Streaming Hacking Impacts Advertisers, Customers - More To Come?

It's important to understand what brand safety means to TV networks and TV advertisers: Brands want to be associated with the best possible "suitable" and "safe" content.

But hacking and errors abound, and TV advertisers' messages can often be found where their ad executives don't intend them to appear.

This is not the only area of concern.

We now see instances with some TV-video distributors where hackers went on to "purchase" other streaming subscriptions -- at Roku, in the most recent example -- by grabbing customers' credit cards as well as compromising login information.

Following Roku's data breach of 15,000 accounts, hackers went on to “purchase” other streaming subscriptions.

Although this is just a small part of Roku's 80 million active accounts for the streaming video platform distributor, this occurred over a two-month period -- from December 28, 2023 and February 21, 2024 -- and it is troubling.



The hackers accessed the data from unauthorized actors using login credentials obtained from third-party sources. Roku acted quickly to resolve the issue.

Still, it's easy to be complacent. With any consumer product or service, there will always be digital bad actors looking to mess things up -- or to cause actual damage.

Meanwhile, the streaming and legacy TV distribution business continues to see paths of disruption as it grows (for the former) and declines (with the latter). 

For example, last month, DoubleVerify and Roku revealed a connected TV ad-fraud scheme that has been siphoning an estimated $7.5 million per month from advertisers --  one of the largest fraud schemes the companies have ever seen. 

So how can real consumer protection-savvy TV distributors earn even greater trust? We wonder how this plays with consumers as they see ever-higher monthly prices on streaming services.

The good -- and bad -- news is that major advertising brands already have much of the "regular" consumer personal information at their disposal, and hopefully, that it's always privacy-protected.

But it's important to realize that brands will want more data around lower-funnel return-on-investment results -- website visits, in-store visits and outright purchases.

According to Roku, its consumer breach was a "credential stuffing" attack, whereby hackers steal usernames and passwords from Roku. But then, more brazenly, the hackers used that data immediately in a range of other services.

Should we be even more concerned about deeper breaches and widespread hacking that will continue to accelerate in years to come?

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