Advanced Television

MultiChoice Africa and Irdeto piracy probe leads to arrests

January 24, 2013

Irdeto revealed it has been working undercover with MultiChoice Africa and the Botswana Police Serious Crime Squad to investigate and disrupt the illegal distribution of pay TV content in Africa. Together, the Irdeto Anti-Piracy and Forensics Unit and MultiChoice Africa Anti-Piracy Department continuously monitor for and investigate signs of pirate activity and illegal broadcast redistribution across the continent.

Just over one year ago in December 2011, a piracy operation fronting as a refrigerator sales and repair company was discovered to be extracting “control words” from MultiChoice Africa smartcards and then distributing them to consumers that had bought a pirate circumvention devices, such as Magicbox, Avatar, Hawk, Microbox and Eagle. Control word sharing (CWS) piracy poses a major threat to pay TV operators and broadcasters and occurs when a pirate steals and retransmits a regularly changing control word that is passed between a smart card and a set-top-box, allowing subscribers to watch TV content they have not paid for. In January 2012, investigations were launched and Botswana law enforcement was briefed.

Irdeto and MultiChoice Africa have revealed that the nearly year-long investigation has led to the arrest of two Chinese nationals in Gaborone, Botswana. The Botswana Police Serious Crime Squad, along with representatives from MultiChoice Africa, raided the premises of a pirate operation thought to be distributing illegal control words and selling Magicbox pirate circumvention devices to subscribers in Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. During the raid, the police found and confiscated Magicbox pirate circumvention devices (1800 units), computers, a laptop computer, a smartcard reader, MultiChoice Africa smartcards and a large amount of money.

Irdeto’s Senior Director of the Irdeto Anti-Piracy & Forensics Unit, said, “As long as there are consumers who are prepared to pay for illegal content, pirates will continue to try to hack encryption systems and turn a profit. One very effective way of addressing this form of piracy is to use technology to disrupt the pirate offering, thereby upsetting the pirate viewer and destroying the pirate credibility. Together with MultiChoice Africa, we will relentlessly fight these illegal businesses on the African continent, using technology and the law to its fullest extent.”

Categories: Articles, Content, Piracy