streaming live in a matter of minutes!
Thanks for reading, and, as always, good luck with your live streams.
By Max Wilbert.