DirecTV hacker sentenced to seven years
Source: Kevin Poulsen - Posted by Joe Shakespeare   
Government A Canadian man was sentenced to seven years in a U.S. prison this week after admitting he led a sophisticated satellite TV piracy ring that produced and sold thousands of hacked smart cards in the U.S. and Canada.

Martin Mullen, 50, was also ordered to pay DirecTV and its smart card provider NDS Ltd. $24 million in restitution. Mullen pled guilty in a federal court in Tampa, Florida last September to conspiracy to violate anti-piracy laws, and to entering the U.S. illegally after being deported on an unrelated matter years earlier.

According to court records, Mullen was an expert at cracking security on the smart cards DirecTV issues to subscribers to authorize access to television programming. In normal operation, a subscriber inserts the card into a slot in the DirectTV set top box, and a satellite signal from the company tells the receiver which channels, if any, the subscriber is allowed to watch, based on the unique identification number coded into each card.

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