Rupert Murdoch's media giant is once more involved into a new hacking scandal, accused of killing rival TV company. This time News Corp is accused of eliminating a rival to its Sky TV empire in the United Kingdom by hacking into its IT systems – with the help of a German hacker and a clandestine website NDS, a secretly News co-owned company.
The allegations shown on BBC Panorama current affairs program on last Monday, called "Murdoch's TV pirates," stated hackers hired by News Corp allegedly broke computer codes of ONDigital's smart cards - a Pay TV rival owned by ITV, according to media reports.
ONDigital was said to have gone bankrupt following the hacks which destroyed its IT system and forced it out of the lucrative Pay TV market in the UK. It has since been renamed ITV Digital Inc.
The professional hackers then sent the cracked codes to another pirate website - The House of Ill Compute - who published them on the Web, allowing viewers to use the ONDigital services illegally and without having to pay for subscriptions – sucking up its revenue stream dry.
Lee Gibling, founder of The House of Ill Compute alias Thoic, said he was paid by former police officer and NDS head of security to publish the stolen details on their site.
"We always wanted people to be able to update these cards themselves, we did not want them buying a single card and then finding they could not get their channels. We wanted them to stay and keep with On Digital, until it went under," Gibling said.
NDS denies the allegations saying they are fabrications and NDS is a global leader in the fight against pay-TV piracy, having alwaysand successfully assisted law enforcement in that important effort."
NDS makes smartcards for Sky.
The 30 minute BBC investigative also aired an examination of the role of former senior police officers in recruiting people to break the law - to bring down Murdoch's IPTV rival."
The allegations could spell even more headaches for News Corp UK operation with watchdog Ofcom already investigating whether British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) is suited to own 39.1 percent of Sky TV - the country's largest subscription TV player.
"Clearly serious allegations of TV hacking are far more grave than phone hacking," said Labor MP Tom Watson who was already involved in Operation Weeting, the UK government’s investigation into phone hacking allegations and is well known for his dislike of the Murdoch empire.
Watson also stated it was "very inconceivable that Ofcom would not want to look at these new allegations." He warned, "It also seems inconceivable to me that if these serious allegations are true that Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch will pass that important test."