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Virgin Media Hackers Gain Free 50Mbps Broadband

Posted: 19th Mar, 2009 By: MarkJ
Reports indicate that approximately 1000 hackers have successfully managed to reconfigure (clone) older Virgin Media cable modems and gain access to faster speeds from the operators latest super fast 50Mbps (XXL) broadband service. This was achieved by updating the firmware on older devices with a modified version of the latest DOCSIS standard, which was partly lifted from VM’s 50Mbps modems.

It's believed that Virgin Media became aware of the problem when it spotted users downloading at speeds of up to 30Mbps, which far exceeded the package they were on. The Register is currently displaying the following statement from Virgin Media:

Virgin Media Statement: "Virgin Media takes the issue of fraud on its network very seriously and, where appropriate, will prosecute. We have a range of tools that can detect fraudulent modems and service profiles on our network and a number of technological features which assist us in successfully addressing the challenge of fraudulent activity.

Whilst the numbers are small, we are actively tracking fraudulent activity and are rolling out a range of countermeasures to eliminate these fraudulent broadband users from our network.
"

Clearly Virgin Media is being adamant that the hack employed is not "untraceable" as some of those involved would appear to insist. The operators latest generation of server-side modems are apparently also able to detect and defend against modified user modems.

Modifying such hardware and using it to gain access to services dishonestly is also very illegal. Those found to be involved could face a fine or even up to one year in jail, though it is not yet known whether Virgin Media has been able to prosecute anybody.
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