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News Corp hired hacker to pirate DISH Network access cards

Nilay Patel
04.24.08
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DISH Network and News Corp's satellite subsidiary NDS Group in California have been involved in an industrial espionage lawsuit for years now, but there was some big drama in court today: a hacker by the name of Christopher Tarnovsky (who used the handle "Big Gun," among others) testified that NDS hired him to create a device called "the stinger" that could reprogram DISH Network access cards. DISH lawyers say the plan was to flood the market with hacked cards, which would cost the satellite company $900M in revenue and repair costs. Unsurprisingly, NDS (which supplies DirecTV, among others), says that it hired Tarovsky only to reverse-engineer DISH's cards for competitive reasons, and Tarnovsky himself says that he believes "someone is trying to set him up." Sure, sure -- but no one's explaining why he was mailed mobile electronics from Canada with $20K in cash stashed inside, or why he was officially on the payroll of HarperCollins, a totally different NewCorp subsidiary, for more than 10 years. Sketchy sketchy -- and we thought satellite hacking was dead.

Read - Reuters article about Tarnovsky's testimony
Read - 2002 article about Tarnovsky and NDS

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