Rupert Murdoch-linked pirate website targeted rivals, online file shows | Technology | The Observer
The website’s first “ezine”, a downloadable magazine, was published in 2001 and shared with the Observer by one of its members. It features two articles about how to hack Sky rival OnDigital’s SECA software system, which was developed by a French broadcaster, Canal Plus, as a rival to NDS’s technology. OnDigital, later rebranded as ITVDigital, was set up by terrestrial broadcasters Granada and Carlton in 1998 and went into administration in 2002.
The articles, by a hacker known as Barrell, describe the programming necessary to facilitate the hack and explain the need to phone OnDigital so that the company could send a signal to the hacker’s set-top box.
Barrell advised: “The way to guarantee this is to phone od [OnDigital] while logging and say any of the following, your card is not working, swap a channel, upgrade your package etc. PLEASE PLEASE do not all phone od as soon as this guide is released, stagger it over a few days, weeks, otherwise od will think something is up when a few thousand people start phoning up.”
Another article, “Installing a chip in a CFT2100 box”, explains how to “decrypt” the pay TV networks of cable operators NTL and Telewest, so that viewers can watch them for free. An email, dated 5 February 2001, sent to Gibling, and copied to Ray Adams, NDS’s head of security, shows Thoic’s members discussed how hackers could learn in its online forums to program software allowing them to hack into cable television.