Category Archive: Watermark

Dec 09 2015

Some notes on the Content Protection Summit 2015

These motes are personal and reflect the key points that raised my interest. They do not report the already known issues, already approved best practices and security guidelines.

The  conference was held on 7th December at Los Angeles. The audience was rather large for such event (more than 120 attendees) with representatives of content owners, service and technology providers and a few distributors. CPS is becoming the annual event in content protection. The event was as interesting as last year.

A special focus has been placed on cyber security rather than purely content protection.

Welcome remarks (ROSE M.)

The end of EU safe harbor is an issue.

CDSA: A focus on the right things at the right time (by ATKINSON R.)

A set of work streams for 2016 with nothing innovative. Some focus on training and education. A second focus on opportunity versus piracy.

IP security the creative perspective (by McNELIS B.)

An attack against YouTube that does not have in place a strong enough position against piracy. Google does not play the game despite it could (for instance, there is no porn on YouTube, proving the efficiency of curation). The difference between Apple and Google is the intent.

Creators do usually not want to bother about content protection. They want to communicate directly with consumers. The moderator explained that indie filmmakers are far more concerned as piracy may be more impacting their revenue stream. The middle class of creators is disappearing.

The BMG / Cox communication legal decision is a good promising sign.

Breakthrough in watermark (by OAKES G.)

NNSS (Nihil Nove Sub Sole, i.e., nothing new under the sun)

The move to digital pre-release screeners: DVD R.I.P. (panel with ANDERSON A., TANG E., PRIMACHENKO D.)


  • Nobody any more uses exclusively DVD at home, they use additional media. The user experience of DVD is bad (dixit Fox).
  • E-screener is more eco-friendly than DVD distribution.
  • Less liability due to no need to dispose of the physical support.
  • Higher quality is possible.
  • According to Fox, on-line screeners are intrinsically more secure than DVD screeners.


  • The challenge is the multiplicity of platforms to serve. Anthony pleads for 2FA.
  • Some guild members want to build a library.
  • Connectivity is still an issue for many members.

Suspicious behavior monitoring is a key security feature.

The global state of information security (by FRANK W.)

Feedback on the PcW annual survey of 40 questions.

  • Former employees are still the most cited sources. Third party related risk is rising.
  • Theft of employee and customer records raised this year.
  • 26% of increase of security budget over 2014.
  • ISO27001 is the most used framework. 94% of companies use a security framework.
  • Top Cyber threats: vulnerabilities, social engineering and zero-day vulnerabilities.
  • Data traversal becomes a visible issue with leaks via Dropbox, Google Drive…)

Would you rather be red and blue, or black and blue (by SLOSS J.)

A highlight on high-profile attacks. A plea for having an in-house red team (attack team)

He advocates the stance of assuming that you’re already penetrated. This requires:

  • War game exercises
  • Central security monitoring
  • Live site penetration test (not really new)

Secrets to build an incident response team (panel with RICKELTYON C., CATHCART H., SLOSS J.)

An Incident Response Team is now mandatory together with real-time continuous monitoring.

Personalize the risk by making personal what the consequences of a breach would be.

Hiring experts for a red team or IRT is tough.

Vulnerability scanning penetration testing (panel with EVERTS A., JOHNSON C., MEACHAM D., MONTECILLO M.)


Best practice for sending and receiving content (by MORAN T.)


  • Consumer grade cloud services: Dropbox, etc
  • Production. Media deal, signiant, mediafly, etc
    • Usually isolated system within a company
    • Owned by production rather than IT
  • Enterprise: Aspera
    • Owned by IT

Cooperation between IT and production staff is key.

Don’t tolerate shadow IT. Manage it

Monitor the progress of Network Function Virtual (NFV)and Software Defined Network (SDN) as they may be the next paradigms

Production in the cloud (panel with BUSSINGER B., DIEHL E., O’CONNOR M., PARKER C.)

CDSA reported about this panel at

Production security compliance (panel with CANNING J., CHANDRA A., PEARSON J., ZEZZA L.)

It is all about education. The most challenging targets are the creatives

New Regency tried on a production of a TV show to provide all creatives with the computer, tablet, and phone. They also allocated a full-time IT guy.

Jul 15 2014

Dr Who’s leaked

Bad week for the BBC.   Last week, scripts of five episodes of next season of Dr Who leaked online.  The scripts were accessed from a Miami-based BBC worldwide server.  It seems that that they were publicly available (with a lot of material) and was indexed by Google.   A typical Google request provided access to this confidential material.

Unfortunately, other material was available.  A black & white unfinished watermark version of the first episode has also been put online.  The copy is visibly watermarked for a given recipient.   Drei Marc is a Brazilian company that provides subtitling and dubbing services.  Nevertheless, it seems that it comes from the same server.  It is not sure that other episodes may not surface in the coming days.  Broadcast of the first episode is planed on 23 August.


