Satellite Pirate Gets 7 Years

El Segundo-based DIRECTV announced yesterday that a satellite pirate has been sentenced in a case involving hacking of the DIRECTV satellite system. Martin C. Mullen (aka Martin P. Stewart) was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay DIRECTV $25M in restitution by a Florida judge. Mullen had distributed illegal smart cards for DIRECTV equipment through a network of 100 sub-dealers across Canada and the United States. The company has been known to aggressively seek pirates of its satellite signal programming. A few years ago, the company turned on a security feature of its satellite network which destroyed thousands of hacked smart cards via remote satellite signal. The company's hardware now includes a number of electronic counter measures designed to circumvent tampering. The company said that its existing smart cards have not been hacked; the case involved its previous generation of cards.


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