Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Satellite TV Hacker Tells His Story

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the spike-sent dept.

Hardware Hacking 160

Wired is running a story about Christopher Tarnovsky, the man who was accused of working for NDS, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., to sabotage a competitor's satellite TV system. Wired had a chance to speak with Tarnovsky and get his description of how the smart-card hacking war developed. Quoting: "Tarnovsky, who was known online as 'Big Gun,' says Ereiser offered him $20,000 to fix cards that were killed by ECMs, and he agreed. Each time NDS created a countermeasure, Tarnovsky would analyze the code and find a way to circumvent the countermeasure. He did it while working full-time as a software engineer for a semiconductor company in Massachusetts. 'I'd be at work and I'd check the IRC (channel) to see if they'd launched their Thursday countermeasure yet,' he says. 'It was like a chess game for me. I couldn't wait for them to do a countermeasure because I would counter it in minutes.' It wasn't long before NDS came courting. Tarnovsky had a contact at the company to whom he'd begun passing information about holes in its software, even supplying patches to fix them."

cancel ×

160 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

He'll make teh millions (0)

mungmaster2000 (1180731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606709)

...hax0ring da set-top boxes for 2009 DTV sWitChover!

Re:He'll make teh millions (0)

mungmaster2000 (1180731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606721)

I'd pay $200 to get the spice channel for making liquid explosion.

Motivation (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606737)

It was like a chess game for me. I couldn't wait for them to do a countermeasure...
Anyone developing software designed to keep content locked down needs to realize that this is the kind of person they're up against. It's hard to beat that kind of motivation. Forcing an arms race is almost always going to be counter-productive to protecting your business, this company figured that out.

Re:Motivation (0, Troll)

mungmaster2000 (1180731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606767)

Thanks for a statement of the bleeding obvious. Everyone knows that locking-down content is utterly futile, in comparison to the provisions of a well-implemented digital rights management system.

Re:Motivation (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607007)

Everyone knows that locking-down content is utterly futile, in comparison to the provisions of a well-implemented digital rights management system.


Oh yes, as if DRM is unbreakable! One quote that I have heard (don't remember where) but it was "The only DRM that doesn't get cracked are the ones that no one cares about the content on them". Just about every DRM scheme known to mankind has been broken in some way or another. Honestly, the less DRM/locked-down-content we have, the less problems you have and the less people are going to be out to crack/hack it (just look at the PS3, because Sony made installing Linux on it very easy, there has been a smaller effort to crack it compared to say, the Wii)

Re:Motivation (1, Offtopic)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607813)

Yeah, lets spend loads of money making sure nobody can crack our nut.

Then, we'll spend another load of money to make sure everyone knows we have grown an uncrackable nut.

We'll have checks at the doors, just to make sure nobody makes it in with a giant nutcracker, thus negating all traditional... HEY! WHO LET IN THE GIANT SQUIRREL? FUCK, HE IS CRACKING OUR NUTS!

Re:Motivation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607933)

I guess one of the DRMs is the protection on DVD Audio disks.

Re:Motivation (0)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607839)

just look at the PS3, because Sony made installing Linux on it very easy, there has been a smaller effort to crack it compared to say, the Wii)

Or it could have something to do with there being twice as many Wiis sold as PS3s [nexgenwars.com] .

Re:Motivation (1)

joolzg (887552) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607947)

Thats why in Europe the most pirated tv channels always have pron, SkyTv has all the same movies and no port and no pirate cards. Hackers know people pay will pay extra for channels that have regular port. joolz

Re:Motivation (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607073)

Everyone knows that locking-down content is utterly futile, in comparison to the provisions of a well-implemented digital rights management system
Your post is at 1, so I suspect I'm not the only one who wonders what you meant.

How does one "lock-down" content without some sort of DRM?

If one can't, did you really mean to point out that poorly implemented DRM fails faster than tough DRM? Sorry for the repetition, but that would be pretty bleeding obvious.

Re:Motivation (-1, Flamebait)

mungmaster2000 (1180731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606789)

Oh and one more thing...Anyone cowardly enough to hack these systems, is just making it easier for the terrorists to exploit our critical infrastructure. (Broadcast television of course).
If I'm sounding like a troll, then let me say this to retort: You're batman.

Re:Motivation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607225)

If I'm sounding like a troll, then let me say this to retort: You're batman.

I dun get it, but iz fnny.

Re:Motivation (3, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606885)

This arms race deserves some indirect praise. It's like an creationist debating with an atheist on philosophical grounds, rather than the creationist just saying some crap like, "But the bible said X, therefore you are wrong and I am shutting you out." Everybody wins in a healthy pissing contest. It's a bad analogy, I took a cue from this [slashdot.org] guy.

