MESA CDSA: It takes teamwork to protect the world’s biggest sporting event

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By Chris Tribbey, CDSA. CULVER CITY, Calif. — The 2022 FIFA World Cup only lasted a month. But the work beIN Media Group put into protecting it against piracy began 18 months beforehand and required massive collaborative efforts with every company involved in the supply chain.  Advance planning made it one of the most successful overall efforts to protect the biggest sporting event of the world.

“You have to plan for what could happen, prepare for the worst,” said Lee Kent, content protection manager for beIN Media Group and keynote speaker at CDSA’s Content Protection Summit.

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“We didn’t have any low-hanging fruit in our piracy ecosystem, and when you eliminate the casual pirates, you’re left with the well-organized criminal organizations,” he said.  The Qatari global sport and entertainment network distributes entertainment, live sports, and major international events.

Piracy attempts occurred even before the first match began, with beIN’s broadcasts being made illicitly available on an internet key sharing (IKS) service, with thieves selling codes for $20 each, which were detected and shut down. Reacting to beIN’s successful resistance, the pirates launch three DDoS attacks against the company over a 24-hour period, which failed to succeed.

beIN Media developed its own proprietary anti-piracy system, Pirate Hunter, which identifies and block illicit accounts.  Leading up to and during the event, company conducted daily team calls to orchestrate its efforts with its technology suppliers and partners.

Further reading

Protecting the World’s Biggest Sporting Event? It Takes a Vendor Village.  Article. December 6, 2023. by Chris Tribbey. Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) Online.

Why it matters

In 2017, beIN Media fell victim to beoutQ, which was one of the world’s largest known piracy operations.  Its effects are still felt today, as content stolen at that time is still available through piracy.  As a result, beIN Media has been highly vigilent on an ongling basis

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