The migration of media content from film and video to digital assets has radically altered the landscape for broadcasters. Multimedia content is now produced, stored and distributed in ways that did not exist previously. Whether it is a commercial, feature film, tv show or other product meant to be viewed on a screen, now it is all in the form of digital data.
Like any other intellectual property today, these digital assets are typically stored on the cloud. This enables many conveniences for broadcasters and content creators. Multimedia content can be available instantly for use anywhere there is an internet connection. Associated metadata makes it simple to search and find whatever clip you need in moments.
The digital transformation of multimedia content has also exposed broadcasters to a new kind of risk. Criminals now have the ability to attack content producers and distributors, and steal digital assets and other intellectual property. This threat has brought broadcast cybersecurity to the forefront as one of the most serious risks faced by today’s multimedia companies as they struggle to protect digital content and assets.
A number of broadcasters and media companies have been the victims of this kind of attack in recent years. In December 2019, hackers hijacked Spain’s Televisión Española and broadcasted anti-Spain content from Russia’s state-backed RT network. In May of 2019, Israeli viewers watching a livestream of the Eurovision song contest on the public broadcaster’s website were shown a forged threat of an incoming rocket attackmeant to destabilize the audience.
Most famously, in November 2014 a hacker group leaked a trove of confidential data from Sony Pictures including personal information, e-mails, copies of unreleased films and other information. The hackers also destroyed Sony's computer infrastructure and demanded that Sony withdraw its film The Interview. Sony was forced to cancel the film's premiere and mainstream release.
In fact, Michael McEwen, Director-General of the North American Broadcasters Association called broadcast cybersecurity “a pressing issue, a serious threat,” adding that broadcasters are now facing thousands of attempted hacks on their systems daily.
What many do not realize about cyber vulnerability is that the easiest way for a hacker to break into a network is through physical access. Some hackers use social engineering to trick security guards into providing access to server rooms or offices, where they can simply plug into the network. This gives them free range to install malware, steal information, harvest credentials or perform other bad acts. Other hackers look to steal a laptop or other device they can use to enable access.
Deploying robust physical security is a critical step in protecting multimedia assets and content. This requires a full security program that encompasses every potential entry point where a criminal could get access to your premises.
On-air personalities and other broadcast personnel often become celebrities to their audiences. As with other famous individuals, these broadcasters face some risk because of their status. Stalking can lead to physical threats and harm. Not only can this have tragic results, it can also expose the station or network to severe liability. For this reason, protecting personnel is another primary responsibility of physical security in the broadcast industry.
There are numerous security measures you can put into place to guard against cybercrime, workplace violence and other threats. Because physical keys are still so prevalent in most facilities, one of the best things you can do is to control and track the use of those keys.
Key management systems are designed to be tamper-proof so that only authorized users can access keys, using pre-programmed PIN codes, access cards or biometrics. On-board advanced technology automatically records all access activity.
A basic system typically consists of a key storage cabinet, a key locking mechanism and a tracking system. From this basic package, various options can be added to customize the solution and help protect your investment as needs grow and change. For networked installations, management software can also be included in the system. Permission levels can be established for each user and data can be monitored from any desktop connected to the network. Changes to an individual’s access authorization can be made instantly by program administrators. Additionally, the software can run activity reports, audit based on different criteria, and view and print reports.
Many broadcasters also have fleets of vehicles. One of the best ways to control and manage that fleet is to secure the keys. Key control and management systems automatically keep track of the keys in the system and are always up to date. They make it easy for management to understand the current status of their fleet with the visibility to know immediately what vehicles are available for use and where they and their keys are located. This makes tracking a vehicle very straightforward even if the vehicle has been returned to a different location from where it was taken. The system software will record the location and time so any authorized user looking for that vehicle can verify who took out keys and when. Armed with this information, managers can decide whether vehicles will need to be moved between locations for balancing or other purposes. Scheduling functions built into the key control software can also balance the use of specialized vehicles. This ensures that users who need a specific vehicle can be sure that it will be available for them.
For all the valuable content and assets broadcasters need to protect, key control is an important part of your overall security program.