Re:Motivation (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607201)

I think that you are right. One of the groups who benefits the most are the companies that want to apply DRM to their content. Some will learn up front how much the arms race will cost them. Others will learn what is probably the point at which they should stop trying, and yet other still will learn that it is a futile business tact, and that modifying their business plan is both cheaper and garners more and loyal customers.

Additionally, with the arms race comes better code, not simply for the DRM, but for the operating systems and applications that work with the content. It is indeed evolution of both content, DRM, and code in general. The arms race in this case (not that of nuclear arms) is the catalyst of evolution, and betterment for all users in the long term. I would never call such hackers bad, simply the opposite side of the DRM coin that MUST exist, as without it, the other side cannot exist either.

Try keeping all the coins in your pocket/drawer/whatever so that you only ever see the heads side sometime. It's far easier to just allow any side to show in it's turn. It kind of makes things like pockets, coin purses, piggy banks work well.

Re:Motivation (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607327)

Not to mention that it's also much cheaper than sic'ing the lawyers on each other ;)

Re:Motivation (1)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608479)

It's a security lesson. If you want to secure something, you need to use multiple forms of the best quality security you can find -- not one poorly thought out implementation.

What this vendor essentially did was give a hacker training lesson to this guy.

Re:Motivation (1)

puck01 (207782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606941)

Content protection sucks for us consumers and I agree that its an uphill battle for companies to do this. However, I'm not sure all is lost for the content protectors out there. Last time I check the P4 and greater smart cards used by directv have not been cracked despite a huge demand for it. If I'm wrong please correct me.

Re:Motivation (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607091)

However, I'm not sure all is lost for the content protectors out there.

It certainly is... DRM is an inherently untenable system.

Last time I check the P4 and greater smart cards used by directv have not been cracked despite a huge demand for it. If I'm wrong please correct me.

You're wrong about the "huge demand". Since DishNet is wide open (and they were even nice enough to use standard DVB-S protocol which any $50 tuner can receive) there isn't much reason for anyone to bother with DirecTV.

Re:Motivation (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607735)

Well, DRM on ephemeral data isn't untenable. You don't really have to make it unbreakable. You just have to make it take long enough that you can't break it on the fly. Most people aren't willing to watch TV on a five minute delay while their computer queues up the encrypted data and attempts to determine the keys....

Unless, of course, your goal for DRM on the ephemeral data is preventing people from recording it... in which case, yeah, it is just as untenable for ephemeral content as it is for any other content....

Re:Motivation (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608739)

Most people aren't willing to watch TV on a five minute delay while their computer queues up the encrypted data and attempts to determine the keys....
Depends what you're after; it might be annoying if you're channel-hopping or watching a live sports event. However, if you're just wanting to get vast amounts of entertainment which is already pre-recorded (and possibly years old) anyway, it might not be that big a deal- just leave it running in the background. That's not necessarily any worse than having to download it, which many people do quite happily.

Re:Motivation (5, Insightful)

donweel (304991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607405)

Using a hacker of this caliber is a double edged sword. If you don't keep him busy and entertained he's going to start looking for something else to do.

Re:Motivation (4, Insightful)

Stellian (673475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607971)

Anyone developing software designed to keep content locked down needs to realize that this is the kind of person they're up against.
I don't understand why people insist DRM is an unattainable notion. It must be all those faulty software DRM schemes that were all eventually broken. Well guess what, hardware DRM is alive and kicking - and working, when implemented correctly. Hardware hacks are orders of magnitude harder to perform than software ones.

Economically, there are two trade-offs in DRM:
1. the cost of the hardware manufacturer to implement the DRM scheme, compared to the cost of the content he's trying to distribute
2. the cost for the DRM wannabe hacker (cracks, mod chips etc.), compared to just buying a legit copy.

There's no logic fault in saying that, for a certain type of content, with a certain cost, these two tradeoffs allow a DRM system to survive. That is, to cost small enough to implement as to not increase the cost of the content significantly, and high enough to circumvent, that the users rather pay than circumvent. This is not the same as "unbreakable", especially for the types of passionate hackers like Mr. Tarnovsky, but that's irrelevant.

Note that the 2. cost can benefit tremendously from an economy of scale, if it's enough for a single user to circumvent and distribute to all others. For example when the content is in a platform independent format (distribute decrypted music), or when the DRM system is implemented in software (distribute software crack).

This is not the case with, say, live High definition TV. Maybe someone can hack his topbox and have unlimited access to live Sports coverage, but he can't feed that content to me fast enough to be useful. So I need to hack my own topbox, and that could cost much more than the subscription to the sports channel.

