Compared to traditional voice/data networks or cable TV infrastructures, threats to an IPTV environment are far more severe. IPTV allows carriers to manage valuable content that must be protected from unauthorized access and modification. Carriers also need to ensure that quality of service is protected to comply with customer's expectations and Service Level Agreements (SLA).
For years the satellite TV industry has been fighting access fraud. Recently, satellite TV companies have been taking legal action against defendants for unauthorized access to TV content.
The experience of the satellite TV industry shows that fraudsters go to great lengths to break their security measures. This includes cracking the smart card protection used for the set top boxes and distributing cloned "free access" cards. Even though the satellite TV providers have modified the cards, fraudsters have managed to find alternative ways to break the safeguards incorporated in the new releases. Now that video technology has entered the IP world, the level of threats has escalated vulnerabilities that have been solved in other, more mature technologies are still part of the new IPTV systems.
IPTV is not only transferred to set top boxes, but also to computers and handheld devices which facilitates hacker access. Simple software modifications introduced by hackers allow them to break the encryption system and other security measures, or even capture and redistribute the contents using peer-to-peer networks.
A major impact on the satellite TV industry has been fraudsters selling modified "all access" smart cards. As a result, the IPTV industry faces an entirely new threat with broadcasting stations residing on every home PC, hackers are able to redistribute the broadcast stream to other computers all over the world.