BBC asked its fans not to spoil the release.

We would like to make a plea to anyone who might have any of this material and spoilers associated with it not to share it with a wider audience so that everyone can enjoy the show as it should be seen when it launches.

"We know only too well that Doctor Who fans are the best in the world and we thank them for their help with this and their continued loyalty

Several lessons:

  • Secure your servers and be aware of the indexing robots.   No server should be put online without prior pen testing.
  • Encryption at rest should be mandatory for early content.  If ever the attacker access the video server, he will access an encrypted video without the decryption key.  Useless.
  • Forensic marking should only occur at delivery time.  If prepared and stored before release, it is useless.  It will not hold in front of a Court with good security expert.
  • TV series are the new Eldorado of the movie industry

Oct 29 2012

World of Warcraft and watermarking

An old news, as it started in September.  On 8 September 2012, Sendatsu published on the ownedcore a detailed study of the use of watermark within Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (WoW).  According to him, it seems that WoW adds an “invisible” watermark to screenshots (at least with JPEG in lower quality).   A capture of a screenshot without texture repeatedly produces a pattern similar to this one.  wow-watermark

The watermark carries 88 bytes with the account ID, a time stamp and the IP address of the server.  Clearly, it does not carry any personal information.   It seems that this Digimarc based watermark was in use since 2007 (when screenshots were added).

The aim of this watermark seems obvious to me.  There are many illegal WoW servers in the field.  Of course, users playing WoW through these non-Blizzard servers do not pay the monthly subscription.  This means a loss of revenue for Blizzard.  Finding the IP address of such unauthorized servers is a good start to fight piracy back .

Strangely, nobody reported a similar case for other Blizzard MMORPGs such as Diablo III or StarCraft.  Is it because nobody looked at, it yet? Or because there is no such watermark (less pirate servers)?

Update (30-oct-12):  The allegation that it is a Digimarc solution seems wrong.  Thus, currently no clue about the solution provider.

Aug 08 2012

Nano counterfeiting feature

The blue  morpho butterfly changes the color of iits wings through some special reflective structure.  The company nanotech security uses a “similar” trick for its NOtES (Nano Optic Technology for Enhanced Security).   Using nano holes smaller than the light wave, it creates a kind of light-amplification that generates a similar effect.


Thus, by embossing paper or plastic, it can create bright images through reflection.  The holes are about a few hundred nanometers.  How does it fit with security?   According to them, it could replace holograms used against counterfeiting (the kind of holograms that you find on microsoft official disks).  This technology seems to have some advantages:

  • It is extremely cost effective.  Once the master stamping build, it is just stamping the target, thus cheap and fast in production.
  • Easily identifiable by human
  • As it works infrared or UV, the pattern could be analyzed by machines using the right wave length (a kind of watermark)


The security relies on the difficulty for the counterfeiters to reproduce the stamping.  It seems that it relies mainly on a high barrier entry cost (class 1 clean room) and know how of the company to design the pattern and the stamping tool.   Clearly, it would require a funded organization to make it (as holograms today).   Nevertheless, I would be interested to see if it would be not possible to reverse engineer the pattern by careful examination through electronic microscope. Another question is how does it degrade with time?     

When will we have the first shiny bank notes?

Jul 09 2012

“Securing Digital Video” is now available!

My book, “Securing Digital Video: Techniques for DRM and Content Protection” is now available on sale.   It can be found directly at Springer (about one week delay), from US amazon (2-4 weeks delay) and from French Amazon (available only in August).

This is the last step of a long process.  I hope that the reader will enjoy it and that it will be useful to the community.   More details on the book are available here.

I would be glad to hear your suggestions, appreciations (even negative ones), and answer any question.  For that, use preferably the address  I will always answer.

May 22 2012

Securing Digital Video: one step more

I received yesterday the page proof edition of my book.  I have to review it for the final modifications.    Here is an example (first page of the introduction)

Once reviewed, we are set.  Springer will then print it and it should be soon available.  In other words, it should be out before August.


Apr 04 2012

Securing Digital Video: the text is final and frozen

About one year ago, I informed you that the final draft of my book was sent to Springer, my editor.  Today, a new step:  after several copy edit rounds, the text is final.   We enter now the final stage:  layout and printing.  In other words, the book should be now soon available in the stores (before end of this quarter).

The book will have inserts entitled “Devil’s in the Details”.  These short sections will deeply dive in some naughty details highlighting the difference between theoretical schemes and actual robust security.  For instance, you will learn some details on the Black Sunday, or on how AACS was hacked.

I will keep you informed about the next steps.

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