Also, this is not the case with a console game, where I need, again, to perform my own hardware hacks. A mod chip costs significantly today, and when the GPU, CPU, RAM and DRM chip will be integrated on a single dye, a mod chip will be impossible, and one would need to hack his own silicon.

Re:Motivation (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608683)

Also, this is not the case with a console game, where I need, again, to perform my own hardware hacks. A mod chip costs significantly today, and when the GPU, CPU, RAM and DRM chip will be integrated on a single dye, a mod chip will be impossible, and one would need to hack his own silicon.

I sometimes wonder if turning a bit of a blind eye to the console mod chip market is in the interests of the console makers. If they are selling their consoles at an outright loss (which they allegedly do initially) then obviously they are losing money if people are copying games rather than purchasing them, but eventually the manufacturing costs come down enough that this isn't true.

How many less people would have bought a ps/ps2 if there wasn't a mod chip available for it? We have a ps2 which isn't modded, and most of the games we have bought have been really cheap and/or included extra hardware (sing star, buzz, etc). But, we bought that after the ps3 had been out for a while so it wasn't really expensive.

I guess the question I have is, if Vendor A released a console with completely solid state unhackable DRM, and simultaneously Vendor B released a console with no DRM whatsoever, and both consoles were otherwise pretty much equal in terms of features, who would 'win'? More people might buy B because they can illegally copy the games, but the game developers might develop more for A for precisely the same reason... but if there would no good games for B then nobody would buy it, but if nobody was buying A then the developers might not bother with developing games for it... it would be an interesting race to watch :)

OLD (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606751)

This was a good story when I read it last year too.

Re:OLD (1, Funny)

andrewa (18630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608547)

This was a good story when I read it last year too.
This type of comment was good when I read it 10 years ago too.

Impressive (2, Informative)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606777)

That video was pretty damn cool. I didn't know chips could be disassembled that way.

Re:Impressive (-1, Offtopic)

mungmaster2000 (1180731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606855)

And I didn't think that I could pull on your momma's tits without her shitting all over the floor. I mean honestly....I've stepped-over better-looking women than that, to go jerk-off in the corner.

Re:Impressive (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606965)

Someone feeling inadequate today?

Re:Impressive (-1, Offtopic)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607169)

If I had mod points, I'd rate this funny, simply because it made me laugh because it was just out from left field.

That aint nothing. (4, Informative)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606913)

The guys at Flylogic really make some high quality micro chip reverse engineering [flylogic.net] (I was going to say porn).

Tarnovsky == Flylogic (4, Informative)

kju (327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608513)

Christopher Tarnovsky, the guy portrayed in the article, IS Flylogic. Yes, this is slashdot and nobody reads the article, but it even links to flylogic.net.

Re:Impressive (1)

MetaDFF (944558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607179)

Chipworks [chipworks.com] based in Ottawa Canada specializes in chip reverse engineering for patent litigation and technical analysis. They have reverse engineering reports ranging from the Xbox360 to CPUs to analog chips.
They also have a neat chip art [chipworks.com] gallery.

Who wants to track down which company (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606783)

He did it while working full-time as a software engineer for a semiconductor company in Massachusetts.
Who wants to track down which company that is? I'm surprised there's even one semiconductor company in Massachusetts (it's about as far away as you can get from the tech centers in the US), so it shouldn't be that hard to figure out.

Re:Who wants to track down which company (5, Funny)

az1324 (458137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606851)

Yeah cause there's no tech schools there or anything.

Re:Who wants to track down which company (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606911)

You mean there are schools in the middle of nowhere? Omigosh!

Just because there are schools there doesn't mean that there are tech companies. There are plenty of universities located in the middle of nowhere.

Re:Who wants to track down which company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606951)

Uh Like MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Boy there sure are some winners on /. anymore.

Re:Who wants to track down which company (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606955)

There are plenty of universities located in the middle of nowhere.

Especially this one [arizona.edu] and this one [arizona.edu] .
Much(partying and aerospace) can be done in the middle of nowhere.

Re:Who wants to track down which company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606985)

Yeah, cos Massachusetts is absolutely the "middle of nowhere." Ugh, the ignorance around here sometimes is just mindnumbingly staggering...

Re:Who wants to track down which company (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606987)

Wow. Two AC's who know nothing! Let me think, Massachusetts: MIT Worcester Polytechnic Institute Harvard BU BC Northeastern Tufts UofM-pick one yeah, there's a few tech companies coming out of those.

