Sky suspends downloads amid security fears

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BSkyB has suspended its movie download service, Sky by broadband, amid concerns that Microsoft's digital rights management (DRM) software has been hacked. Sky launched the movies and sports clips download service—which is free to Sky's premium pay-TV subscribers—in January.

A notice on the site today says: "In order to make an essential update to the Sky by broadband security system, we are sorry that access to all movies and some sports content has been temporarily suspended. This does not affect your computer and content can still be bookmarked for future use. We will keep you posted on progress and apologise for any inconvenience."

The problem has apparently been caused by hacking software called FreeUse4WM. Reports say this has repeatedly cracked DRM software in Microsoft's Windows Media application, used by Sky and several other broadband download providers around the world.

The Guardian claimed the security could potentially jeopardise the launch of BT's on-demand TV service, BT Vision, due to launch this autumn. But BT told the newspaper the problem was unlikely to pose a serious issue for the telco.

Meanwhile Sky said Sky Sports subscribers were about to enjoy the most comprehensive coverage ever of UEFA Champions League soccer. As well as coverage on two Sky Sports channels, Sky digital viewers can access new interactive TV options while Sky Sports HD will offer live high definition games. Matches will also be streamed at, and mobile users can see post-match highlights.

Lovelace Consulting  |  13.09.2006

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