[ Changed 5th December 1997 ]
Subscription financed pay-TV channels such as BSkyB scramble their broadcast signal and provide their subscribers with special decoders to prevent unauthorized free access. Modern smartcard-based pay-TV access control systems like VideoCrypt are the first large scale consumer application of both cryptography and tamper resistant processors. Their security aspects have been scrutinized in the past five years by both professional pirate decoder manufacturers and amateur hackers. Professional pirates have developed reverse engineering skills previously only assumed to be available to major governments or corporations, while undergraduate students have found surprisingly simple and cheap ways to evade cryptographic protection schemes. There are valuable lessons to be learned for the design of future large-scale cryptographic applications.