GeoComply estimates 200 million users of free VPNs are victims of residential IP abuse
Vancouver, BC – July 26, 2022– GeoComply, the market leader in geolocation security, today announced an industry-first technology for streaming providers that tightens the net around pirate viewers. The new technology enhancement to GeoGuard allows streaming providers to block the growing number of VPN users who spoof their location using hijacked residential IP addresses. In addition to reducing the burden on providers’ infrastructure and CDN capacity, this technology ensures video service providers comply with their contractual agreements with rights holders.
GeoComply estimates that over 200 million internet users worldwide are unknowingly the victim of residential proxy IP abuse. Their IP addresses are used to bypass VPN restrictions and access territorially restricted content, contributing to the streaming piracy that threatens the media and entertainment ecosystem. This happens because users sign up for a free VPN or DNS proxy service without reading the terms and conditions that allow the VPN provider to sublease the IP address allocated by their ISP to their home or business. IP addresses are also hijacked during cyber-attacks that infect a user’s device with Trojan code or malware, and connect it to a botnet.
Free VPN providers profit by selling hijacked residential IP addresses to the highest bidder, usually a provider of “undetectable” premium VPN services. These services give subscribers the ability to spoof their location using the hijacked addresses.
According to Surfshark in 2022, 31% of all internet users have a VPN, with nearly 70% opting for free services – those most at risk of having their IP address stolen. 51% of VPN users – equating to 700 million people – say they use a VPN to access better entertainment content, including streaming services and pay-per-view events that are either not available in their country or are more expensive locally, according to GWI. For example, viewers in the US who want to subscribe to the NBA’s League Pass pay $199.99 each year, while in India it only costs 1,500 rupees or $19.
James Clark, general manager of media & entertainment at GeoComply, said, “A recent report from Kantar finds that more than 1.5m fewer people now subscribe to streaming services in the UK compared to Q4 2021. More than a third of these losses could be attributed to families trying to cut costs. We believe the problem of hijacked residential IPs will only increase as viewers turn to VPNs to find cheaper subscriptions in other territories or use them to access pirated services. To combat this problem, we can now accurately detect users accessing streaming services using hijacked residential IP addresses to help uphold the territorial licensing models our customers depend on.”
Through its industry monitoring, GeoComply has identified 17 companies selling residential proxy IPs, including Bright Data (Luminati), Oxylabs, and SmartProxy. Bright Data alone offers over 72 million addresses for sale.
GeoGuard’s award-winning VPN and DNS proxy detection is integrated with CDNs including Akamai and AWS CloudFront, making it possible to quickly detect residential IP addresses and stop illegal streams.
GeoGuard is independently rated by Kingsmead Security as 99.6% effective in detecting VPNs and DNS proxies and is updated more often than any other solution on the market to ensure the lowest false positives and the highest accuracy rates in the industry. GeoGuard protects over 300 million unique streaming requests users per day as the Hollywood Studio-approved gold standard.
About GeoComply Solutions Inc.
GeoComply provides fraud prevention and cybersecurity solutions that detect location fraud and help verify a user’s true digital identity. Our award-winning products are based on the technologies developed for the highly regulated and complex US online gaming and sports betting market. Beyond iGaming, GeoComply provides geolocation fraud detection solutions for streaming video broadcasters and the online banking, payments, and cryptocurrency industries, building an impressive list of global customers including Amazon Prime Video, BBC, Akamai, DraftKings, FanDuel, and MGM.
The company’s software is installed on over 400 million devices worldwide and analyzes over 9 billion transactions a year, placing GeoComply in a unique position to identify and counter both current and newly emerging fraud threats.
Proven and refined with over 10 years of development, GeoComply’s solutions incorporate location, device, and identity intelligence along with advanced machine learning to detect and flag fraudulent activity. By integrating GeoComply’s solutions into their processes and risk engines, organizations are able to identify fraud earlier in a user’s engagement, better establish their true digital identity and empower digital trust.