In a joint effort to combat the recent hack of the Austrian DTH platform, the technical platform operator ORS and Irdeto are implementing ECMs to stop pirate satellite tuners to receive the signals. As a result, over 1.3 million smart cards need to be replaced.
At the same time, the two parties are actively pursuing closure of websites and forums that openly advertise and instruct viewers on how to hack the signal.
ORS has taken the first electronic counter measures (ECMs), that should make illegal reception impossible. Every week, a new code will be sent to all official smart cards. But further measure are needed in order to secure the system for the future. This will in volve exchanging older generation smart cards during the next few months.
ORS is the Austrian facilities company that operates the DTH platform of public broadcasters ORF. The recently launched AustriaSat platform from the M7 Group also makes use of the same technical infrasture and is also believed to be affected by the hack.
When the first reports about the hack surfaced, ORS denied the system was compromised. Now, the operator has confirmed the leak. “It is true that ORF Digital system was attacked by hackers,” ORS spokesperson Michael Weber told the online news service Futurezone.at. “They have illegaly counterfeited the key of a customer card.”
Three older generations of the Irdeto Cryptoworks (formerly Philips Cryptworks) smarts cards are affected by the hack. They are the Cryptoworks generation 4, 5 and 6. These are cards that were sold in reatil in the period between 2003 and 2006.
In order to secure the signal again, these cards need to be replaced since they will no longer work after the necessary security update of the system. It is not unusual for smart cards to become obsolete after a couple of years and a period of 5 – 6 years is actually quite good.
Newer generations of the card will be able to continue to receive the signals. About 1.8 million of these newer cards have been sold. Irdeto acquired Cryptoworks from Philips in January 2006. The technology is completely different from Irdeto’s core technology used in the company’s other smart cards
UPDATE – At our request, Irdeto has sent us the following statement: “Irdeto has over 40 years experience protecting some of the world’s most recognized digital brands. Our industry-leading anti-piracy team is dedicated to staying ahead of would-be hackers and quickly and efficiently shutting down any potential threat to the sustainability of our customers’ digital business models.
Irdeto has well-established processes for investigating and combating issues such as those currently being experienced by ORS with Irdeto’s Cryptoworks technology. Our Anti-Piracy & Fraud Group works tirelessly to identify and mitigate threats to our customers through both technical and legal measures. We respond immediately and with the utmost vigor upon learning about any threat, launching a full investigation and enacting countermeasures designed to minimize business impact for our customers.
In this specific instance, we are working closely with ORS to develop a swift and permanent solution to combat the problem. The cards affected have already delivered excellent return on investment to ORS, having been in the field for more than 5 years, which is higher than the industry average. The cards affected use the Cryptoworks technology that Irdeto acquired from Philips in 2006. Cards that are based on Irdeto’s own technology are completely different and not impacted by this attack.”