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  • How DirecTV and Dish Network Stop Signal Theft

    Reducing Signal Theft by Blacklisting Access Cards

    DirecTV maintains a list of cancelled access cards. If an access card with a blacklisted CAM ID is utilized, you will receive the “Call Extension 745” error message.

    Reducing Signal Theft with ECM (Electronic Counter Measures

    DirecTV and Dish Network engineers also broadcast hostile signals that instruct the satellite receivers to cause unauthorized access cards to stop working. These attacks are commonly known as ECM (Electronic Counter Measures). Common ECM attacks are:

    Datastream updates

    Datastream updates are new software which is sent to the access card to attempt to close previously discovered vulnerabilities. Datastream updates can be repaired by programming the access card again.

    Tier Wipes

    Tier wipes are updates which are sent down to reconfigure unsubcribed access cards. Tier wipes can be repaired by programming the access card again.


    Looping utilizes the ROM program in each access card. Instructions are sent down which causes unsubscribed access cards to enter an infinite loop. Which the card is stuck in this infinite loop it can not be written from or read to in a normal manner. Looping requires the use a piece of equipment called an unlooper to repair.

    EEPROM corruption

    EEPROM corruption is the most dangerous type of ECM. Instructions are sent down that detect unsubscribed access cards and damage the EEPROM on the access card.

    Reducing Signal Theft through the Courts

    DirecTV has taken up the practice of filing civil lawsuits against anyone it feels might be guilty of signal theft.

    The accused are then forced to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend themselves in court, or to pay DirecTV to leave them alone.

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