Online Piracy Swindling IP-holders out of $800bn

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Web pirates cheated copyright holders out of more than $800bn in 2014 via the illicit distribution of copyrighted material online, according to Arxan Technologies.

The security vendor’s annual State of Application Security Report, conducted with iThreat Cyber Group (ICG), found that web piracy continues to boom, with 1.96 million pirated assets predicted to be available online by the end of this year – a 22% increase over the last three years.

Arxan and ICG assessed data collected from a three-year examination of both dark web and indexed sites that distribute pirate content.

In 2014, 1.6 million pirated releases made their way online. In 2015 so far, 50% of pirated materials consisted of video content, excluding adult content, which accounts for around 25% by itself. Gaming piracy, meanwhile, continues to surge. The report predicts that 31,000 pirated games will be available in 2015, double the amount available three years ago.

It’s not just films and games being stolen, though – pirated software continues to be a thorn in the side for IP-holders. Organizations, meanwhile, are at risk of breach through black market applications, which may bundle malware or offer easily exploitable security holes.

Android apps accounted for 41% of all pirated software between 2012 and 2015, compared to just 5% for iOS. Fake license key generators account for 17% of pirate software downloads, meanwhile, with 9000 examples found by Arxan.

The report attributes the continued problem of piracy to a growing distribution network for unauthorized uploads and insufficient protection in applications.

Reverse-engineers are making the most of unprotected binary code, Arxan argues, to access and modify source code before redistribution. Key crackers, meanwhile, are enabling the decryption and distribution of encrypted media content.

“The sheer number of [piracy] cases in the US and abroad, [demands that] software, digital media and mobile gaming industries become savvier with regards to techniques for combatting pirated releases across national boundaries,” said Jeff Bedser, CEO of iThreat Cyber Group.

“The best thing content owners can do is continually monitor the marketplace, equip themselves with intelligence tools and leverage data and application protection techniques to fight piracy head on.”

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