Re:Who wants to track down which company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607889)

yeah, and they all move out to california with all the other tech companies

kinda like this guy the company may be whatever makes it a mass semiconductor company but he works in san diego

mass may have tech schools like the ones you list but their students all leave to go to california to find jobs

Re:Who wants to track down which company (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608743)

I'm surprised there's even one semiconductor company in Massachusetts (it's about as far away as you can get from the tech centers in the US)

Yeah. [mit.edu] Right. [businessweek.com] No technology at all in Massachusetts.

Other uses for his techniques? (5, Interesting)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606837)

Wow, can we get this guy to decode some of the Bluray keys used? Break HDCP? His method is pretty straight forward, easy to follow, and looks fool proof. Expose layers in the chip and read the data directly. I don't see how manufactures can stop this. As long as the key is physically somewhere in the hardware, it should be possible to access it. I guess the reason this isn't done more often is because of the expense of the high powered microscope, toxic chemicals, and fume hood.

Re:Other uses for his techniques? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607093)

How about cracking CableCARD? I don't really need free digital cable - I can afford to just pay for it - but I wouldn't mind being able to record digital cable on my MythTV box without needing a set-top box and an IR link.

Re:Other uses for his techniques? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607319)

I don't believe there is anything left in HDCP to be broken. As far as I know you can buy boxes that'll remove it (or rather, the speak the necessary HDCP exchange out of one end but don't require it on the other). As for Blu-Ray, not sure it is worth it. It sounds like AnyDVD does a fine job getting by the protections. I don't know how it works, but if you can get what you need in software, why bother with hardware? As a practical matter, if you were to do this the idea would be to wait until there have been a lot of Blu-ray players sold, then get the keys out of popular models. As it stands, it might be feasible for them to invalidate the keys and recall the players for new one since there have been few players sold. Hard to do if you are instead talking 50 million players or something.

Re:Other uses for his techniques? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608673)

I think I've heard that after a certain number of keys are cracked there is an opening for an attack on the master key. However, as you indicate if you pick some very popular players (preferably one without good support for firmware updates) you're going to make the studios look very bad if they revoke them.

Now we need the max headroom video Pirate to tell (2, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606905)

Now we need the max headroom video Pirate to tell his story.

Interns? (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606923)

Is he taking interns? I'll go clean his house for free in exchange for knowledge.

Re:Interns? (2, Interesting)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607445)

He's not a scientist, you know; he didn't discover all these things himself. Just learn chemistry and electronics (from books or classes), then go work at a semiconductor manufacturing plant on the assembly line for a while to find out how the chips are assembled and what chemicals are used. You should be well able to figure out what solvents to use at each stage to get a chip apart, and you'll be able to recognize the components on the chip from your electronics knowledge. It's not a simple matter, but that's why there's only a few like him. It's well within your reach if you really want it.

Accountability? (1, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606933)

So, when does Murdoch go on trial?

Re:Accountability? (4, Insightful)

arazor (55656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606963)

Never. Because crimes are only for the poor.

Re:Accountability? (3, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607043)

Silly rabbit -- It's criminal charges which are only for the poor.

Re:Accountability? (4, Insightful)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607023)

Why would Murdoch go on trial? NDS (the Murdoch company) was found guilty only of theft of satellite signals and fined like 1500 dollars. There was no proof for piracy or the like. If you want to put Murdoch on trial for something like that, that one of his many many companies did, then you're expecting the sky. No one is dumb enough to try that. There's zero chance of Murdoch actually being found guilty of anything related to this. Hell, I'm willing to wager that Murdoch himself might have actually been ignorant of this.

Re:Accountability? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607321)

So claiming I don't know what's going on in my company cleans me of any guilt when my company breaks the law?

Re:Accountability? (5, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607363)

That's pretty much the whole idea of having a corporation.

Re:Accountability? (2, Insightful)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608227)

That's pretty much the whole idea of having a corporation.
A good reason why the corporation shouldn't enjoy the same rights as the individual. Punishments can only realistically be financial and this can be easily swallowed by large corporations. There is no threat of serious jail time (with the associated beatings and unwanted "dates" in the shower room) or indeed any risk of death row - how many large corporations have been closed down or broken up by the government recently?

Re:Accountability? (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608259)

Well, the government did basically nuke and pave Arthur Andersen as part of the Enron fallout, so it can happen. You're right that penalties are frequently too light, though.

My point is that agitating for direct consequences to the top officers is generally a bad idea. If they have personally committed crimes then of course they should answer for them, but they shouldn't be forced to be personally responsible for the whole organization. Many slashdotters may find this difficult to believe (not including you, I think, but lots of others), but the limitation of liability is a hugely beneficial aspect of corporations which has greatly enriched humanity and sped human progress. I'd definitely agree with harsher penalties or reduced rights, but making top officers personally responsible for the actions of the corporation will just destroy incentives to take risk and innovate legally.

