Location-based security specialist GeoComply has unveiled what it says is an industry-first technology for streaming providers that’s tightening the net around pirate viewers. Improved GeoGuard allows streaming providers to block the growing number of VPN users who are spoofing their location using hacked residential IP addresses. In addition to reducing the load on providers’ infrastructure and CDN capacity, this technology is designed to ensure that video service providers meet their contractual agreements with rights holders.
GeoComply estimates that over 200 million internet users worldwide are unknowingly victims of residential IP proxy abuse. Their IP addresses are used to bypass VPN restrictions and access territorially restricted content, contributing to the ongoing piracy that threatens the media and entertainment ecosystem. This happens because users sign up for a free VPN or DNS proxy service without reading the terms and conditions that allow the VPN provider to sublet the IP address assigned by their ISP to their home or business. . IP addresses are also hijacked during cyberattacks that infect a user’s device with Trojan horse code or malware and connect it to a botnet.
Free VPN providers profit from selling hacked residential IP addresses to the highest bidder, usually an “undetectable” premium VPN service provider. These services give subscribers the ability to spoof their location using the hacked addresses.
According to Surfshark in 2022, 31% of all internet users have a VPN, with almost 70% opting for free services – those most at risk of having their IP address stolen. According to GWI. For example, viewers in the United States who want to subscribe to the NBA League Pass pay $199.99 (€195.27) every year, while in India it costs only 1,500 rupees or $19. .
“A recent report from Kantar reveals that more than 1.5 million fewer people are now subscribing to streaming services in the UK compared to Q4 2021,” notes James Clark, Managing Director of Media and Entertainment at GeoComply. “More than a third of those losses could be attributed to families trying to cut costs. We believe the problem of hacked residential IP addresses will only increase as viewers turn to VPNs to find cheaper subscriptions in other territories or use them to access pirated services. To combat this issue, we can now accurately detect users accessing streaming services using hacked residential IP addresses to help maintain the territorial licensing models that our customers depend on.
Through its industry monitoring, GeoComply has identified 17 companies selling residential proxy IP addresses, including Bright Data (Luminati), Oxylabs, and SmartProxy. Bright Data alone offers more than 72 million addresses for sale.