Japan’s B-CAS Cracked: “Free Pay TV For All”


Japan’s “B-CAS” smart card system has been completely cracked, allowing free viewing of almost all the country’s premium satellite and cable channels.

The hack involves the complete compromise of the “BS Conditional Access Systems” smart card system which regulates the vast majority of Japan’s cable and satellite broadcasts.

These smart cards are distributed with all TVs and tuners in Japan, and their unique IDs must be registered with satellite and cable providers in order to decrypt and view all but free terrestrial digital broadcasting.

The hack potentially allows free viewing of all channels the user can receive with their dish or line, including all premium channels.

All that is required is a vulnerable card, a card reader, and the software required to rewrite it (unsurprisingly, this was developed and distributed illicitly over 2ch).

At first only a small minority of the regular cards were vulnerable, triggering a “B-CAS lottery” as eager otaku each bought up large numbers of cheap or second hand TV tuners in order to maximise their chances of getting one, but it only took days before the vulnerability was further exploited to cover the majority of cards in circulation.

Commercially selling the hacked cards or directly promoting their use would likely constitute an easily prosecutable crime, but it may be legal for individuals to take advantage of it.

More significantly, as there is no direct method by which someone using a hacked card to receive premium broadcasts can be detected, there is apparently no method by which a crackdown could be effected.

As the cards cannot be remotely revoked the only way of resecuring the system would be to completely redesign and reissue all of the millions of ordinary cards in circulation, a process which would likely take years.

The B-CAS system was first compromised in early 2012 – although as this involved illicitly importing specially created “Black CAS” cards from shady Taiwanese dealers for $500-$1000 each there was a very limited impact. As buyers could not have recouped the purchase costs in the time it took for the regular hack to appear, they are currently the subject of some ridicule.

Although a very serious technical blow to the grip of Japan’s broadcasters over their airwaves, the relative complexity of the hack, general reluctance of Japanese to engage in such shenanigans, and the likelihood that many of the people now hacking cards would never have paid for access in the first place (“I bought a tuner and hacked the card – only to realise there was nothing worth watching!”) will probably limit the impact.

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    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    04:49 18/05/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Doesn't matter. Who watches TV anyway? We have internet.

    Avatar of AngelOrDevil
    Comment by AngelOrDevil
    Comment by Anonymous
    05:58 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    You people do realize that the animu you watch (except OVAs and movies obviously) were first recorded from Japanese broadcasts before ending up on the internet, do you? And that ATX is Pay-TV?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:14 18/05/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    There's always BD releases.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:30 19/05/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Anon 13:36 is right.

    You people would whine about everything. Who were the guys who whined about tv programs being cancelled on TV? Now some random anon comes up with the argument "just buy the BD".

    Fuck you, hypocritical bastards.

    The anime you guys are watching are mainly TV downloads, BD versions are only released afterwards.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:39 18/05/2012 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Just because it's aired on TV first doesn't mean we have to watch it on TV.

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    16:13 18/05/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    TV-Version is censored anyway. No point in watching that if you have access to better stuff. And that's where the internet plays a major role....

    Avatar of Shippoyasha
    Comment by Shippoyasha
    19:32 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Bluray would be a good option if they weren't so hideously expensive. It's not like how it is in the West where most Bluray are priced criminally low (unless it's a well known TV show, where they mark up the prices to Japanese-levels)

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    00:08 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I wouldn't mind anime tv airing disappearing. That would mean that all the shows would be ripped from BD. Now some are forgotten as there is already a tv-rip out.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:36 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    @6:39 it first aired on TV bro. if no one watches and records, then you'd cry bitch

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    02:01 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    "You do realize that's worse, don't you? [...] It's not like you're recording a broadcast program for later viewing."

    Geez, if you say you only download anime that aired on TV then you hear how that isn't any different from ripping DVDs, because the TV-stations get their money from advertisment which, even if we would watch that, isn't aimed at us (non-japanese).

    And now (a point where we have forgotten all about TV/DVD/VHS) when we say, okay, just fuck it, and go with the BDs, because it's the same either way, there suddenly is a difference? No, there is not.

    As long as there are japanese otaku willing to pay lots of money for their anime-fix nothing will change. So.. thank you japanese otaku who are willing to pay lots of money o/ Really, I mean it. Because I wouldn't pay.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:08 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    but downloading a BD iso takes a chunk out of bandwidth.

    Avatar of caiooa
    Comment by caiooa
    07:59 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    @6:24 you realise that p2p systems like perfect dark are used in japan, and people distribute blu-ray isos illegaly using it since forever?

    Comment by Anonymous

    @6:14 You do realize that's worse, don't you? Blu-ray is paid-only. It's not like you're recording a broadcast program for later viewing.

    Comment by Anonymous

    do you realize that only one person here is spelling "realise"

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:14 13/06/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    People who either have sucky bandwidth or slow internet speeds. Or the people who post the raws online.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:30 18/05/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    And 2ch bitches at us for "not paying for stuff."

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:19 18/05/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    It's kinda funny that this has turned into thieves complaining about thieves complaining about thieves. No wait....it is tremendously funny in an ironic sort of way.

