Pegasus Helps Catch DBS Pirate

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Pegasus Communications Corp. said its team of private investigators helped
lead to the arrest of a direct-broadcast satellite pirate in Dallas, Ga.

According to the company, the pirate gained access to DirecTV Inc. smart
cards by posing as a DirecTV employee and offering to switch out the cards as he
visited DBS customers door-to-door.

The pirate then reprogrammed the cards and sold them as hacked cards to
DirecTV equipment owners who wanted to avoid paying programming costs.

The pirate paid $20,000 in fines, which were used in part to compensate the
victims of the crime spree, Pegasus officials said Feb. 4.

In a prepared statement, Pegasus general counsel Scott Blank warned that
neither Pegasus nor DirecTV send representatives door-to-door to switch out
conditional-access cards.

In a recent earnings call for DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics Corp.,
DirecTV president Roxanne Austin declined to comment on when the company plans
to mail out a new round of smart cards.

For security reasons, the company tends not to make those plans public in
advance.

But Austin did admit that mailing the cards to the more than 10 million
customers in the field would be a considerable cost for the
company.

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