Cisco Hits Hackers With ‘Content Consumption Frustration’

Pay TV pirates that attempt to hack content protection systems powered by Cisco may quit out of frustration.

Inventor Hillel Solol
Inventor Hillel Solol

The tech powerhouse won a U.S. patent on Tuesday for an invention that thwarts hackers who try to crack conditional access systems that rely on smart cards installed in digital set-top boxes. Some subscription video pirates have built “card sharing solutions” that could allow non-subscribers to tap control words from an authorized smart card via the Internet.

Cisco says its invention, titled, “Content Consumption Frustration,” can delay the delivery of control words from a smart card. “Non-paying users may be inconvenienced due to the extra delay that propagation via the Internet introduces as a result of receiving the control word later than it is needed for decrypting the content arriving in the broadcast stream,” Cisco states in the patent.

Dean Jerding

The application was filed in July 2011, eight months before Cisco announced a $5 billion deal to acquire video software and content protection provider NDS Group. NDS veteran Hillel Solol, who now works on IoT security at Cisco’s Service Provider Video Software and Solutions (SPVSS) group, is named as inventor.

“Content Consumption Frustration” is one of 19 U.S. patents that were assigned to Cisco this week, according to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Cisco video software inventions published this week include an interactive program guide menu display that relies on hypertext links. Several current and former Cisco executives are named as inventors on the patent, including Cisco Technical Director Arturo Rodriguez, Principal Engineer John Schlarb, Dean Jerding (now EVP at Logicbox / Predictix); Cisco and Clearleap veteran Bob Van Orden; and Bindu Crandall, who is now VP of marketing at Optima Healthcare Solutions.

Bindu Crandall

For more:
– see the Hypertext Service Guide Display patent
 – see the Content Consumption Frustration patent

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