    Avatar of Erranty
    Comment by Erranty
    05:03 18/05/2012 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Its funny too, since all we do is download stuff they watched for free before this anyway.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:54 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Though the B-CAS card crack /was/ created by a foreigner.
    By the way, I'd love to see technical details of how the crack works; the actual crack itself is useless to me since I live in Europe, but I love the mathematical bits. What I've found on the web so far, is that the crypto itself is weak, although without direct access to the crack's code it's impossible for me tell if that helped.

    Comment by Dark Mage
    12:41 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Since it's a government issued standard I have a feeling it's probably a lot less involved then that used to crack DTV satellite.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:54 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I've always found it ironic that they call us foreign thieves, when it was them that scanned or encoded whatever anime manga show and uploaded it for the entire global community to enjoy.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:45 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    "when it was them that scanned or encoded whatever anime manga show and uploaded it for the entire global community"

    If you ask 2ch, I bet they'd blame it all on Koreans and English teachers.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:44 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Well, that's true anyway
    And you should add Chinese as well...

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:31 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh no, they just don't like the fact that disgusting foreigner have access to the some materials as them. But in the end, they are just hypocrites.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:25 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yup, they're no different than the hypocrites over here at SanCom.

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    02:04 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    What makes people from sancom hypocrites? We don't complain to foreigners about how they steal our stuff. Whichever country that may be.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:34 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    LOL. Sancom NOT hypocrites? You hearing yourself.

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    04:24 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just give me an example, will you?

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:33 18/05/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    >(“I bought a tuner and hacked the card – only to realise there was nothing worth watching!”)


    Avatar of overfiend
    Comment by overfiend
    05:31 18/05/2012 # ! Good (+0.4)

    "The hack involves the complete compromise of the “BS Conditional Access Systems” smart card system which regulates the vast majority of Japan’s cable and satellite broadcasts."

    'Nuff said.

    Avatar of SpideyPHL
    Comment by SpideyPHL
    06:38 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I thought American TV was bad, until I moved to Japan. I've never had my TV on so little, and this is after finally having an HD after wanting one in the states for years. They're sincerely amazed at how many channels I got on DirecTV. Sometimes you don't realize how good you had it until it's gone.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:39 22/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    You can get a media server for somewhere between $50 and $80. It will be able to playback whatever you download (save for 10bit encodes), and with a couple of hard drives full of content networked to it, it'll become the most awesome tv channel ever.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:28 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Really? When I was living over there I used to constantly watch just about anything A-TX aired.

    It really is the ultimate channel.

    Comment by Dark Mage
    07:52 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Another interesting note all terrestrial broadcasts in the US are in the clear in that there is no form of encryption or even copy protection in the signal.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:48 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    IF they got the US broadcasts of HBO & Showtime, anything else would be better. Seriously, these days all I watch is HBO HD. The rest of TV can fuck itself.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:17 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    The TV stations and MPAA would be going apeshit if this happened in the US. They would have FBI ICE FCC local police hunting down the individuals

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:52 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    oh don't worry, with the makers of this card owning a US based website, I'm sure the MPAA, FBI, etc will all be involved eventually.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:11 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    FBI, not likely MPAA possibly, ect most dubiously.

    Avatar of Cytryz
    Comment by Cytryz
    09:11 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Bull Shit - Conditional Access Systems

    Comment by Dark Mage
    12:36 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yah the idiot who decided a B-CAS card should be required to receive all transmissions in Japan should be dragged out into the street and shot.
    At least that is what would happen in the US if someone forced such a requirement.

    Avatar of Riiku
    Comment by Riiku
    22:49 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Fuck TV. Period.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:36 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Cable channel is using C-CAS, not B-CAS

    Avatar of Erranty
    Comment by Erranty
    05:01 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    They'll just switch to the American method. "You have to put this in your monthly contract and it'll cost you an extra $40 a month even if you don't use it."

    Avatar of Gatsby
    Comment by Gatsby
    04:19 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I hope to see hilarious apologies from the television companies.

    Avatar of jr2nd
    Comment by jr2nd
    20:59 18/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    "as there is no direct method by which someone using a hacked card to receive premium broadcasts can be detected"

    here in the uk it can be traced back on a subscribed service like BT,Virgin etc because they check if your viewing a locked channel and if you've subscribed to it if not they give the police a call as its an offence here.

    i would have thought they'd have a similar system in Japan O.o

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:39 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    How about posting a link to the software if it can be found on 2ch?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:03 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    People still pay for TV? Lol, I havn't for around a decade now. No point in paying for TV when you have the internet. Might as well download it free and not have to endure those fucking annoying commercials. Not to mention being able to pause/rewind/play/tune in whenever I want.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:46 19/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Just buy the BluRay"

    That's a bunch of shit. They won't produce the BluRay discs if the show isn't popular on tv. Idiots.

    Avatar of Xed
    Comment by Xed
    18:21 20/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just goes to show you, never tell a coder something is uncrackable, we just take it as a challenge...Sony made this mistake multiple times with lulzsec...Sadly, they keep on prodding the bull.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:59 30/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    okay, where can I download the software?
    I have a b-cas card, will go to akihabara to buy card reader. Now just need the software :D

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