Re:Accountability? (1)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608357)

I would agree largely regarding personal responcibility (try as you might you will never know every single thing that happens in a large corporation) except in cases of personal involvement. What I was observing was that corporations get the benefits of being a "person" while not always being held accountable to the same standards (or so it seems). There is perhaps no easy answer - while some greater form of oversight may be fairer can we take yet more levels of expensive government bureaucracy?

Re:Accountability? (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608447)

Well.. Arthur Andersen is a LLP, not a corporation. And the government didnt really nuke and pave it either. Yes, there was a conviction for obstruction of justice. However, that conviction was overturned. As far as I know, penalties assessed by government in that case: not a thing. the company surrendered their licenses to practice voluntarily, and no one wants to hire them anyway.

Re:Accountability? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608515)

Hold it right there. How should I interpret making top officers personally responsible for the actions of the corporation will just destroy incentives to take risk?

I dunno about you, but in my opinion, the risk of getting tried and convicted is the whole basic idea behind the law, and why people follow it. If there is no risk of this happening, hell, why should I give a rat's ass about legal or illegal? Yes, it's illegal, yes, I can't be prosecuted, hell, why care about it at all?

Re:Accountability? (2, Interesting)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609147)

"Making top officers personally responsible for the actions of the corporation will just create incentives to take risk and innovate legally."

Fixed that.
  With a level,legal, and ethical playing field, the players just have to follow the rules and everything will work out. It's called free enterprise, but at this time it's rigged by the cheaters. Will banning steroids ruin professional baseball? I think not.

Re:Accountability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608709)

It doesn't clean you of any guilt, but it does grant you an assumption of innocence.

Like it or not, if you want to indict Murdoch, you've got to have some *proof* that he did something wrong; just saying "he hasn't proven his innocence" isn't enough.

Re:Accountability? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607629)

I have to reply to myself to clarify things. I was not trolling, I was asking a question. I am interested, since he is a man of questionable character with questionable intent. Thank the Slashdot Admins for poor labeling. Then a guy who says "Never. Because crimes are only for the poor." as INSIGHTFUL, as if low socioeconomic status is where criminals are found. Far from truth, and far from insightful.

Re:Accountability? (1)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607805)

> Then a guy who says "Never. Because crimes are only for the poor." as INSIGHTFUL, as if low socioeconomic status is where criminals are found. Far from truth, and far from insightful.

No, he's saying that only poor people get either a) busted, or b) prosecuted. The rich manage to skate. Witness the laughable "punishment" Paris Hilton suffered. An ordinary person would've actually had to do the time, with no special treatment. Need I mention OJ? (oops, just did...)

Re:Accountability? (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608245)

As far as i know Paris Hilton did actually end up in jail for about 20 days. I don't know the typical sentences, is 20 days jail too short for what she did?

Anyway why bother so much about Paris Hilton?

How about George Bush - anyone actually remember the WMD claims? There are lots of people dead because of him.
Or Diebold - anyone remember those voting machines? The best democracy money can buy :)..

Now that's what I call getting away with it.

GNAA Penis Rocket To The Moon Project (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607029)

That's nothing, I just saved a ton of money on my nigger insurance by switching to GNAA:

http://www.gnaa.us/penis-rocket-to-the-moon-project/nigger-insurance.html [www.gnaa.us]

P.S. I just watched a granny suck and fuck a dude at: http://www.tube8.com/ [tube8.com]

I Thank yo=u for your time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607119)

surprisJe to the Others what to elect1on to the faster than this have left in

Shocking! (3, Funny)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607183)

I was shocked when I read TFA and found that it didn't easily summarise as "I spent ages hacking the system, then got bored because there was nothing worth watching".

The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607265)

I spent years hacking satellite television, from the early days, the glory days of the H and HU cards and then left the scene when DTV killed with the P4 card and lawsuits. I've written my own 3Ms and emulators. What Chris has done in this video really is the ultimate holy grail of smart card hacking. The security layer he is referring to, at least on NDS cards, is sort of a sticky layer that when you attempt to pull off the coating to access the bus, it simply rips up many of the thin wires on the chip and you're SOL. This is enough to discourage casual hackers and those without good resources. It also, as he mentions late in the video, eliminates the need for using "glitching", which was accomplished using a specially programmed Atmel chip and some software, to attempt to oscillate the voltage in such a manner that allows you to read/write to the card without having a properly signed packet. Dumping ROMs is exceptionally difficult to do, even with the thoroughly hacked HU cards, and he can just casually do it with his setup. Makes me think he could also dump the ASIC, something even in the heyday of DTV hacking, was never accomplished. This would eliminate the need for an access card at all- once you've dumped the ROMs, got a valid EEPROM, all you need to do is emulate the ASIC and opcodes for the processor (which on the HU card was a Texas Instruments TMS370 chip with a modified instruction set).

