Pay-TV piracy - illicit decryption of signals for viewing or redistribution - costs billions of dollars per year globally in lost revenues, according to industry bodies such as the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) in the US and the Cable And Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA). These losses restrict market development and effectively increase prices for genuine subscribers. Hackers commonly interfere with the STB’s conditional access mechanism, which frequently uses a smart card for subscriber authentication. Widely used attacks include card cloning and emulating the card using a PC.
To overcome these vulnerabilities in established security architectures, the CryptoFirewall security core developed by Cryptography Research, Inc. and now integrated in ST’s set-top box ICs features dedicated tamper-proof and emulation-resistant hardware designed to work with the STB’s conditional access system. CryptoFirewall has been developed specifically to meet the pay-TV industry’s needs, is already deployed in over 75 million devices, and has achieved an unblemished security record. It is suitable for satellite, cable and emerging IP-based pay-TV services, and is compatible with pay-per-view and subscription business models.
With the introduction of the STi7108, ST is the first to announce working STB System-on-Chip devices integrating CryptoFirewall. In addition to improving security, this technology embedded in the STB chip also shortens time to market and lowers development costs for equipment vendors and conditional-access companies seeking to meet studio requirements for hardware security.