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MultiChoice Africa and Irdeto Join Forces to Fight Pay TV Broadcast Piracy

In less than one year, Irdeto Anti-Piracy and Forensics Unit, MultiChoice Africa Anti-Piracy Department and Botswana Police detect, stakeout and arrest criminals running elaborate piracy business

It was revealed today that Irdeto, a world leader in content security, management and delivery, has been working undercover with MultiChoice Africa and the Botswana Police Serious Crime Squad to investigate and disrupt the illegal distribution of pay TV content in Africa. Together, the Irdeto Anti-Piracy and Forensics Unit and MultiChoice Africa Anti-Piracy Department continuously monitor for and investigate signs of pirate activity and illegal broadcast redistribution across the continent.

A MultiChoice Africa smartcard inserted in a smartcard reader – used to extract the “Control Words”

Just over one year ago in December 2011, a piracy operation fronting as a refrigerator sales and repair company was discovered to be extracting “control words” from MultiChoice Africa smartcards and then distributing them to consumers that had bought a pirate circumvention devices, such as Magicbox, Avatar, Hawk, Microbox and Eagle. Control word sharing (CWS) piracy poses a major threat to pay TV operators and broadcasters and occurs when a pirate steals and retransmits a regularly changing control word that is passed between a smart card and a set-top-box (STB), allowing subscribers to watch TV content they have not paid for. In January 2012, investigations were launched and Botswana law enforcement was briefed.

Irdeto and MultiChoice Africa are announcing that the nearly year-long investigation has led to the arrest of two Chinese nationals in Gaborone, Botswana. The Botswana Police Serious Crime Squad, along with representatives from MultiChoice Africa, raided the premises of a pirate operation thought to be distributing illegal control words and selling Magicbox pirate circumvention devices to subscribers in Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. During the raid, the police found and confiscated Magicbox pirate circumvention devices (1800 units), computers, a laptop computer, a smartcard reader, MultiChoice Africa smartcards and a large amount of money.

Commenting on the raid, Frikkie Jonker, Senior Africa Piracy manager for MultiChoice Africa, said, “With the support of the Irdeto Anti-Piracy and Forensics Unit and the Botswana Police, the raid was very successful and sent a firm message that this kind of criminal activity will not be tolerated and that strong action will be taken against those who illegally abuse MultiChoice Africa content.”

Irdeto’s Senior Director of the Irdeto Anti-Piracy & Forensics Unit, said, “As long as there are consumers who are prepared to pay for illegal content, pirates will continue to try to hack encryption systems and turn a profit. One very effective way of addressing this form of piracy is to use technology to disrupt the pirate offering, thereby upsetting the pirate viewer and destroying the pirate credibility. Together with MultiChoice Africa, we will relentlessly fight these illegal businesses on the African continent, using technology and the law to its fullest extent.”

Jonker added: “Piracy has negative economic consequences for the media and entertainment industry as well as the Botswana Government. Pay TV operators are able to provide compelling content using the revenue generated through advertising and viewer subscriptions. The more people that pirate MultiChoice Africa content, the less revenue is generated, which will result in lower quality programs and in some cases even the withdrawal of content. The subscription costs of legitimate subscribers will have to increase, and if this situation is not addressed, then it could eventually kill the pay TV industry in Africa”.

Irdeto continues to work with customers around the world to help combat piracy and to bring down the organizations and individuals involved in the illegal distribution of pay TV content.

About MultiChoice Africa

MultiChoice Africa is Africa’s pioneer pay TV provider, having launched the first digital satellite service in the 1980s. MultiChoice Africa provides multi-channel digital pay television services containing channels from Africa, America, China, India, Asia and Europe. The company has over twenty years’ experience and offers cutting-edge digital technology and a selection of bouquets containing premium television channels for subscribers in over 50 African countries and the adjacent Indian Ocean islands.

MultiChoice Africa is a multi-platform pay television operator which provides great entertainment anywhere at any time on a number of different technology platforms and devices including DStv via direct to home satellite, GOtv via digital terrestrial transmission (DTT) to fixed or mobile devices. As a quality pay television service in Africa the company has always ensured that it is at the cutting edge of technology, content and service, which has resulted in consistent improvements in our subscribers viewing and enjoyment while they are kept at the cutting edge of new technology. For more information about MultiChoice Africa, please visit


About Irdeto

Irdeto. Building a Secure Future.™

Irdeto is the world leader in digital platform security, protecting platforms and applications for media & entertainment, gaming, connected transport and IoT connected industries. Our solutions and services enable customers to protect their revenue, create new offerings and fight cybercrime. With nearly 50 years of expertise in security, Irdeto’s software security technology and cyber services protect over 5 billion devices and applications for some of the world’s best-known brands. Our unique heritage as a subsidiary of multinational media group Naspers (JSE: NPN) means that we are a well-established and reliable partner to help build a more secure future. Please visit Irdeto at

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Irdeto Media Team