Did DirecTV Hire Satellite Hackers To Leak Dish TV Smart Cards?

from the seems-a-bit-extreme dept

I had missed this story when it came out last week, but thanks to a reader (who prefers to remain anonymous) for sending it in. Apparently, Dish Network is suing DirecTV, claiming that DirecTV (and its parent News Corp) hired notorious satellite TV hackers to break Dish's encryption and "flood the market" with hacked smart cards. That's quite a claim, and it will be interesting to see what evidence the company has to back it up. After all, reverse engineering a product is perfectly legal -- and, indeed, DirecTV claims that's all it did. Furthermore, it seems doubly strange that DirecTV would go down this route after so thoroughly pissing off smart card hackers of all kinds a few years ago by accusing them all of stealing DirecTV signals with almost no evidence, and then pushing many to pay up to avoid a lawsuit. It's also hard to see what the real benefit to DirecTV is of such a plan. Making it easier to get Dish for free shouldn't increase DirecTV's market at all. One would hope that Dish actually has some serious evidence to go along with these claims.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 4:46am

    if directTV is really responsible perhaps there logic was: if ppl start buying those hacked smart cards no one would pay for the DishTV service.....

    it seems those ppl are really convinced that the Media industry is loosing money because of P2P networks not because there product is crap.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 5:00am

    Get your facts straight

    DIRECTV has nothing to do with this. The alleged crime was committed back in 2000. This is before Dish tried to buy DIRECTV (initiated in Dec 2001 and declined by the FCC in Oct 2002 - http://www.fcc.gov/transaction/echostar-directv.html) and before News Corp purchased DIRECTV (initiated in May 2003 and approved by the FCC in January 2004 - http://www.fcc.gov/transaction/news-directv.html).

    Next you will say Liberty Media was behind this and John Malone was the mastermind!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 5:13am

    Ownership

    I believe that News Corp. owns Dish Network, not DirecTV.

     

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  4.  
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    ehrichweiss, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 5:38am

    Re: Ownership

    No, News Corp owns DirecTV. Guaranteed. JFGI.

     

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  5.  
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    Ajax 4Hire, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 5:39am

    No, in the USA, reverse engineering

    security is a crime.
    Not that I agree with the law.
    DCMA and CSS (for DVDs) do specifically state that attempts to reverse engineer the security, just thinking about it is a crime.

    Not the first thought crime, will not be the last.

    I do have mixed feelings about the reason,
    I want a burglar attempt to be prosecuted, just because the attempt was unsuccessful does not mean that it is not a crime. In this case the attempt IS a crime.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 5:41am

    This sounds like the same people who faked the moon landing.

     

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  7.  
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    ehrichweiss, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    world's smallest violin..

    ...playing just for Dish Network.

    All I hear from Dish is "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!".

    They have gotten in a deal with ebay where if you try to sell your LEGAL satellite receiver that you have to comply with Dish Network's fascist policies or else they will cancel your auctions. I'm NOT talking about selling something with a hacked card or whatever but selling something that you have full right to sell.

    You see, Dish Network wants to control everything about their receivers and their use/resale even if it means they violate the doctrine of first sale. For this alone I'd be willing to make a class action attorney rich just to take some of the bounce out of their step for a few months.

    So screw them. I hope DirecTV did hire hackers to ruin their day.

     

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  8.  
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    Alimas, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 6:53am

    Re: Get your facts straight

    Actually, the alleged crime took place across 1998-2001.

     

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  9.  
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    C.G. (profile), Apr 16th, 2008 @ 7:22am

    One reason...

    I can think of one reason why anyone would want to flood the market with hacked cards to allow someone to get service for free... cash flow.

    I can imagine a world where Dish Network's customers canceled their service - thus reducing the company's monthly income - while still getting service for free (or, if not canceling, reducing the money paid for premium content). This could force a cash crunch at the company and allow DirectTV to gain the upper hand - even if they don't actually compete in the market.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 9:14am

    Re: Get your facts straight

    >The alleged crime was committed back in 2000. This is
    >before Dish tried to buy DIRECTV (initiated in Dec 2001
    >and declined by the FCC in Oct 2002 -

    Holy cow, it took a long time for the courts to hear this case!

    Assuming Reuters publish date is correct, I see it akin to suing your ex-wife for hitting your car when you were dating.

     

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  11.  
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    DrBuzz0, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 9:16am

    No. That would be a loss to DirecTV. Forget the whole "reduce the company's income" thing. DirecTV is a profit-making company and they need subscriptions.

