How to Encrypt Video Files with AES Encryption

By The Zype Team on October 19, 2022

The global video streaming market was worth $59.1 billion in 2021. According to new data from Grand View Research, it’s expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.3% over the next eight years and hit a staggering $330.5 billion by 2030.

But there’s a downside to this enormous growth: cybersecurity risks. As the video streaming landscape expands, so does the attack surface nefarious actors can exploit. That’s why video security—especially video encryption—is such a hot topic. 

If you want to secure your video files, using AES encryption is one option. Here’s an overview of what it is and how it helps protect your content.

What Is AES Encryption?

The Advanced Encryption Standard—commonly referred to as AES encryption—provides a way to secure video files so they can only be accessed by the people they’re intended for.

For livestreaming, AES encryption scrambles video content and securely broadcasts it. Unless the viewer has the correct key, they can’t access the content. Likewise, if an individual attempts to intercept the video somewhere between the broadcaster and the viewer, they’ll merely see a scrambled mess of useless data.

Originally created for the U.S. government, AES encryption has become an industry gold standard for securing video and tackling piracy, data theft, and intellectual property appropriation. This is predominantly thanks to the way it flawlessly combines both speed and security. In 2002, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) replaced the outdated Data Encryption Standard (DES) with AES. 

The real beauty of AES encryption is how its entire process occurs obliviously to the end viewer. In other words, there’s no need for the viewer to find and input an encryption key before they watch; the secure “handshake” occurs automatically, provided they access the video via a legitimate means and have the right to do so.

AES-128, AES-192, or AES-256?

There are three AES encryption key sizes: 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit. As a rule of thumb, the higher the bit number, the more secure the encryption. 

You can encrypt your video files using any of the three. However, if you're working with extremely sensitive data, it's generally recommended to use the 256-bit key size because it provides the highest level of security for video files.

Additional Video Security Considerations

It’s important to note: While video encryption is the largest piece of the overall security puzzle, it’s not infallible. For example, someone with legitimate access to a video can point a camera at their screen and duplicate content. There’s no way to prevent this other than adding a watermark to your video—something many content creators are reluctant to do because it can detract from the viewing experience.

To overcome this issue, some creators use forensic watermarks. Invisible to the naked eye, forensic watermarks are only visible using special software. While they can’t prevent piracy and unauthorized distribution, they provide a way to determine where a video was leaked from and, potentially, who did it.

Other video security techniques to consider include:

  • Password protection: By adding a password to video files, you can create another layer of security and reduce unauthorized viewing.
  • Tokenized security: Like encryption, tokenized video delivery ensures that only authorized users can access video content. This security technique is often linked to the viewer’s IP address, location, or domain from which they access the video. Checks are constantly made with tokenized security, and playback immediately stops should they fail. 
  • Geo-restrictions: Access to video content can be restricted based on a viewer’s geographic location. This type of video security is particularly effective when you only want people in certain regions or countries to access your content.

Secure Your Video Content with Zype

While it might sound complicated and technical, protecting your videos isn’t difficult if you choose the right content management system. Here at Zype, we take security and compliance obligations extremely seriously. 

Contact us today to see how our platform can help you quickly and easily secure your content.

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