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Sky Digital hacked - Not quite !!

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Pssst - Wanna buy a funny looking box

26th August 2002

It seems a strange box is currently doing the rounds and everything may be topsy-turvy in the Hackers v Sky battle, but there's a catch that probably won't be mentioned as you are tempted to be parted with your hard earned cash.

Box office movies, Premiership Football for FREE !! and all with a little box that looks suspiciously like a telephone extension socket with a PP3 battery, a few wires and a bit of tape, this sounds great, here's my 10 Quid (upwards !!), but wait, it will work forever won't it ? - It seems not.

In fact relatively speaking the fiendish box IS a telephone extension socket with a PP3 battery and a bit of tape (or heatshrink sleeving on the up-market models - who knows how much these will fetch !!). Reports tell us the hack is simple, select the box office movie or footie, plug the unit in to the Telephone plug from the Sky unit and Voila, happy bunnies all round - Not quite !!

We believe the hack works NOT by imitating Sky centres authorisation and bypassing the billing system as no doubt sellers of this device may try to make you believe, it simply tells the box (by placing a low voltage across it's modem terminals) that it tried to connect to Sky via the phone and got no reply, BUT Sky being the kind people they are wouldn't want you missing your favourite programme (especially at peak times) so the Digi-Box says to itself, No problem watch the movie or whatever now and we can sort out the bill later !!

Hang on you say - I was supposed to get free PPV movies and football forever but next time i plug my Digi-Box into my phone line and it talks to Sky i will be billed for whatever I've watched - This is not the stuff happy bunnies want to hear *?***? I want my 10 Quid back !!

Then the brain-wave hits, let's never plug the unit into the phone line again and i will never be billed from Sky - Right ? Unconfirmed reports say Sky has already seen the future and the dark clouds will start to appear as you try to watch PPV stuff.
Apparently your Digi-Box will get a bit lonely without talking to Sky, as your billing rolls up to reach a certain level (50 worth has been mooted but this is unconfirmed and could be a lot less) your Digi-Box will get so lonely that it will sulk and refuse you any more credit !! Sky wins (eventually) by way of a TKO.

It seems likely as has happened before on the Analogue satellite systems, Sky will quickly close the loophole (perhaps by way of software download ?) if it feels this hack is any threat to it's revenue stream, in the meantime here's a few interesting questions.

Scenario 1: Supposing a customer buys a second hand Digi-Box that has had it's credit used up (whatever it may be), takes it home, rings Sky for a viewing card then plugs the box into his phone line, Does it then give Sky it's history list of outstanding Pay Per View programmes ? if so a Bill will be raised - But who gets it ? Will the original owner of the Digi-Box pay in the end ?

Scenario 2: The customer eventually decides to plug the Digi-Box in after using up any free credit with his fiendish new device, when the bill arrives he rings Sky, "What's the deal billing me for stuff I've not seen ? Is it something to do with the second hand Digi-Box i purchased last week ? (as mine blew up)".
Who pays for the services used ?

Were sure there are many more questions but whatever happens there may be some real fireworks with blame being passed in any number of directions. Probably the best bet is to stand well back from the touch-paper and watch from the sidelines !!

Have YOUR say on this article, interesting points will be added to the bottom of this page. Please Click here and send via email.

Please do not contact this site for any technical details regarding the above boxes or where they may be purchased, you will NOT be answered.

Attempting to build / connect a unit may well cause serious damage to your Digi-box. It's just not worth facing a repair bill !!

This article was written to (hopefully) enlighten, we can not be held responsible for it's content or accuracy.

We seriously DO NOT condone any attempt to receive free pay per view services from Sky or anyone else via ANY means, Please remember - This is THEFT and you are liable to prosecution.


Hi, I've read your article on hacking ppv stuff on sky, i personally think that sky can be hacked using the same type of system that they use here in Spain to hack everything on VIA DIGITAL. I watch premiership football live on Saturdays and Sundays + all champions league stuff. They use a pirate card using the ATMEL 90S8515 chip, every card is matched to its own box as the box has to be read (connected to a pc) so it wont work in other receivers.

Hi. Actually, the "IOU" is stored on your smartcard, not the digibox. The trick is (so I've heard - I've not tried it myself coz I'm still in the 12 month "keep attached to a phoneline or get screwed" period) to build up the IOU to 50 by watching whatever you want, then, phone Sky up and say that your dog's chewed the card/some other lame excuse. So, Sky will send you a new card with no IOU used up on it and charge you a 10 replacement fee (in exchange for the 50 PPV you've watched!). Can't do this trick in first 12 month period though because it's part of your contract to keep the box connected to the phoneline. Hope this helps. :)

With reference to your story and the two questions at the bottom: The Purchase History is actually stored on the Viewing card not the box. So if you copy the Smart Card b4 u buy the channels to your pc you have a have a card image which contains no purchase history. Then, once you have watched your 'free' program, you simply copy the image back on to the card, and voila there is no history of you watching that program. The reason the cards contain this information and not the box is simple. You can test it very simply: Take your card round a friends house who also has sky. Do the 'free' channel thing with your viewing card in their box. Then, go home and plug your card into your box, and let the box dial sky, then wait for your bill. If the data was stored on the box, then your friend would have the bill, not you. Ps. This information is purely for educational purposes only. Kindest Regards

This does work to an extent, the only problem is..... your viewing card has 15 blocks on it which means you can book 15 movies on your card then it's full, so if your digibox does not do a callback within this time, your card fills up and you can't book anymore movies than that. What this phone socket does is let the digibox think that it's connected to a phone line because there is a electrical current going through it (which your phone line does). the only way to free up your card is by getting a call back, which in turn you will be charged for the movies you watched. Believe me coz I know!!!!!!!! not that I have done this myself. But if I want to keep my job I'll leave it at that. Cheers

Scenario 1
No, it's the viewing card that holds the info, once a card is "married" to a box the card cannot be taken to another one, that is one of the ways sky stopped the analogue problem.

Scenario 2
Once again No the card holds the information. and sky CAN tell how much of a PPV movie you watched but not a customer service rep, it has to be escalated. sky works on a 2 strike mode, they will let you off with 2 loads of booked movies but thats it!!!!!

Lets say you get yourself a second hand sky box and its knocked off line you could possibly remove the lid and run a screwdriver along the data input port pins top right will the box go into standby mode then when power applied will log the box onto basic subscription. Now say you really study your card would your serial no be voltages at certain reader pins if a set of common voltage were applied to give the correct outputs would a certain French - Japan processor turn on a encode decode signal who knows this would be against the law

There is a newer crack to stop pay per view from being billed out from your DigiBox. That is to find the secret menu where you program the box with the phone number that dials out to Sky. If this number is changed, say to the number the box is dialling FROM, then an engaged tone will be logged in the box and it will assume the servers are busy and will dial again later. I've only heard about this and I cannot give the codes for the menu as I don't have them. Honest! It will have the same effect as building up debt on your card I imagine.

I read the article with interest. If this works surely all you have to do is go into the installer menu (01select) and then in telephone dial up properties tell the box to dial a '9' before any outgoing calls. This would certainly ensure that it would be unable to contact Sky ?

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