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Streaming services are being hit hard by hackers, Akamai says

Netflix, Hulu and others are being targeted at an alarming rate by hackers testing out stolen login credentials, according to a new study from Akamai Technologies. 

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The company today released findings from its “State of the Internet / Security: Credential Stuffing: Attacks and Economies” report, and it shows that online video and music streaming services are being hit hard by big credential abuse attacks.

Akamai said that three of the largest credential stuffing attacks against streaming services last year – which ranged in size from 133 million to 200 million attempts – took place shortly after reported data breaches, indicating hackers were likely testing stolen credentials before selling them, according to a news release. The company said credential stuffing is when automated tools are used with stolen login information to attempt to gain access to user accounts on other online sites.

Those compromised accounts can in turn be used to allow non-subscribers watch pirated content from streaming services, or the accounts can be sold or used for extracting personal information.

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“Educating subscribers on the importance of using unique username and password combinations is one of the most effective measures businesses can take to mitigate credential abuse. The good news is that organizations are taking the threat seriously, and investigating security defenses, as evidenced by the discussions at NAB. Akamai offers its research and best practices to help these organizations who are facing significant brand and financial harm,” said Patrick Sullivan, director of security technology and strategy at Akamai, in a statement.

Akamai said its researchers found online video tutorials that provide step-by-step instructions for executing credential stuffing attacks. The findings listed the United States as the top country of origin for the attacks, followed by Russia and Canada. But the U.S. is also the top target, followed by India and Canada.

The company said previous research showed that media, gaming and entertainment companies saw 11.6 billion attacks between May and December 2018.