If Your Password is Still “123456” Keep Reading, Then Call Us

June 22, 2021

7 min read

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One of the most potentially devastating threats to the global economy is also one of the most preventable, provided the right steps are taken and the right partners chosen. 

Cyber incursions can strike at the heart of any industry at any time. Whether it is a regional hospital, global multi-national corporation, a content provider, or entertainment studio. At best, the effects are temporary and fade from memory quickly. At worst, the negative results are a permanently damaged brand reputation, financial loss, compromised data, diminished market share and customer mistrust.

Cybercrime is predicted to inflict damages totalling $6 trillion (USD) globally in 2021, according to the research firm Cybersecurity Ventures. That staggering number would be the equivalent of the world’s third-largest economy, after the U.S. and China. The firm further forecasts global cybercrime costs will grow by 15 per cent annually over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion (USD) by 2025, up from $3 trillion (USD) in 2015.

As a connectivity provider, security of any type, but especially the cyber variety, is a Telstra priority. Many of our cybersecurity initiatives and partner relationships are direct responses to the disturbing cybercrime trends occurring globally. These patterns underscore the critical need for working with a partner who not only knows network connectivity, but also has the cybersecurity expertise to secure networks properly.

Not Always a Priority … Until It Is

Cybersecurity is on everyone’s minds. Whether it is protecting our personal identities online, safeguarding confidential business communications or complying with regulations governing content and rights management. It is nearly impossible to read a news report without hearing of the latest network intrusion, ransomware hack or identity theft.

In the United States, the Colonial Pipeline system and global meat processor JBS Foods recently fell victim to ransomware threats, just the latest examples in a long list. Each time, fuel and utility prices rose, stocks dropped and supply chains ground to a halt.

In April, several European Union institutions, including the European Commission, were hit by a significant cyber-attack. Recently, Norway’s parliament was also the target of a cyberattack. The list goes on. Cybercrime respects no borders.

It is no surprise that many world leaders have now elevated cybersecurity to a matter of national security. Governments now give it the same priority as terrorism. But with all this awareness and reporting, what is surprising is that even as recently as late 2020, the most commonly used consumer network password was still “123456.” (If you’re curious, the second most common was a little stronger, “123456789.”)

That bad password habit speaks volumes to the state of online preparedness, not only across the consumer world, but also much of the enterprise space and into media and entertainment. According to Egress/Opinion Matters, 78% of global IT leaders in the media industry acknowledge their organisation’s data was put at risk accidentally in the last 12 months. Moreover, 97% acknowledge the risk of an insider breach is a concern for their organisation. Forrester Research noted only 46% of business leaders are confident in their teams’ ability to handle anything beyond simple cyber incidents.

All too often, cybersecurity is not a priority – until it is.

In Media & Entertainment, Content is King – But Vulnerable

It is no secret we are all spending more time online, out of necessity and forced by a global pandemic. In our home base of Australia alone, the media industry has seen an unprecedented increase in online traffic – up to 59% for the period of Q2 2019–Q2 2020, up from 43% over the previous two quarters.

This traffic growth has been led by high television viewership and online activity. Australians spent at least six hours daily watching TV and close to six hours on the internet in 2020.

The workday now consists of video calls, visiting with family and friends on social media and, of course, streaming content. With the pandemic finally seeming to subside and everyday restrictions loosening, the future of work is still being ironed out. But no doubt full-time remote or hybrid in-office/WFH schedules will be part of the equation.

While there are more geographically dispersed remote employees, these teams still need to connect to headquarters, colleagues, partners and customers worldwide - who may all be working on different systems and networks. With teams collaborating from separate locations, a key issue is their use of different network providers – often their own unsecured personal networks – in addition to fluctuating connection speeds and a host of other potential vulnerabilities.

This reliance on interconnectivity is even more critical in the broadcast, media and entertainment spaces. The content production and delivery industries are moving from physical media to file-based workflows. Media organisations are interacting with more

third parties such as content creators, app service providers and analytics providers. This interaction is no longer only through on-premise workstations, but on cloud-based platforms, making the entire workflow more susceptible to an attack.

Content production is also an inherently collaborative exercise with freelancers, production houses and many others all involved in the content creation workflow. Managing enterprise access by cobbling together ageing software and hardware including traditional VPNs, proxies and remote desktop technologies is no longer an option, as increasing shifts toward IP-based television and over-the-top (OTT) streaming means that risks have dramatically increased and are more complex to manage.

All this increased network activity, heavy streaming and content sharing makes media and entertainment companies attractive targets for cyber criminals. There is a huge amount of personal information stored by OTT services.

Other examples of cybersecurity to media organisations include hundreds of fake websites mimicking popular streaming services, where sign-up pages harvest personal information for use in criminal activities. Criminals are also stealing media streams during high-profile sports events in order to sell it to various markets. Finally, Internet based attacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), are being used to disrupt streaming services, impacting subscriber retention, reducing ad revenue and potentially bringing down services completely.

But crisis has always been a powerful impetus for social and economic change. There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is proving the same. The key is staying secure, strengthening network protection, and safeguarding content; while maintaining an elevated customer experience.

Telstra Can Help

As media organisations continue to innovate, so do cyber-criminals. Telstra is already responsible for enabling so much of the connectivity in Australia and globally. That is why we have the expertise, but also feel the responsibility to play an active role helping our customers stay connected and safe from cyber risks.

Just one recent example of Telstra’s commitment to reducing cyber threats is the Cleaner Pipes initiative. Designed to further reduce instances of compromised customer data resulting from malware, ransomware, and phishing. The Telstra Cleaner Pipes project acknowledges that the internet was never built to be a secure environment. It was built as a communication network and does not, by its very nature, stop people misusing it for criminal ends. Cleaner Pipes simply means we can block cyber threats more actively on our network; that would compromise the safety of our customers’ personal information.  

Beyond that, Telstra has a suite of products for enterprise cybersecurity – from basic essential controls to locally managed security monitoring –giving organisations of any size the expertise, intelligence and tools to help secure operations. These include:

  • Real-time firewall, intrusion and content management and monitoring optimised for mid-sized businesses
  • Protection for websites and applications from threats and attacks
  • Firewall policies across a multi-cloud environment
  • 24/7 security monitoring to collect relevant event data from on-site and cloud environments for a deeper understanding of risks and possible mitigation strategies
  • Incident response support to minimise business disruption from cyber security incidents like unauthorised system access, data loss or theft, viruses and suspicious network activity
  • Advanced next-generation, cloud-delivered security services built by Telstra and powered by Palo Alto Networks

At a time when cybercrime is thriving, choose a team taking proactive measures to help ensure content is protected and revenue is secure.