cyber security

Beware Of Illegal OTT Platforms That Exposes Sensitive Personal Information

A recent rise in data breaches from illegal Chinese OTT platforms exposes that user information, including names and financial details, is vulnerable to exploitation by criminals. 

The leaked information can be used for phishing attacks, financial fraud, and even harassment, as these illegal OTT services often operate under the radar.

This makes it difficult to hold them accountable and further increases the risk of user data exposure. 

Illegal Chinese OTT services are leaking user data through vulnerabilities in HFS (HTTP File Server) used for file sharing.

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HFS, a standalone executable web service, allows uploading and sharing videos and files but suffers from security weaknesses that expose this data. 

It is especially concerning for servers using the unstable 2.3 beta version of HFS, which is riddled with vulnerabilities and easily compromised by hackers. 

Users can potentially identify illegal servers located in China by leveraging the asset search function within a tool called Criminal IP, which exploits a vulnerability in some web servers, specifically those using the “HFS” (HTTP File Server) protocol.

Search results on Criminal IP for HFS

By crafting a query like “title: “HFS/”” within Criminal IP, the tool searches for servers with this signature, potentially revealing unsecured or malicious servers operating in China, relying on the assumption that servers employing outdated or vulnerable protocols are more likely to be involved in illegal activities. 

Personal information exposed in TXT files

HFS server version 2.3 beta, used by illegal OTT platforms, exposes sensitive user data in plain text files within the server’s output folder, named “Login Denied” and “Authentication Code,” which contain user information including names, addresses, phone numbers, and even credit card details, potentially impacting a large number of South Korean users and raising security concerns for the platform and its users.

Illegal Chinese OTT sites operating while changing domains

Domain fluxing is a method of quickly changing domain addresses that illegal OTT service operators use to avoid being caught and to get around government oversight, which makes it harder to shut down these bad services and leaves users open to data breaches because there are not strong security protocols in place. 

According to Crmininal IP, to counter these evasive tactics, law enforcement and content providers should focus on identifying and blocking these services at the network level, independent of their ephemeral domain names. 

It can be achieved through techniques such as IP address blocking, traffic filtering, and collaborating with internet service providers (ISPs) to disrupt the distribution of illegal content.

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Aman Mishra

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