Content Protection Summit: SHIFT CTO Offers Thoughts on Securing Productions, Screeners

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — Alex Nauda deals with content every day that’s “ripe for piracy” and what goes into protecting that content seems like a daunting endeavor.

“The challenge is to get eyeballs on it, but keep it safe,” the CTO of cloud-based media collaboration and digital asset management solutions provider SHIFT and Screeners.com said, speaking Dec. 5 at the at the annual Content Protection Summit (CPS), presented by the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA). “Usability vs. security. It’s classic.”

The ease of use associated with the internet (and with physical screeners proving again and again to be a liability) means it’s become the preferred method of sharing pre-release content. But that means a host of challenges protecting content.

“We have to share content on the open internet, where the pirates are kings and everyone gets hacked,” Nauda said, during his breakout presentation “Watchers on the Wall: How to Safely Share Content with Wildlings on a Multi-Tenant Platform.” A password-less system, visual and forensic watermarks, and “encryption everywhere we can figure to encrypt” are just the beginning, he said. Constantly keeping an eye out for various threats — including authorized users who accidentally leak content, attacks that compromise authorized users, attackers who breaks into the apps and infrastructure around sharing pre-release content, and the insider threats — are part of the job too.

Protecting the content and the platform is only half the battle: once pre-release content is made available to authorized users, SHIFT scrutinizes how it’s used, constantly monitoring for anomalous activity. If viewing of one piece of content is taking place in two different locations at the same time, red alarms go off, Nauda said.

“You have to be really vigilant,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Nauda and other experts took part in discussing the production side of security as well, debating the right protocols that protect content as its being created.

Lulu Zezza, co-chair of the CDSA Television Production Working Group, said one of the most difficult things to manage around securing a production today is that the perimeter is hard to lock down. “We used to be able to define that in the production space,” she said. “Part of the perimeter now is your phone. It’s a gateway.”

She added that there seems to be lots of resistance to the concept of a “least privileged” approach to what’s shared around a production, and who has access to elements of it … and there’s a reason why, according to Nauda: “It’s kind of expensive. It puts a lot of work on those who manage permissions,” he said.

Nauda agreed that one of the main challenges with locking down the production side is the ubiquity of mobile devices. Everyone is connected all the time, and keeping up is a challenge.

“Mobile devices have become a lot more sophisticated, and people constantly want more support, better support,” he said. “With biometrics, we’re still able to keep it secure and easy to use.”

The 2018 CDSA Content Protection Summit is presented by SafeStream, and sponsored by EdgeScan, Microsoft Azure, LiveTiles, Aspera, Amazon Web Services, Convergent Risks, Dolby, Illumio, NAGRA, EIDR, the Trusted Partner Network (TPN), Videocites, Human-i-t, Telesoft and Bob Gold and Associates and is produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) in association with CDSA, the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), Smart Content Council and Women in Technology Hollywood (WiTH).