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (2, Funny)

liquidf (1146307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607357)

don't forget about the flux capacitor, you insensitive clod!

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (5, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607401)

Makes me think he could also dump the ASIC, something even in the heyday of DTV hacking, was never accomplished.
You can't dump an ASIC--- that's the very reason they exist in this application. It's not code, it's an Application Specific Integrated Circuit. It's essentially an unknown array of logic gates. The best you can do it try to reverse engineer it, and short of an electron microscope, you probably couldn't.

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607581)

The best you can do it try to reverse engineer it, and short of an electron microscope, you probably couldn't.
This guy is hacking smart cards with a hood, some off the shelf chemicals, a very precise scratching tool and a pile of computer & electronics gear.

Now realize that one of these days, resources like electron microscopes will be within the grasp of entities that are not a Government, University, or Corporation. It only takes one rich misanthrope...

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (2, Informative)

Forbman (794277) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607761)

I forget the company, but at the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry), they had a table top electron microscope there 3 or 4 months ago. It's a Netherlands company that makes it. I wish I remembered more about it, but the pricing on it was probably in the $10-50K region for the one they had there.

Kind of "google earth" in reverse was its software interface for looking at stuff. Slicker than snot.

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608795)

a Netherlands company
Dutch is the word you are looking for; a Dutch company. The word Dutch has noting to do with Germans by the way.

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (1)

hairykrishna (740240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608633)

One of these days' has been here for a while. Buy one 2nd hand, 6 grand: http://www.labx.com/v2/adsearch/detail3.cfm?adnumb=356848 [labx.com] That one's possibly broken but you can get a fully functional one for ~20 grand, second hand, these days.

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607781)

The ASIC could be 'logic probed' in the same way the ATMEL 2313 was with the lock bits set on the WT2, and the creation of the SU/SU2, once completed, an emulator coded.

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607979)

I think the people hacking dishnetwork right now can prove you wrong. Is fun watching how they come out with the fix by just looking at the communication between the card and the IRD, then they emulate those logic gates(MAPS).

Re:The Video Shows the Holy Grail of Sat Hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607945)

Why don't you come back and help again, http://dvbn.happysat.org/ [happysat.org] drop by the linux section. We could always use more coders. We like to use DVB cards to record directly to HDD in full mpeg2 or mpeg4 TS.

Some lawyer - what's the theory on airwaves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607291)

Can someone give a brief summary as to why it is NOT ok to use radio waves permeating my property however I see fit? (Even if that means decrypting commercial programing?)

Re:Some lawyer - what's the theory on airwaves? (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607317)

Heh, I would use a scientific argument...

Well, your honor, I thought I was working on a SETI project, you know, searching for ET. Damn if I didn't discover it was just HBO, not aliens, after all.

Re:Some lawyer - what's the theory on airwaves? (2, Funny)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607383)

'Cause it's piracy, matey. Signed, L. J. Silver, Esq.

What an arrogant douchebag (3, Interesting)

Serapth (643581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607379)

I mean...

Since NDS fired him he's been consulting for two semiconductor companies and a manufacturer of dongle tokens, but he misses his life in electronic warfare. If NDS doesn't want him, he says he'd be happy to work for Nagrastar -- jumping sides once again. "I could design a whole entire chip for them like I did for NDS," he says. "NDS thinks today that their technology is superior to everybody else's and it probably is, because they're 17 years ahead of Nagra technologically. But Nagra could catch up overnight if they used my services. "I'm a very valuable asset as far as smart-card technology goes," he adds. "I know everything about (NDS) as far as their intellectual property models go."

Then again, its Wired magazine. They exist purely to create arrogant douchebags, dont they?

Re:What an arrogant douchebag (1, Insightful)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607395)

Is it actually arrogance if he's that good?

Re:What an arrogant douchebag (1)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607953)

It is actually arrogance, and he is that good, and he wants a new benefactor. He does not intend for the benefactor to be either of these companies. Again... he is arrogant, but to me it looks like he has earned it.

Re:What an arrogant douchebag (2, Insightful)

Just because I'm an (847583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608615)

"It ain't bragging if you can back it up" - Dizzy Dean

Re:What an arrogant douchebag (1)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607943)

He's already cleared a major legal inquisition, and he considers himself untouchable in the short term, and he is. This is not an application to Nagra, who hould never hire him. This is an application to everyone else. If I had interest in his special skills, I would contract him as a "consultant."

