HACKGATE DAY 442: NEWSCORP, A COMPANY BUILT ON ILLEGAL PRIVACY INVASION

For Rupert was an humble man

That Newscorp has been using various hacking and blagging methods globally to do far more than create celeb stories seems finally to have been nailed this week. Monday night’s revelations about activities with NDS in the UK were followed last night by a similar expose in Australia.

Significantly, the Aussie story starts in 1999 – surely further evidence that Newscorp embraced the technology the second it became aware of it….and has used it ruthlessly ever since. Australian newspaper the Australian Financial Review released 14,000 emails concerning one of the group’s security subsidiaries. Emanating from the hard drive of a former head of security at Murdoch sibsidiary NDS, they  show that the company paid computer hackers to work with its “operational security” unit….aka covert black ops…..to size up competitor weaknesses among pay-TV rivals across Australasia, Europe, and the US. The uncovering of activities in the US are a particular blow to Murdoch, as the laws against this there are especially unforgiving…..and the FBI is very happy to have such gifts fall into its lap.

And it’s not good news for the Met either: the emails come from the computer of Ray Adams, a former commander in the Metropolitan Police in London, who served as head of operational security for NDS in Europe from 1996 to 2002. Oops.

Here we go again….illegal activity to gain advantage, hiring and corrupting senior Met officials, undue political influence. The Murdoch Times attack on Cameron’s cash for access is an obvious piece of Murdochiavellian revenge, as his buttering up Alex Salmond is an attempt to escape English Justice.

The man and his empire of criminality are cultural anti-matter. He and they are not fit to own a broadcasting licence in Britain. We should be winding down the public enquiries, and winding up the police and broadcasting authorities to put the worst offenders behind bars, and clear out Newscorp’s British presence entirely.

Related: As Murdoch destroys our ethics, will Ackermann destroy our economies?

39 thoughts on “HACKGATE DAY 442: NEWSCORP, A COMPANY BUILT ON ILLEGAL PRIVACY INVASION

    • Lest we forget……we have to remind our readers that it was our Prime Minister who went to South Africa with Sir Kenneth Warren to illegally purchase three nuclear weapons from the arms dealer John Bredenkamp who then stole them back. They siphoned of £17.8 million of tax payers money with many other very senior political figures who also benefitted from the exercise namely:

      eyreinternational wordpress com

  1. Mmmm…I’m not holding my breath, there are too many uncomfortabe truths floating in the ether ready to be floated in the public domain if Plod get too close to anybody of note.
    On the other hand, some poor innocent bastard will do a few months in Ford Open Prison for a few bob further down the line.
    A great life if you don’t weaken eh?
    Like I said a while back, not a straight bat amongst them, they wouldn’t know moral if it bit them.

  2. Pingback: John Ward – Hackgate Day 442 : NewCorp, A Company Built On Illegal Privacy Invasion – 28 March 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  3. This is not the first time these kinds of allegations have hit the news:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2002/mar/13/media.citynews

    -:-
    How codebreakers cracked the secrets of the smart card
    ‘Unbreakable’ code was posted on the internet
    The Guardian, Wednesday 13 March 2002 07.45 GMT

    The process was complex, time-consuming, and very expensive. This was not about a lone hacker sitting at a computer screen trying to guess passwords. Instead, it was an attempt to split the foundation stone supporting an entire industry – the technology protecting pay TV.

    The challenge handed in the autumn of 1997 to a team of scientists working quietly at a laboratory in Haifa, northern Israel, was to crack the encryption technique used to unscramble TV signals delivered to many paying customers through cable and satellite across Europe and the US.

    The so-called “smart” or “conditional access” cards used to access Sky, ITV Digital, and other premium channels contain wafer-thin computer chips holding complex codes to make sure viewers see only what they have paid to see.

    The Haifa team knew all about this. They worked for NDS, a Murdoch company which had begun life as a start-up firm, News Datacom, in Israel eight years earlier. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation had backed the venture in the belief that the coming digital age required a quantum leap in areas such as data security and the encryption of communications.

    [...]

    The NDS team in Haifi, according to a lawsuit filed in the US district court for the Nothern District of California, set out to “sabotage Canal Plus technological security measures engineered into its smart cards.”
    -:-

    Back then, I was watching Sky programs using a satellite receiver with a smart card that containted a PIC chip, a one-chip micro controller. At first, you could only buy these pirated smart cards, but you could not program hem yourself, because the software was kept secret by the pirates. You see, these programmable PIC chips could be programmed such that you could not read the software from the chip. I had an internal “fuse” that said “do not read”, so the chip would refuse to reveil the program stored in it’s memory.

    However, you could erase the contents of these chips and then reprogram them for other use. Then some guys found out that if you “erased” the chip while supplying it with a lower voltage than what you were supposed to do, that it would only erase parts of it’s memory contents. Say, for example, only 30% of the memory was actually erased, while the other 70% could still be read. Now if that part of the memory that said “do not read” happened to be erased, it meant you could read that 70% of that secret software which was not erased.

