We would all agree that the one thing that could replace the normal television broadcasting is OTT. The popularity of OTT has suddenly risen with the onset of the internet revolution. OTT brought the best of global content and served it in the most organised and tasteful manner to its audiences. No more catching up of shows as per the broadcasting time, with OTT you can watch anything anytime and from anywhere. But with the explosion of the OTT platform, the interest of the online hackers towards the OTT platforms have also been a serious subject of concern.
The OTT phishing instances had suddenly seen a huge spike from the last quarter of 2018 and, in 2019, the numbers just kept multiplying. Hackers know that the OTT platforms are paid platforms and, if the user is visiting the site, then it is to make a purchase. There are various tricks the hackers adapt to hack your accounts. Let’s look at the top three most used tricks.
- Phishing Campaigns
OTT platforms like Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime are the hackers’ favourite destination where they love to host phishing attacks. They send emails to the users with the exact brand identity, through these emails they lure the customers to take an action. For instance, an email stating ‘Unlock one-month free subscription of your Netflix account by clicking on this link’. Here, the moment you click on the link and enter your credentials and your banking details, your account is hacked. Hackers mostly spoof the account creation and payment pages to make the entire session look real.
- Telecom packages
A lot of telephone and internet data service providers introduce bundle offers where on a plan, you get access to OTT platforms free. In every OTT platform, there is an option to purchase your subscription through a partner. Here, partner mostly stands for the telecom operators who have partnered with the platform. The hackers usually hack these partner payment pages, so once the customer clicks on the partner, he is taken to the spoofed partner brand page, where the real transaction happens. While the customer thinks that he has paid the provider, in reality, it is a fake page created by the hacker and, the money goes to the hackers’ account. Usually, these amounts are so small, that we do not care to raise a complaint, and that’s how hackers earn millions.
- Smart TV’s at Hotels and Guesthouses
Today is the era of smart TV, where the OTT platforms are already integrated into the TV sets. In hotels, if you have a subscription of an OTT platform, you usually log in with your credentials, the problem is not in logging in, the real problem arises when you forget to disconnect your account before leaving the hotel. By forgetting to logout, we create a brilliant opportunity for the hackers to access our email id’s and phone number, without making any effort.
Now that we know the possible ways, a hacker plans his attack on the OTT platform, let’s look at some of the best practices that can help you secure your OTT journey.
- Create Strong Passwords
As a user, you need to understand the risk of credential stuffing attacks on OTT. We often neglect the security aspect when it comes to using platforms like Netflix or Hotstar, but we must understand that every platform that has payments attached to it, is attractive to the fraudster. So, create unique passwords that are difficult to guess or identify. This is the most basic online habit we must create, which accessing any platform.
- Get a VPN
If you are a traveller and you use public wifi’s in hotels and other public places to watch OTT, then you must get a VPN. VPN or Virtual Private Network provides encryption to your browsing history and thus, keep it safe from the dangerous third eye. However, you need to select the right VPN provider that specialises in the OTT platform of your choice. For example, if you are in Thailand and want to watch the Indian programmes on Disney Hotstar, then you need a VPN that allows unrestricted and safe Hotstar streaming. VPN is the most effective tool through which you can secure your online activity.
The Bottom Line:
In conclusion, we just want to let you know that in case your OTT account gets hacked, then firstly you must immediately inform the OTT provider, next disconnect all the devices that are using the account and use another device to change the passwords. You need to change passwords for all the online accounts to avoid any risk factor. Securing your online journey is your responsibility, be alert, do not click emails randomly and keep your passwords safe, these are few habits that can keep your online journey safe and private.