I would also contract an expert in the field of security threat mitigation, and have Bruce Willis detained. /US Govt

$1500 Fine (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607399)

Wait a minute here. Wasn't DirecTV trying to get people to settle for upwards of $3K for stealing signals, and suing them for absurd amounts over 6 figures.

Is the end result of all that litigation a $1500 fine? Or is this somehow different?

Tarnovsky would analyze the code ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607523)

for(i=0, inumCountermeasures, i++)
  decompile()
  analyze()
  deployreverseattack()

Elegant, yet simple!

 

Re:Tarnovsky would analyze the code ... (1)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608053)

1) (^script)
2) itsatrap =>(be Christopher Tarnovsky) + (publicity)
3) ??? = (Christopher Tarnovsky's plan)
4) Profit

/he has figured out "???"
/else go fail

Those are techniques used in failure analysis (4, Informative)

ciscoguy01 (635963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607909)

The techniques Tarnovski used to burn the top off with acid is failure analysis stuff.
I knew a guy who worked at a chip manufacturer and that's what he did. Failure analysis.
Burn the top of the chip off with what he called "formic acid" (I think, this was over 20 years ago) which "didn't hurt the chip".
They would then look at it under a microscope and try to determine what had failed.
The second microscope Tarnovsky was using looked to be a wire bonder.
It welds wires on by hand, with a pantograph type positioner.
So you can connect the chip to the leads, for example in the package, common for eproms. You can see the little leads in the window of older eproms.
But hackers can also use those to reconnect the last link of a programmable chip like a PAL that has had the security fuses blown after programming. Then you can just read the program out of the chip. OOPS, there goes that programmable security.
I had a chance to get one of those once, but it was a big one. Too big for me.
The little tabletop one in the video would be neat. I would grab one of those if it ever presented itself.
Tarnovski used that wire bonder to grab the signals off the chip internally, where they are actually running.
Those smartcards are likely a serial device, but if you can get back to where the data bus is parallel maybe that is before the inherent security.
The guy is obviously good. Wonder if he has a college degree?

uh, this is a PR fluff piece (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608309)

There's nothing unusual, given sufficiently powerful microscopes and positioners (and that is really the only reason why thousands of people aren't doing this already - any satellite TV hacker knows the process), about being able to attach a probe to the inside of a chip to read from it in vivo.

What makes this guy unique is a complete lack of loyalty - he works for the highest bidder, and even then is ready to stab them in the back when his contract is complete. He's analogous to a lawyer- knowing that both sides are equally corrupt, he can take advantage by selling his services to both sides, so that no-one ends up any better off at the end. Except Tarnovsky.

The one application-specific challenge here is removing the "security layer" without ripping apart the layer underneath. But given that this guy's outstanding skill appears to be social engineering, I'd say it's more likely he had access to insiders who developed the chips and could advise him on what they used in failure analysis.

The only moral of the story here is that an arrogant, ethics-free mercenary with access to any tool he pleases is given way too much admiration in the twenty first century.

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (1, Funny)

Arimus (198136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608425)

The only moral of the story here is that an arrogant, ethics-free mercenary with access to any tool he pleases is given way too much admiration in the twenty first century.

Just like a lawyer or a politician then (though in the case of the Which Blair Project he meets both lawyer and politician requirements, and depending on your politicial views probably ethics free, and certainly arrogant.

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (4, Interesting)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608625)

The only moral of the story here is that an arrogant, ethics-free mercenary with access to any tool he pleases is given way too much admiration in the twenty first century.

Says who? You? You're just a pompous, self-righteous, moralist dickweed. Don't impose your anachronistic opinions on the rest of us. We don't agree with you.

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608677)

Says who? You? You're just a pompous, self-righteous, moralist dickweed. Don't impose your anachronistic opinions on the rest of us. We don't agree with you.
Easy, tiger, no-one was imposing their opinions on you; though it's precisely what you've done in writing "rest of us/we" for "me/I".

Now, if you have no problem working with a community, then be paid by one organisation to use the information obtained from that community to break their work, while using a contact in another organisation to harm that other organisation, and then when you're done offer yourself to work against the initial organisation, then I hope you are never given a position of substantial responsibility - or, hell, even find a partner, when your moral code will allow you to walk away without remorse the moment you find something "better".

On the other hand, your angrily labelling me "pompous, self-righteous, moralist" sounds to me like an attempt to repress your feelings of guilt at your unscrupulous lifestyle - so there may be hope for you.

And even though I'm atheist, I wanted to type that as "the Lord has not given up on you yet" just to watch you get that little bit more wound up, but then you'd write off a sense of morality (something you already consider reserved for "dickweeds") to religious fervor.

