|Updated: 12/20/2011 5:46 pm
||Published: 12/20/2011 4:16 pm
HOT SPRING COUNTY, AR - Hot Spring County deputies say someone took satellite T.V. smart cards and did a very dumb thing.
"These cards were hacked into," Sgt. Jerry McAnear said while holding up the evidence. "They were modified."
Deputies say Rodger Rhodes is the hacker. Here's how the scam worked: "with the appropriate software," explained McAnear, "you could reprogram that [smart] card, remove it, take it to the satellite receiver, install it in the satellite receiver, and now you're receiving something that you're not paying for."
Basically, Rhodes is accused of selling doctored smart cards to satellite T.V. customers so they could watch channels they didn't pay for. Ultimately, the company Echostar will take the hit for the scam. They design, develop, and distribute the cards.
So how big of a hit is this for Echostar? They told deputies each one of the doctored smart cards costs them around $4,000 per year. Multiply that by 65 successfully hacked cards, you get a total loss of around $260,000.
One more thing: if you're wondering why your satellite T.V. hook-up doesn't have a card reader, it's because the reader is old technology. According to McAnear though, "there are a lot of old systems that still have this so there's no telling how many customers out there that are still getting pirated signals."
In other words, while you're watching T.V., deputies could be watching out for you.