This is classic corporate espionage/sabotage at its finest. Dish Network is accusing News Corp.—which used to have a 39 percent stake in DirecTV and still provides its security tech—of hiring hacker Christopher Tarnovsky to break into Dish’s network, steal the security codes, and use them to make pirated cards to flood the black market. It sounds insane, but Tarnovsky admitted in court he was paid James Bond villain style, with US$20,000 cash payments mailed from Canada hidden inside “electronic devices.”
He says that he was just hired to write pirate programs to make DirecTV’s own network more secure, but one of his projects for News Corp., the “stinger,” can talk to any smart card in the world. Another hacker claims that he bragged about using the stinger with News Corps.’s people to reprogram a bunch of Dish’s cards, but Tarnovsky claims he’s being set up to take the fall.