    So, some guys just did this with, say, 10 or 20 identical pirated Sky cards and that is how eventually the secret algorithms of the Sky smart cards ended up in the public domain and everyone could program their own smart cards or even simulate one using a computer.

    • Been there, done all that with Goldwafer cards, 6-1 cards etc, card reader / burners – most of the code hacking / cracking was done by East Europeans (Albanians, Romanians etc) – a leftover from the ‘commie’ days .Today, that is all finished, instead stream the code via the internet and into your STBox (code only, not Audio or video) which the orinal comes from a genuine sub card plugged into a server .It’s called cardsharing – it’s no secret as it’s all over google .

  4. Still no charges brought…

    I’m half expecting the CPS to make one of its carefully timed low-key announcements to a small group of media jerks that: “no prosecutions are to be brought against individuals due to insufficient evidence.”

    And that’ll be the end of it.

    The BBC, Sky & MSM will run away and never mention the matter again.

    And nobody in Government or Parliament will propose stronger laws to prevent future incidents of this nature. The focus will be on Leveson and a big helping of fudge.

    • I’m afraid you are right on the money there, as I have always said, it is not what you know, it is what you know about who you know. Too many truths need to be swept under the carpet, airbrushed out of history, hey! Perhaps Merkel could give some advice on that subject…

      • @kfc: Quite so. The Met Police & CPS may yet astound us all with high-lvel charges. Who knows, because by the time that might happen, we will all have forgotten about it!

        But I have long believed that the range of persons/orgs involved in hacking (either as perps themselves or benificiaries of info) goes right to the heart of the State and the Establishment, let alone commercial orgs like NI. Thus, ‘Akers of The Yard’ will already have had her investigative brief very carefully articlulated and ring-fenced. This is how Britain is governed.

      • Yeah, I agree with these comments, but I think there’s another institutional agenda to take account of here.

        The Met. Scotland Yard. London’s old Bill.

        They will REALLY want to clean house. This is the biggest scandal that’s hit them since at least the seventies, They’ve gone from being seen as the worlds best, least corruptible police force to a bunch of sleazy coverup merchants. That’s bound to piss them off no end, especially as 3 of their biggest honchos have been forced out . The urge to destroy the authors of this misfortune, especially if it can be narrowed down to a few top NI journos and executives, along with the ex-coppers, could well be a collective, atavistic instinct.

        If the networks of dodgy handshake, “you scratch my back, i’ll scratch yours” middle level and senior careerist plods that make up the unofficial governing body of our police farces decide its time to spill blood, then blood will indeed flow. That could well mean Murdoch, or even Cameron via Coulson, lying dead on the floor.

      • @Paul.J: I wish I shared your optimism about the Met Police cleaning up its act. They’ve had long enough to do so and haven’t, so why would they do it now? The embarrassment of being involved in hacking will soon be airbrushed away. What I see is quite the opposite…more and more policemen are caught lying in criminal cases and in regular non-criminal cases and their bosses are on the take. That is the new culture that is sweeping our system of govt. The Immigration Agency was described as “unfit for purpose” by John Reed, Home Secretary under Labour but has done nothing to clean up its act. Even Govt itself (of both stripes) has had many decades to clean up its act but never has. In fact, it’s getting far worse. The Civil Service is part of and complicit in the growing corruption.

        The truth is that government and all its agencies are becoming increasingly corrupt and dishonest because the day when govt and its agencies/quangos were public servants is long gone. They now have control of all the levers of power and intend to use them as they see fit. It doesn’t really matter what WE think anymore; Britain is rapidly moving from a benign dictatorship to a fascist one. Ditto much of Europe and the US.

    • Indeed the CPS may declare that they have “insufficient evidence” to prosecute the principals – politicians are probably lobbying for that currently.

      Failing that the CPS are such an inept bunch that if they do proceed to prosecution they will screw-up at great expense.

      The dirty digger, and the dirty little digger, won’t go down over this.

      • @Bankrupt Taxpayer: “Ditto much of Europe and the US.”

        The US has functionally been a fascist dictatorship for decades. One of the more disquieting manifestations of the last decade is the blatant militarization of the body politic, and what can only be described as “soldier worship” that is being shoehorned down the public’s throat by the MSM at every opportunity.

  5. Seriously, I believe the latest revelations make an judgement on NI as ‘not a fit and proper person’ to own BSKYB quite probable for the first time.

  6. Wired also has an interesting article on this Canal+ case:

    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2008/04/murdoch
    -:-
    On the hot spot is NDS Group, a UK-Israeli firm that makes smartcards for pay-TV systems like DirecTV. The company is a majority-owned subsidiary of Murdoch’s News Corporation. The charges stem from 1997 when NDS is accused of cracking the encryption of rival NagraStar, which makes access cards and systems for EchoStar’s Dish Network and other pay-TV services. Further, it’s alleged NDS then hired hackers to manufacture and distribute counterfeit NagraStar cards to pirates to steal Dish Network’s programming for free.

