UK ISP Sky Broadband is monitoring the IP addresses of servers suspected of streaming pirated content to subscribers and supplying that data to an anti-piracy company working with the Premier League. That inside knowledge is then processed and used to create blocklists used by the country’s leading ISPs, to prevent subscribers from watching pirated events.
In recent weeks, an anonymous source shared a small trove of information relating to the systems used to find, positively identity, and then ultimately block pirate streams at ISPs. According to the documents, the module related to the Premier League work is codenamed ‘RedBeard’.
The activity appears to start during the week football matches or PPV events take place. A set of scripts at anti-piracy company Friend MTS are tasked with producing lists of IP addresses that are suspected of being connected to copyright infringement. These addresses are subsequently dumped to Amazon S3 buckets and the data is used by ISPs to block access to infringing video streams, the documents indicate.
During actual event scanning, content is either manually or fingerprint matched, with IP addresses extracted from DNS information related to hostnames in media URLs, load balancers, and servers hosting Electronic Program Guides (EPG), all of which are used by unlicensed IPTV services.
Confirmed: Sky is Supplying Traffic Data to Assist IPTV Blocking
The big question then is how the Premier League’s anti-piracy partner discovers the initial server IP addresses that it subsequently puts forward for ISP blocking.
According to documents reviewed by TF, information comes from three sources – the anti-piracy company’s regular monitoring (which identifies IP addresses and their /24 range), manually entered IP addresses (IP addresses and ports), and a third, potentially more intriguing source – ISPs themselves.
“ISPs provide lists of Top Talker IP addresses, these are the IP addresses that they see on their network which many consumers are receiving a large sum of bandwidth from,” one of the documents reveals.
“The IP addresses are the uploading IP address which host information which the ISP’s customers are downloading information from. They are not the IP addresses of the ISP’s customer’s home internet connections.”
The document revealing this information is not dated but other documents in the batch reference dates in 2021. At the time of publishing date, the document indicates that ISP cooperation is currently limited to Sky Broadband only. TorrentFreak asked Friend MTS if that remains the case or whether additional ISPs are now involved.