IPTV: Know the risks

Published on
June 16, 2020

Although IPTV may seem like a bargain, this article explains potential risks involved with the service.

What is IPTV?

IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television, or the streaming of live or catch-up television content using the internet.  The RA regulates licenced providers of IPTV services in Bermuda, but there are many unlicenced and illegal IPTV offerings that could put your consumer rights in jeopardy.  You might be considering, or may have already purchased, what seems to be a ‘bargain’ IPTV subscription service and it is worth knowing the risks involved.

What are the risks of using unlicensed IPTV services?

  1. Exposing your personal data to potential criminals. Unlike regulated service providers, scammers do not focus on protecting your personal data.  Your personal information could be shared or sold to criminals or groups without your knowledge. By submitting your bank, credit card and personal details to pay for an inexpensive and unauthorized IPTV subscription, you could be putting yourself at risk for:

• loss of sensitive financial information or identity theft
• credit card fraud or misuse of your personal banking details
• scam emails or phishing attacks

You could also be tricked into opening an email which may allow the attacker to steal the login credentials you use for other services.

  1. Financial Loss: Because unlicensed providers are not regulated, their IPTV service could stop at any time, leaving consumers out of pocket, especially if the subscription is paid in advance. Further, illegitimate IPTV providers are not bound to have proper consumer protections in place.
  1. Buffering: Illegal IPTV sources are often not reliable and face issues related to buffering, especially when many people are watching a live stream programme, leading to server failure for the illegal IPTV source.  Also, most streaming requires increased internet speeds, which comes at an extra monthly cost to you.
  1. Malware, Phishing and Spyware. While you may already know the risks of spyware when installing software on your computer, you may not be aware of potential dangers when installing unfamiliar software packages on your TV streaming devices.  By doing this, you put yourself at an increased risk of inviting unwanted spyware into your home or business when using illegal or illegitimate streaming subscription services. With direct access to your devices, criminals may be able to steal your personal data or account details and use this information for fraudulent purposes. These devices are also usually installed on your private network and can make you vulnerable to cybersecurity issues.

What should you do?

With these known risks, the RA strongly recommends that you subscribe to any of these locally regulated IPTV providers:

  • Bluewave
  • Digicel
  • LiveNet TV
  • OneComm
  • WOW

The RA can help advocate for your consumer rights with licenced IPTV providers.  You should first report technical issues and address any concerns with your provider.  If the matter cannot be resolved directly with your provider, you can make a complaint or contact us through the RA's website, or call 474-6020.