Momma always said there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately for one Robert Ward of Florida, she was right. He stole DISH Networks signal and was ordered to pay up $51M. It all arose when EchoStar, a subsidiary of DISH Network, discovered that someone was able to work around the set-top box and encryption. Not only did this guy steal the signal, but he posted the software online, unlocking DISH Network for whoever downloaded the hack. It’s unsure what happened to the others who downloaded the software, but from the press release it seemed like Ward took the brunt of the hit.
There are always people who think they can get away with this stuff. People are pretty smart with electronics and hacking encrypted systems. There is a constant fight to keep criminals out and really, it is the next step in criminal evolution. This isn’t the first time that someone has created a work-around. A hacker in California was charged last year after trying to recruit people to hack DISH’s system. Do people not realize that this is a felony and that prison does not have a pricetag?
Even though DISH Network is a powerhouse in the satellite television industry, the money is just gravy to them. They make $51M in a heartbeat. It’s the fact that they caught someone and now the company hopes that it might deter one or two more hackers from trying to decrypt their software. I’m sure they will still always monitor their systems but it serves as friendly reminder to those who want free or pirated signal.
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