On the 1st May 2019 Facebook Live retired the standard RTMP streaming protocol in favour of RTMPS (RTMP over a TLS/SSL connection). [Source]
WHAT IS RTMP?
RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) is the industry standard across the world for professional web video streaming but it’s not that secure and can be prone to hacking.
RTMP is prone to spoofing and other attacks between the contribution stream (Sent from the broadcaster like us) and the CDN (Content Delivery Network e.g YouTube, Vimeo).
The possibility of someone maliciously disrupting a live streamed event is possible but thankfully fairly rare. The way to secure this is to use a more secure streaming protocol, enter RTMPS.
WHAT IS RTMPS?
RTMPS streaming protocol allows us to stream securely by encrypting the contribution stream between our encoder and your choice of CDN. A digital handshake takes place between the solo16 video encoder and the receiving CDN like Facebook to authenticate and confirm that we’re really sending our content to the right destination.
In order to secure live streaming with RTMPS, both our video encoder and the receiving CDN location must support this protocol.
WHICH CDN’S SUPPORT RTMPS?
As of 5/4/19 YouTube, Twitter, and Vimeo Live currently only support RTMP for live streaming and not RTMPS. Facebook switched completely on 1st May 2019. We predict that all the other CDN’s will follow suit very quickly.
WILL ALL VIDEO ENCODERS BE ABLE TO STREAM TO FACEBOOK LIVE FROM 1ST MAY?
In short no, only encoders that have had their firmware upgraded. Dan Pisarski from LiveU announced on Facebook on 4/4/19 that they’ve been working with Facebook for sometime to ensure a smooth handover for their solo web encoder.
Teradek have announced that the following encoders will no longer work with Facebook Live. The original VidiU, original Cube, Bond II, Bond Pro and VidiU Mini plus some others. It was thought initially that the more modern Teradek products like the Vidiu Pro will be supported but recent firmware updates (3/5/19) claim this is not the case. Read the full list here.
IS THERE A WORKAROUND?
In theory yes, but we haven’t tested it. If you use Vimeo for live streaming stream to Vimeo via RTMP and then push the stream on to Facebook from there.
IS THE STREAM SECURE FROM THE CDN TO THE VIEWER?
The stream from from the CDN to the viewer is known as the distribution stream. There are already common methods used to restrict who can access this stream, such as secure portals and password protection. After you’ve authenticated, the content is encrypted normally using HTTPS before it’s distributed for viewing. With the correct security handshake certificate on your computer, you can be sure that the stream is secure and this works for both RTMP and RTMPS.
If you’re streaming classified or sensitive material then RTMPS really will become essential for you and your broadcaster.
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT RISKS TO RTMP?
Whilst there is a chance of the contribution stream being hacked we have never encountered a hacked stream. At solo16 we welcome greater live streaming security for our clients.
solo16 are live streaming broadcasters and providers of scaleable streaming services to the event and business sectors across the UK. From a United Nations Press Conference to a simple single camera make up demo solo16 has a solution for all. Contact us today to find out more.