While everyone was focused on the huge DDoS attack that brought down a large part of the Internet on Friday, a news announcement from one of the world's biggest technology firms went unnoticed that day.
Cisco announced it developed a platform called Streaming Piracy Prevention (SPP), which can detect and cut off illegal video streams.
The company explained that this new system uses forensic watermarks to identify illegal streams that extract content from premium and subscription-based video services and stream it online in real time.
Illegal streaming became popular at the end of the 2000s when pirates found a way to take video feeds from their TVs and funnel them online.
Initially, pirate streaming services were focused on broadcasting pay-per-view sporting events, but as broadcasters started offering TV channels via online subscriptions, the pirates diversified their offering.
Today, you can easily find streaming portals that offer access to thousands of TV channels and sporting events from around the globe, either for free or for a small fee.
Even if its quality is SD or HD, the stream is usually acquired from an online subscription service provided by the broadcaster and branched out to thousands, if not millions of viewers.
Cisco says that its SPP platform allows broadcasters to embed hidden watermarks in their video feeds, which the company can detect later.
Controlling a large chunk of the Internet's backbone, Cisco is in the position to deploy SPP, which can identify illegal video streams as the data passes through its equipment and drop the video stream's packets.
The SPP platform has already received a boost in video stream detection, with Cisco announcing it had partnered with Friend MTS, a European company that tracks current illegal video streaming sources.
According to Friend MTS, there are currently over 12,000 unique instances of HD channels (1280 x 720 frame size or higher) available on pirate services, and another 10,000 SD channels, with quality ranging from 15 Mbps (HEVC quality) to 150 Kbps.