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TUCoPS :: TV, Cable, Satellite :: digita~1.txt

Digital Cable Fun! by Semtex





                            Digital Cable Fun!
                                    By
                                  Semtex

Firstly the legal bullshit! Okay the information contained in this document is
for purely educational purposes only. This information may or may not have
been tested. This information may or may not be illegal. This information may
or may not get you banned from your ISP. The author - me, takes absolutely no
responsibility for what you do with this information. This information may be
freely reproduced as long as due credit is given to the author (Semtex).

 Whoa with all the files on cable stuff that I'm putting out someone might
think I work for the cable company. Well that someone would be wrong! Okay,
let's get down to the meat of the file. 

 So you have or you know someone who has a digital cable box sitting at home.
If you like to be programmed by television programming then you probably like
it very much. But what things does that little digital cable box really do
behind the scenes? Well that digital cable box is actually a computer with
its own complete operating system and storage media. In fact it sends and
receives packets very much like a cable modem. So if it receives and sends
packets the question then becomes can we sniff those packets? If so, how do we
go about sniffing those packets? If we do sniff those packets what will we
find?

 Well we could find a whole bunch of things. Ever hear of a Nelson box? It is
one of those boxes the rating companies use to track what you are watching so
they can in turn sell those statistics back to the networks. The networks take
this information and use it to help them prepare more competitive program
line-ups as well as use it to base their advertising prices. Nelson families
(the people who have the boxes on their televisions) get paid a small fee. But
what if you could have people pay YOU to have a Nelson box in your house? That
in effect is what digital cable boxes provide. They can track what programs
you watch, when you watch them, whether or not you channel surf during the
commercials, and what commercials you actually watch, and what programs you
deem unacceptable for you kids (password blocking those channels). While you
pay to have this box in your house! Very clever, very clever indeed.

 Don't believe me? How can we prove this? Well we can't really prove it
because we don't know what kind of database the cable companies keep on these
statistics but they do have the technology. If you set yourself up to packet
sniff the packets coming to and from your digital cable box you can see for
yourself what information that box sends plus you'll also discover a few ways
to exploit it. So far, on all the digital cable boxes I have seen, they do not
use encryption but be aware, they may be using it soon. 

 How do you packet sniff your digital cable box? 

 Well I'm not about to explain packet sniffing, but there are more than enough
sites out there that you can use in your research. But I will help you track
down the IP of your digital cable box. 

 If you have a cable modem on the same cable feed as your digital cable box
things will be a lot simpler. All we do is set up our packet sniffer to sniff
everything on the local net. This proves really interesting, as you will see
your neighbor's traffic from their computers and digital cable boxes. But you
are looking for YOURS, how do we determine which one it is? Well we have to
again social engineer the cable company. Call them up and tell them you were
in the process of changing the password when your power went out and no you
can't access the channels you want. If your social engineering is effective
you will get them to blank the password. This process takes a while and I'm
sure the cable operator will tell you that. (I personally think it's so kids
can't remove the passwords without mommy or daddy knowing.) If your packet
sniffer is set up correctly you will notice a strange packet coming through
the network, you know this is the right one when your display on the video
cable box flashes. Analyze this packet and you'll have the IP, registration
number, and command code to reset the password of your digital cable box. Now
if you're curious and a true hacker you will go on analyzing packets sent
from your video cable box to capture the command codes. From this information
that you have acquired you can get free pay per view movies, extra channels
not to mention the mischief you can create by screwing with other peoples
digital cable boxes.


Semtex@hackcanada.com

07.22.2000


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