Millions of adults in the U.S. use a VPN to illegally access streaming services in other countries. They might want to spoof their location to sign up for a pay-per-view boxing match in a country where it is less expensive, watch the World Cup on a public broadcaster without the interruption of advertising, or catch the upcoming Downton Abbey movie before it is available locally.
These pirate viewers bring no value to business. They devalue international licensing deals and broadcast rights, which hurts media and entertainment as an industry.
While a service provider team responsible for security knows these unwanted viewers weigh down their infrastructure – and cost them money to boot – it is difficult to calculate the full impact of piracy until it is blocked.
Demonstrating the scale of the problem, GeoComply researched the volume of VPN usage during the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl in 2022.
For the Olympics, data indicated that in a staggering 61.5% of cases, viewers using a VPN could spoof their location to access content for free. And for the Super Bowl, that figure rose to 68%. This means millions of illegal viewers could eat up video service providers’ precious infrastructure resources and incur CDN costs, while delivering no value for advertisers and the bottom line.
A quick fix
With GeoComply’s GeoGuard, video service providers can block VPN and proxy users to cut geo-piracy and account sharing. This ensures compliance with territorial restrictions in contracts with rights holders as well as realizing impressive savings on infrastructure costs.
That’s why broadcasters as diverse as Amazon Prime Video, BBC, beIN, and LaLiga trust GeoGuard to eliminate this geo-piracy with a gold standard, Hollywood-approved VPN, and proxy detection and blocking. GeoGuard protects against even the most advanced proxy-over-VPN and hijacked residential IP attacks.
GeoGuard is independently rated by Kingsmead Security as 99.6% effective in detecting VPNs and DNS proxies and is updated more often than any other solution on the market to ensure the lowest false positives and the highest accuracy rates in the industry. As the Hollywood Studio-approved gold standard, GeoGuard protects over 10 billion streaming requests and over 300 million unique streaming users per month.
Double-teaming with AWS
GeoComply is an AWS Partner. In early 2022, GeoComply joined the AWS ISV Accelerate Program
Because GeoGuard is pre-integrated with Amazon CloudFront at the CDN level, it is easy for AWS customers to implement as a WAF rule to quickly start blocking unwanted VPN users.
Because GeoGuard’s solution for AWS is automatically and continuously updated to protect against the latest VPN threats, the security risk from video piracy is reduced.
For more details, including a free 30-day trial, click here.
How does it work?
GeoComply provides fraud prevention and cybersecurity solutions that detect location fraud and help verify a user’s true digital identity. GeoComply is based on the technologies developed for the highly regulated and complex U.S. online gaming and sports betting market.
GeoGuard is a continuously updated list of the IP addresses used by VPNs and DNS Proxies. When a user connects to a streaming video service, their IP is checked against this list to detect whether they are using a VPN or DNS Proxy to spoof their location. Using machine learning techniques combined with human intelligence, GeoGuard is updated continuously – up to hourly – with new IPs, as well as expiring old IPs to ensure fewer false positives and a better experience for legitimate viewers.
The latest additions to GeoGuard include:
- Proxy over VPN: To avoid blacklists, premium VPN providers are targeting major OTT services with dedicated IP ranges. As the only solution with proxy over VPN functionality, GeoGuard’s advanced logic identifies any attempts to double-spoof streaming providers.
- With VPN providers adding IPv6 ranges that allow users to spoof their location, GeoComply has added IPv6 detection to GeoGuard. This allows OTT broadcasters to remain fully compliant with their contractual obligations while continuing to allow users to access their services on IPv6-only connections.
- Compromised residential IPs: Free VPN solutions and other malicious apps hijack domestic IP addresses from compromised devices and resell them to premium VPN providers to make users appear as though they are a legitimate viewer in the territory of their choosing. GeoGuard dynamically tracks and flags these compromised residential IPs.
Customer case study
MultiChoice Group, Africa’s leading entertainment company, deployed GeoComply’s GeoGuard VPN and proxy detection solution to combat content piracy in early 2021. GeoGuard is protecting MultiChoice’s DStv App, which streams live and catch-up content in countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
Since going live, MultiChoice has consistently blocked tens of thousands of pirate viewers each month while nearly eliminating the creation of suspicious user accounts. This dramatic reduction in piracy has freed up infrastructure capacity and cut CDN costs. Multichoice can now support more than twice the number of concurrent users for live-streamed events with the same infrastructure, resulting in a better quality of experience for its paying subscribers.
MultiChoice deployed GeoGuard through the Amazon Marketplace, using the ‘turn on and go’ capability provided through GeoGuard’s integration with Amazon CloudFront.
“As for all OTT broadcasters, geo-piracy is a major concern, and it was a real coup when we deployed GeoGuard and quickly achieved a great return on investment,” said Greg van Wyngaard, Senior Engineer at MultiChoice’s Connected Video division.
“We have been impressed by GeoGuard – it works seamlessly in the background to safeguard our content for legitimate users, ensures territorial exclusivity and helps us comply with our content distribution obligations with rights owners. From an OTT broadcaster perspective, the cost savings and efficiency it’s providing in our streaming infrastructure is a huge bonus.”
MultiChoice chose GeoGuard for its ability to better protect its revenue and business model without impacting legitimate users. With trust in GeoGuard’s data, MultiChoice can focus on supporting legitimate subscribers. Other factors in its decision were GeoGuard’s regular database updates, to reduce both false negatives and false positives, and its support for SmartDNS, a technology designed to circumvent geo-restricted services.
Beyond media and entertainment, GeoComply provides geolocation fraud detection solutions for iGaming, online banking, payments, and cryptocurrency industries. GeoComply software is installed on over 400 million devices worldwide and analyzes over 3 billion transactions a year, placing it in a unique position to identify and counter emerging fraud threats.
GeoComply solutions incorporate location, device, and identity intelligence and use machine learning to detect and flag fraudulent activity. By integrating GeoComply solutions into their processes and risk engines, organizations are able to identify fraud earlier in a user’s engagement, better establish their true digital identity, and empower digital trust.
Nearly all the anti-piracy solutions and services available for video service providers involve complex deployments that require a significant level of commitment. GeoGuard is easy to deploy and integrate, requires no in-house support, and delivers savings from day one.
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