As cybercrimes and incidents of institutional hacking increase, cybersecurity is a critical concern for big TV distributors that give consumers access to the internet.
It’s also a strange topic for cable operators, though, because it’s rarely discussed in public, beyond the chorus of concern from consumer data watchdogs.
The Federal Communications Commission, whose leaders have made lofty speeches about the importance of cybersecurity, offers a perfunctory summary of its cybersecurity objectives, with few details about its cable or telco initiatives, in describing the FCC Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability (CCR) Division.
NCTA–The Internet & Television Association and the American Cable Association emphasize that “the entire cable industry takes cybersecurity very seriously” and back security and risk management practices. But details about those efforts — or the failures in the system — are scant.
Still, the scale of cyber-threats to the cable industry is significant and growing. In Akamai’s Summer 2018 State of the Internet/Security: Web Attack report, the firm measured a 16% increase in the number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks recorded since last year globally, with new and more devious attack methods noted.
There are also constant reminders of new threats. This past May, researchers found that U.S. customers’ WiFi connections could be harvested from a cable operator's bill or email. Comcast said it quickly disabled the vulnerability in its activation portal, established an additional layer of authentication and that no personal user info was ever accessed.