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World Cup With a World Problem: Illegal Streaming

The 2014 World Cup started in the middle of June and ended on July 13th. This was to be a memorable World Cup not only for the play on the pitch but for the illegal streaming as well. It is estimated that 500,000 people watched the Russia vs. Belgium game illegally.

While this number was high, the more important games had even more viewers. Even though there were legal live streams viewers still watched illegally. According to a poll by The Washington Post, one in five watchers went on "some shady Web site."

Stop the Fight 
 About halfway through the tournament on June 27th, Viaaccess-Orca sent out 2,000 take down notices to illegal live streaming sites. “The success rate varies per content platform but overall we manage to get 35 percent of the streaming links disabled before the game ends.

I think this is a great success rate, especially compared to direct download sites,” David Leporini, Viaccess-Orca Executive Vice President of Marketing, Products and Security said when speaking with TorrentFreak.

Gone Phishing
 Many of these streaming sites can force a user to download Adware disguised as plugins that drain a computer for its processing abilities. While Adware is not technically illegal, it borders on being a virus and runs stealthily on a computer and can cause many problems.

Cybercriminals have also targeted fans with phishing attacks offering free tickets to games. Viaaccess-Orca can measure a section of the viewers through P2P streams and can even see what region of the globe people are watching in. The rest of the audience is viewing through a centralized streaming service, which they cannot track as closely.

Social Implications
Protecting streaming content is also seen on social media sites such as Facebook. If a site was posted to Facebook, it had a 50% chance of being shut down  by Viaaccess-Orca before the game was over. The reason for this is that a shut-down notice needs to process before the game is over to take affect, and when several people post it to Facebook it makes it easier to identify the source.

Internet Safety is a big issue and it is recommended to use the legal safe sites to watch the World Cup as well as other sporting events online. Will this World Cup be remembered for the illegal streaming problem?

Is it likely these sites keep running or will Viaaccess-Orca figure out a way to stop them? What effect does this have on legal mediums such as television and radio? What affect will this have on advertisers for future World Cups if they know their ads are not being watched?

About the Author:

 Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.


Ryan Polachi

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