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Adobe flaw rips open streaming video sites

Amazon videos are among those found vulnerable because of the Flash flaw

Online media distributors that have thought themselves safe from piracy by virtue of using streaming video technology, rather than direct downloads, are facing uncertainty this weekend, as it has emerged that a flaw in the software many use allows for easy copying of protected videos.

The problem lies in servers of Adobe Flash video content, as used by many major-league video distribution services, including Amazon.

Rentals threatened

Streaming video had been considered safe, as it doesn't offer a single file that can be saved and later redistributed. Many companies use its flexibility to offer online video 'rentals' that can be watched for only a limited period.

However, tests by Reuters have found that Adobe's decision to leave out some security elements leave Flash video exposed and easy to record after all.

They quote a BT security expert as saying: "It's a fundamental flaw in the Adobe design. This was designed stupidly."

Record and go

Since it exposed the problem, Reuters has shown that video streams from Amazon and others can be recorded using software such as Applian's Replay Media Catcher.

Naturally, now that the cat is out of the bag, we expect Adobe and its video partners to rectify the problem before long – we'll keep you informed.