Australian feds end 8000-person unauthorised Foxtel network

The AFP has arrested a man who was allegedly using smartcards and decoders to hack into Foxtel's pay-TV service and provide it illegitimately to 8,000 people.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has charged a man in Sydney with allegedly providing more than 8,000 people with unauthorised access to pay-TV provider Foxtel.

Image: Foxtel

Due to appear at Liverpool Local Court on Tuesday after being charged with five intellectual property (IP) and copyright offences, the 29-year-old man was arrested on November 1, 2013, after a joint investigation between AFP and Foxtel to bring down the criminal ring.

At his arrest, several smartcards and decoders were seized under a search warrant for his business premises and private residence, which were allegedly used by the man to hack into Foxtel's pay-TV service.

"This investigation has successfully disrupted a network which has been unlawfully providing access to services at the cost of honest customers who legitimately pay for them," said AFP manager, Sydney Office, Ray Johnson.

"Criminal activity such as this costs consumers — who may have to pay higher fees to absorb losses and the cost of theft-prevention measures — as well as retailers and individual businesses every year in Australia and across the globe."

The man could face up to five years imprisonment if found guilty of the offences.

In July this year, Foxtel launched its IPTV subscription service , allowing customers to subscribe on a month-to-month basis to watch to Foxtel over the internet. The service is accessible through PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and Samsung smart TV.

Despite the Labor party's suggestion that the AU$37.4 billion National Broadband Network would be a threat to the pay-TV provider, Foxtel's director of product Michael Ivanchenko told ZDNet in August that the company is actually holding back on providing HD IPTV in Australia until there is more ubiquitous high-speed broadband.