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Multicast enables efficient large-scale content distribution by providing an efficient transport mechanism for one-to-many and many-to-many communication. The very properties that make multicast attractive, however, also make it a challenging environment in which to provide content security. We show how the fundamental properties of the multicast paradigm cause security issues and vulnerabilities. We focus on four areas of research in security for multicast content distribution: receiver access control, group key management, multicast source authentication, and multicast fingerprinting. For each we explain the vulnerabilities, discuss the objectives of solutions, and survey work in the area. Also, we briefly highlight other security issues in multicast content distribution including source access control, secure multicast routing, and group policy specification. We then outline several future research directions.
Date of Publication: Jan/Feb 2003