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608731)

You imposed your opinions on the entirety of humanity when you stated in absolutist terms that nihilists are given "way too much admiration in the 20th century." I was actually less imposing by identifying myself with a group of like-minded people ("we") instead of just stating opinions as self-evident fact.

"An attempt to repress your feelings of guilt ..." man, your smugness never ends, does it? That armchair pop-psychology just shows that you really, really want to get under my skin and you'll grasp at straws to do it.

I think the only part you've gotten right here is that you should be afraid -- very, very afraid. The tide of modernism is eroding everything you hold dear.

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608821)

You imposed your opinions on the entirety of humanity when you stated in absolutist terms
When you leave (enter?) college you'll probably learn some basic skills on interpreting writing. If someone says "strawberry icecream tastes great" they aren't imposing an opinion on the entirety of humanity by stating in absolutist terms, or whatever you're on about - it's implied that it's an opinion of the writer. On the other hand, when you say "we", you're explicitly referencing some group of people - so the reader must ask "which group?" Obviously you're not just talking about those who agree with you, because then "we" is redundant - you might as well use "I". Without further information, I can only assume you're talking about Slashdot readers. But clearly not everyone reading Slashdot is an immoral mercenary, so I can't go further than concluding you're arrogantly assuming otherwise, and call you on it.

that nihilists are given "way too much admiration in the 20th century."
21st. Remember to use quote marks only when you're quoting people, not when you're rephrasing. It can be especially embarrassing when you get the message wrong.

That basic lesson in reading comprehension, logic and writing skill out of the way, I'll do my best to search for some new content to your post. You say something about "nihilism" and the "tide of modernism" eroding everything I "hold dear". I guess this is your way of saying "I'm an angry young man who has been betrayed in life and feel that the way forward in the world is to treat others the same - fuck you for disagreeing".

Really, I'm sorry that you feel the need to take such a depressing attitude toward life, but there are some wonderful humans out there, and if you really didn't care you'd be far more apathetic than your two posts suggest. Perhaps, if you're able, take a walk this afternoon, enjoy the breeze, admire the works of man and nature, and be grateful for what you do have and the few who helped you get there.

you really, really want to get under my skin
No - I already indicated that I was tempted to do so (hence my aborted tongue-in-cheek comment about the Lord not giving up on you). But I'd prefer to just shake your hand and tell you that you can be happier in life if you feel positive about yourself and your fellow man rather than hating and getting the urge to use and destroy.

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608773)

P.S. Everyone should walk away from their partner when they find something "better." Let's say I marry someone, and they turn out to be physically abusive ... should I stay with them out of blind commitment?

What you fail to realize is that most people walk away when they find something "better" -- some people are just more aware of the fact that a healthy relationship is something you cultivate over time, and that the hot blonde strutting down the street is probably not "better" than your 5-year marriage, even if she's prettier than your spouse (or richer, or got better SAT scores, or whatever tickles your fancy).

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608915)

P.S. Everyone should walk away from their partner when they find something "better." Let's say I marry someone, and they turn out to be physically abusive ... should I stay with them out of blind commitment?
Hm, immediate over-simplification of the problem...

What you fail to realize is that most people walk away when they find something "better"
...assumes humans all behave according to some ideal of enlightened self-interest...

prettier than your spouse (or richer, or got better SAT scores, or whatever tickles your fancy).
...and reduce everything to metrics...

Oh OK, I'll do the pop-psychology thing if you insist: I'll put $20 on your being a freshman (sophomore? you're carefully avoiding over-use of jargon while analysing the problem like a fledgling economist) economics student with some sort of social development disorder. As mentioned in previous post, you've probably been betrayed at some point in the past and you find refuge in the cold underbelly of the Internet - you're probably a regular at 4chan or similar.

And I stick by my implication that you put way too much passion in even your three posts I've read so far to come even close to being nihilist.

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609157)

"The only moral of the story here is that an arrogant, ethics-free mercenary with access to any tool he pleases is given way too much admiration in the twenty first century."

Having that level of ability and the power it gives you would be wonderful, so why not admire it?

As for "mercenary", being one forfeits the usual (illogical) "ideology exemption" for certain conduct.
So what? Why should we buy into that?

Re:uh, this is a PR fluff piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609241)

Having that level of ability and the power it gives you would be wonderful, so why not admire it?
If you mean having that number of toys on your workstation would be wonderful, err, if I wanted to go into chip fab I'd have all that equipment and a lot more. If you mean the level of intellectual ability, see OP - the guy's not doing much new: he's just not allowing moral considerations to get in the way of what he perceives as achievement. He's an engineer with the right tools, not a scientist.

Anyway, I don't admire raw ability any more than I admire skin colour - I care only about what people do with the talents they're "given".
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?