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cyber security risks in the media industry

Cyber security risks in the media industry

The media industry, encompassing news outlets, entertainment providers, and content creators, plays a crucial role in shaping public opinion and driving cultural trends.

As digital technologies continue to revolutionize the way media is produced and consumed, the industry faces unique cyber security challenges.

This page highlights key cyber security risks that the media industry must address to protect their valuable assets and maintain the trust of audiences and partners.

Content Theft and Piracy

Content theft is a significant issue for the media industry, as unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material can result in substantial revenue loss. Cybercriminals often target media companies to steal their proprietary content, such as movies, TV shows, music, or news articles, and distribute it illegally through various online channels.

Reputation Damage and Fake News

The credibility and reputation of media organizations are crucial for maintaining audience trust. Cybercriminals, hacktivists, or state-sponsored actors may target media outlets to manipulate content, spread disinformation, or publish false news, undermining the integrity of journalism and public trust. These attacks can have far-reaching consequences on a media organization’s reputation and business.

Fake news

Data Breaches and Privacy Violations

Media companies collect and store vast amounts of sensitive data, including user information, financial records, and confidential business information. Unauthorized access to this data can lead to data breaches, privacy violations, and potential regulatory fines. Cybercriminals can use stolen data for identity theft, fraud, or other malicious activities.

Denial of Service Attacks

Denial of service (DoS) attacks, in which cybercriminals flood a targeted system with excessive traffic, can cripple a media organization’s online platforms, causing disruption to content delivery and audience engagement. These attacks can result in financial loss, damage to the organization’s reputation, and loss of audience trust.

Insider Threats

Insider threats, either intentional or accidental, pose a significant risk to media companies. Employees or contractors with access to sensitive data or critical systems can cause significant damage through data leaks, sabotage, or unauthorized access. Detecting and mitigating insider threats can be challenging, as they often involve trusted individuals with legitimate access to company resources.

To address these risks, media organizations must invest in robust cybersecurity measures, including secure content management, data encryption, employee training, and incident response planning.

By implementing a proactive cybersecurity strategy, media companies can protect their valuable assets, maintain audience trust, and ensure the continued delivery of high-quality content in an increasingly digital landscape.

Cox Enterprises case study

Incenter case study - Cox Enterprises

Continuous Penetration Testing at Cox Enterprises. Hackers are fast, be faster

$19.2 Billion


Incenter becomes the digital machine learning equivalent of roving guards. Instead of roving a parking lot continuously, they’re roving every bit of my business so that I know my exposures relative to active attackers and can defend myself appropriately...

David McLeod, V/Chief Information Security - COX

Cyber attacks against the media and telecommunications industry are on the rise. No one knows this better than Cox Enterprises Inc., the largest private broadband company in America that serves more than 6.5 million homes and businesses. They also operate across media sectors (and recently acquired Axios to expand their activities in this space further).

One problem with having such a large footprint is identifying all the exposures attackers could exploit and determining the ones that pose the biggest risk and should be dealt with quickly.

David McLeod, VP/Chief Information Security Officer at Cox, relies on OccamSec’s Incenter platform for continuous assessment to keep up with exposures that adversaries will seek as a way into the environment. By combining machine learning algorithms and the experience of seasoned professional hackers, Incenter empowers clients to address the ‘deluge’ of  technical and security vulnerabilities hidden within corporate network ecosystems. In one project alone, Incenter tested more than 480,000 endpoints whilst providing ongoing tests against a range of critical applications.

Through the dashboard, verifiable and actionable information provides C level executives the business context and associated risks needed to make decisions. Whilst, at the same time Security engineers fix vulnerabilities in real-time and for real-world benefit.

Traditional pen testing remains a useful tool. How useful it is depends on the organization, its objectives, and its threat landscape. For those operating in frequently targeted sectors point-in-time security testing may not be adequate. For example, Palo Alto’s Unit42 published its 2022 Incident Response Report covering vulnerability and exploitation metrics last year and found that attackers typically start scanning for vulnerable systems 15 minutes after a publicly disclosed vulnerability.

That’s why companies like Cox take a continuous proactive approach to hunt down exposures and preemptively take action. During a recent national election, there were threats of ransomware attacks on radio stations to take control of broadcasts with anticandidate sentiments. Unfortunately, on-air personalities are regular targets. Incenter’s comprehensive approach to vulnerability identification, with intelligence and organizational context, ensures that the attack surface is identified, complex issues identified (via a combination of
automated testing and human experts) and remediative action taken before issues can be exploited. All of this happens on an ongoing basis, issues are reported as they are discovered, there is no need to wait for an end of engagement penetration test report.

Incenter has identified a range of exposures across the Cox environment, many of which could only be uncovered through combined automated and expert testing. This included complex bypasses for certain security controls and several zero-day vulnerabilities. In all cases remediation guidance was provided, and issues re-tested as required.

With continuous testing via Incenter, clients like McLeod can grow capability without growing tools and staff. As the Incenter platform evolves, more and more security services can be ingested by the platform or even replaced (right now it combines penetration testing, attack surface management, threat intelligence and automated testing) leaving security personnel with a “single source oftruth” on the exposures they need to be most concerned with, the impact they could have on the organization, and how to fix.