What is Cardsharing?

Cardsharing is a method to use one satellite subscription card with more than one satellite receivers in a same time. In practical terms an original legitimate subscription card could be used in a receiver; then another box that is in another room, or even a thousand miles away, could access the smartcard via ‘local network’ or ‘internet’ to clear channels that the subscription card allows.

Typically, the legitimate card is attached to a personal computer or Dreambox which is connected to the Internet, and is configured to provide the legitimately decrypted control word to other receivers who request the information. This decrypted control word is then used to decode an encrypted conditional access service, as though each other receiver were using its own subscription card.

This method has existed for many years and not new, even though the majority of people have not heard of it. Talk of ‘sharing’ is banned on many forums and a taboo subject due to its obvious possible illegal uses.

Cardshare or card-over-network is not illegal per se, but it is the use of the method that can be against Uk and international law and generally everyone in the Uk wants to ask “so how do i get free sky TV?”.

However this is discussion that could lead to the closure of this or other internet sites, and teaching someone directly how to ‘steal’ is also a prosecutable offence, so I will not go into detail about cardsharing or be able to provide cardsharing network details.


What do I need to cardshare?

You will need a linux based satellite receiver that is networkable, such as Dreambox, some software such as Gbox, Cccam, Newcamd etc, and some experience in programming and time to learn.

Finally, modern cardsharing can be about paying for access to a share, or splitting costs of a subscription between friends etc. This is where the line is crossed and something legal becomes a criminal offence.


Cardsharing from the broadcasters point of view.

Card sharing has caused major concern to the conditional access subscription card manufacturers, and their respective pay-tv companies, since virtually every encryption system can be shared, allowing unauthorised access. Unlike the hacking of smart cards, card sharing is relatively new, thanks to the recent increase in home internet speeds.

Conditional access providers therefore have few counter measures to combat its use. One such method, used by several providers, is to greatly increase the frequency of changing the control word, used to decode the channel. With changing occurring as frequently as once every 5 seconds, this puts extra stress onto the subscription cards processor, meaning that clients are frustrated by short, but frequent, missed viewing, making viewing possible, but with extreme inconvenience. In response to this, card sharing servers have appeared that caches control words in order to prevent overloading of the smartcards processor if the same code word is requested more than once.

The future of card sharing is unknown, because it is equally unclear how widespread its use is. Many conditional access providers may see it unworthy to produce new cards to send to all subscribers, as their manufacturing costs are too high. Most probably also realize that and the additional “security” will eventually be circumvented anyway. The latest Irdeto cards for example, have been produced in a way by which card sharing seemed not possible, but now they can be shared again.


Cardsharing in Spain

The Sat and PC Guy has never sold card sharing systems – since it is illegal. Although many other satellite installation companies in the Costa Blanca are do sell these systems, sometimes without warning their customers of the legalities of such systems, and the risks involved.

In Spain, popular card sharing satellite receivers are Iberosat and Ferguson Ariva.

However during May 2014, Sky UK have been implementing new security measures to their channels, and some of the Sky HD channels are no longer available on card sharing systems. Expect these antipiracy measures to be used on more Sky channels in the future.


And in 2016, it appears as if Sky UK, along with Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland are implementing more anti piracy measures, to remove their channels from these cardsharing systems.