SaskTel Digital Cable Box Hacked? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 2007-03-05, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2
Exclamation SaskTel Digital Cable Box Hacked?

First off I must say that I am not looking to find out how to hack a cable box. I need to know if it's possible for someone to do this without the owners of the box knowing.

Someone (not my husband nor I) has rented movies from our SaskTel DB220 box. The thing is, they were rented when neither of us were home, and no one else has a key to our house, or the password to our cable box. My husband and I can prove that we weren't home at the times the movies were rented, a couple were rented when we weren't even in town. If we were at home renting movies at the times listed on our phone bills, we wouldn't have jobs.

I called SaskTel and of course they say that movies can only be rented through the cable box with the password we set. Is it possible for someone to have obtained our password, maybe through our phone line/internet set up without us even knowing?

I'm not a very technologically savy person, so I'm looking for people's thoughts. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 2007-03-05, 03:42 PM
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Location: Oxford, Nova Scotia
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Seems more likely that it was a billing error or a sneaky teenager. Billing errors happen more often that provider's would like to admit, and you should never underestimate the abilities of a sneaky teenager (if you have one.)

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 2007-03-06, 08:55 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Nanaimo, BC
Posts: 986
Anything is possible. Sasktel doesn't reveal their security, but I could imagine how an movie order could be sent to Sasktel servers from somewhere else.

But why would anyone do this? Max Video on Demand would probably still send the movie to your IP address, so no one else could watch it.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 2007-03-07, 12:29 AM
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There have been mistakes like this mentioned before, and the service provider will usually reverse the charges once. However, in future:

- Change the PIN from the default.

- or ask the service provider to "eliminate" the opportunity for such charges/orders.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 2007-03-07, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I've spoke with SaskTel and they say there is no way that their system can be hacked into. They also said there is no way it's a billing error. My husband and I have no kids, no one living with us and no one has keys to our place. We had changed the password from the default one when we got the system set up. We have paper proof that neither of us were home when the movies were rented because they were all rented during the day when we were both at work. We have since changed the password again (I don't even know what it is), and we'll keep an eye on the bill to see if any more movies show up. I asked if there could be a glitch with the cable box itself, and was told that because we are able to rent regular movies that there can't be anything wrong with the box.

Thanks for the input, it's greatly appreciated.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 2007-03-09, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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I asked if there could be a glitch with the cable box itself, and was told that because we are able to rent regular movies that there can't be anything wrong with the box.
Sounds it was a porno. Practice your sternest voice and go ask your husband again. There used to be a way to spoof a settop box and receive unsubscribed multicast channels but that hasn't worked since their network was upgraded. As far as I know, there has never been a way to get free VOD movies without exploiting humans rather than technology[1].

[1] In other words, watch the movie and dispute the charge when the bill comes. Keep disputing the charge until the other side gives up because eating the cost of the movie is cheaper than arguing with you. Back when I worked in a hotel, we would comp just about any disputed charge without argument but I suspect Sasktel (or any other TV provider) doesn't need to be as forgiving.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 2007-03-13, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 14
Is this happening on a regular basis? It takes specific steps to even rent a ppv movie, and there is no way the system can be hacked. Every circuit is individual,so there would be no benefit even trying.
I would be setting up a video camera in your house if I were you.....
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 2007-04-18, 09:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,056
What was the resolution on this? My guesses are:
- billing mistake / wrong account linked to wrong address
- someone not fessing up to movie order

My provider once mixed up my address with someone else's. I could see heavy bandwidth usage on days that no computers were even in the premise and/or being used. I told it didn't seem right but they swore up and down their system was infalliable.

Eventually a tech that was on site resetting my STB's was noticing the hits being sent from the head office were not appearing on this end. But another customer kept getting his boxes reset without warning.

Sure enough, they had crossed up the accounts.
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