    Most of their channels are the same as those on Dish. If Dish is avaliable for free then it's effectively the same as having most of the channels of DirecTV for free. If you can get free from Dish illegally, why would you bother paying for Dish or DirecTV?

    The reason Dish encryption (Nagravision) was hacked is that their system is based in their receivers and only certain portions reside on the card. It's generally a less robust system than Videoguard than DirecTV has. They upgraded it with new cards but it was hacked again because they are limited in what they can do.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    Re: world's smallest violin..

    I read something somewhere, that Dish is also installing light sensors inside the recievers. Well, they want to know if you open the recievers, or shine a flashlight into it, it will think it's open and go through a self-destruct mode and physically destroy the board. It must add enormous costs to open and replace the boards in a darkroom. They sure go to length to treat everyone as criminals!

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    I wouldn't put anything past Direct... I'm still fighting with them 1 1/2 years later for a canceled account within their cancellation period.

     

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  14.  
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    James, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 10:50am

    Bigger picture

    The whole bigger picture, that most miss here, being that if DirecTV and DISH didn't charge SO much for the crap they spew that very few would consider ways around it. The market feels the price isn't fair (the same could be argued for CDs and a bit less so for DVDs).

    This in no way defends their biggest competitor; cable. The cable companies are even more in bed w/the Devil.

     

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  15.  
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    Palmyra, Apr 16th, 2008 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Ownership

    Not any longer. Around 2006 News corp traded its shares, around 40% or so, of Direct TV with Liberty Media Corp for the shares LMC held in News Corp. LMC owns QVC, The Discovery Channel, and the Atlanta Braves.

     

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  16.  
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    Scattershot, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 5:55am

    Direct TV

    A collection agency, acting on behalf of Direct TV (they said), contacted me alleging an unpaid bill for seventeen dollars and change. I have never subscribed to Direct TV and I told them so. I once subscribed to DISH, but I cancelled because it became unaffordable. DISH said the equipment belonged to me. Was the collection attempt a mistake or a scam ?

     

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  17.  
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    Peter Carter, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:29am

    DirecTV satels from contractors

    DirecTV and Mastec have used deceptive business practices to gain an unfair business advantage against the very workers providing installation services. These practices include charging companies full retail value for equipment that was installed and activated in customers homes, deducting money from pay with no back up or documentation to support legitimacy, providing forged documents in an attempt to collect money from contractors for equipment not received by contractor. charging for phone lines that were allegedly not connected at time of install with no regard for phone service availability at time of install or customer requests and/or denial of this connection. back charging contractors for faulty equipment that was beyond the control of the contractor (DirecTV of course having full knowledge of the inadequacies of their manufacturers), back charging contractors for problems as a result of customer error, collecting a large percentage of ancillary work fees despite the fact that the contractor provides all of the materials for the installation. refusing to pay out final invoices and numerous other deceptive actions. Legal action is in progress, and reports have been filed with the Federal Trade Commission, The BBB and other Government agencies.

     

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  18.  
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    Anthony J. Stage, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 5:26am

    smartcards

    We need smartcards for our dish network. We have three receivers.
    Anthony Stage

     

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  19.  
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    Rigo, Mar 26th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    Re: DirecTV satels from contractors

    I'm a installation technician subcontractor for DirecTV and every time I get paid, I find out back charges from defective equipment. and also jobs not been paid for "cancellations" according to DTV.
    I would like to get more info if there is been a process to end with this unfairness from them.
    Thanks.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

    Re: smartcards

    I have what U NEED!

     

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  21.  
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    mindingmyownbiz, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    Re: world's smallest violin..

    really try selling Tiffany anything on ebay,they will shut you down too. there are infringement rights for everyone whether you or I like it or not. It is so people can't be selling stolen goods for profit...

     

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  22.  
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    alina orozco, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    i hired a hacker to find out if my husband is cheating me. he hacked the email and gave me evidence that my husband is a real pain in my ***. i can recommend to you his email. his email is hacker4hire@hackermail.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    alina orozco, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 10:46am

    hacker for hire

    i hired a hacker to find out if my husband is cheating me. he hacked the email and gave me evidence that my husband is a real pain in my ***. i can recommend to you his email. his email is hacker4hire@hackermail.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    eli, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    give me some info of some websites i can go to so i can hack some cards to watch dish net

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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