    NagraStar and one of its parent companies, EchoStar, are seeking about $101 million for damages for piracy, copyright infringement, misconduct and unfair competition. The list of witnesses in the case includes EchoStar’s founder and CEO Charlie Ergen; several hackers and pirates; and Reuven Hazak, an Israeli who heads security for NDS and is a former deputy head of Shabak, or Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency (the equivalent of Britain’s MI5).
    -:-

    This article includes some links to pdf documents of the court case, which you can find by googling for “Case 8:03-cv-00950-DOC-JTL”.

  7. The open threat Fox administered to Congress and the Senate still stands.Just how sure are the Murdochians of their position as they are able to threaten American politicians with impunity?They really must have a lot of dirt,which is why their computer infrastructure has attracted the attention of Chinese and Russsian hackers for years.
    Meanwhile,the new Mets head,Hogan-Howe’s,old computer data,phones and bleepers are all up for sale on Chinese web sites-funny that!

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  10. What’s with all these Israeli companies being involved. I thought – according to John – that all of our real enemies were in Iraq, Syria, Iran or even among Moslem “terrorist” immigrants. Are we
    Being hoodwinked somewhere along the line, or are some people just terribly naive?

    • What’s with all these Israeli companies being involved

      It’s quite simple really, it’s a ‘Spin off’ from the Military – the guy that started NDS off was in Military Intelligence when working for the IDF .The Israeli’s needed to know what was happening in the ME and so ‘eaves dropping’ on Mobile Phone calls, Internet, Landlines etc was necessary and I expect they were code breaking ‘other countries’ comms to get a full picture .And they became experts at code breaking .If you have spent your career life in that kind of business, when you retire, you look how to best employ your skills

      • Absolutely so. I believe Blackberry were the first to introduce secure comms but, now they have been compromised, perhaps someone could shed some light on this?

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  12. John, you are cannily observant.
    Murdoch and his colleagues in the mid sixties during their first attempts to enter British newspaper publishing were total Machaivellians.
    They workted out exactly how to proceed, what people had to be brought on board and the steps necessary ultimately to control the British media.
    It took over ten years and has been going on since the sixties.
    The agenda they pursued is perfecty clear along the way. Reduce or destroy Union power in the print. Ally themselves with agressive new political figures, eg Margaret Thatcher, cosy up to religious groups, eg Israel, christian evangelists and so forth.
    The Sky project was an extension of this strategy, and this brought it new channels for putting forward their agenda.
    This policy has been extended to the USA in the eighties and nineties, and we now see the FOX outlet as a rabid, biased truth distorting mechanism.
    In the UK we need a limit on ownership of the media, say ten to fifteen per cent, similarly the ownership of broadcasting to the same levels.
    The BBC should be only news,serious programmes, info and education funded by taxation. Let a new Sky have the sport, others ice dancing and the X factor. But for sure we need to start now on ensuring News International is removed from the British scene.
    Incidently a very good and close friend of mine trained with Murdoch in the sixties in Austrlia,he left eventually and became an editor of one of his rivals
    He then moved to Washington and London as foreign editor, and was extremely knowledgeable as to the goings on to make Thatcher leader of the party and then PM. It was the SUN that won it then and has won it again.
    Unless the British people realise through their elected MP’s what has and is going on, in my humble view it will continue but with different spots.

  13. J.W. – My question is simply this, if the Sun was doing this why wasn’t the mirror? either they were or they weren’t if not why not? for moral reasons? don’t make me laugh they’re a left wing rag.

    I very much doubt that Murdoch is as macchiavellian as you paint him. He is a superb business man who has expanded into the space available. An unpleasant piece of work no doubt, but I reserve my real bile for the politicos and police chiefs who were happy enough the way things were and are now lining up to rehearse their sanctimonious self-exculpations

    In general I find his TV stations much better run and more entertaining than the BBC wiht one very important advantage, if I get fed up I can stop paying for the card.

    Put simply, I am much more exercised by the men with the guns than by the men with the money. YOu can always say no to Murdoch.

    I know your greek conspiracy theory fell through as I rather suspected it would when you first made the allegation (and I posted here to that effect), but you are much better reading when you are properly investigating and analysing (something you seem to have abandoned of late) rather than ranting against Murdoch.

    • What Greek conspiracy theory……….. the practice is staring you in the face. Try telling the Greeks they’re imagining it.

    • ‘YOu can always say no to Murdoch.’
      Unless you’re the Prime Minister.
      And by the way, Trinity Mirror is just as guilty.

  14. From the position of the Dirty One’s hands in the photo, I’m getting a super-sized cocktail shaker….. full of shit.

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