IKS stands for Internet Key Sharing.  Let’s first begin by saying that IKS or IKS Private Servers are illegal.  It is a method of allowing multiple digital television receivers to access a subscription satellite television network with only one valid subscription card. This is achieved by electronically sharing a part of the legitimate conditional access smart card’s output data (also known as keys, hence the name IKS (internet key sharing), enabling all recipients to gain simultaneous access to scrambled satellite streams, held on the encrypted television network. The pirate community has written software for some of the free-to-air receiver brands.  This software is downloaded from the Internet and saved to a USB flash drive.  The flash drive is then inserted into the receiver and the factory firmware is replaced with third party firmware.  Now the FTA receiver has a new operating system.  When a high-speed internet connection is plugged into the back of the FTA receiver, the new pirate firmware knows the IP address of a server that has a connected legitimate paid service.  This legitimate smart card is attached to a digital television receiver, which is equipped with software to share the decrypted keys over the Internet.  Once a client receives this key, they can decrypt the encrypted content as though they were using their own subscription card.

Card sharing has established itself as popular method of pirate decryption.  Much of the development of card sharing hardware and software has taken place in Europe, where national boundaries mean that home users are able to receive satellite televison signals from many countries but are unable to legally subscribe to them due to licensing restrictions on broadcasters.

Because the length of the “key” is so small (typically 64 bits), delivery of the “key” to many different clients is easily possible on a home internet connection. This has sparked the creation of sharing network groups, in which users can access the group by sharing their subscription cards with the group, and in turn, being capable of receiving the channels which all users’ cards can decrypt, as though the user owned every single subscription card connected to the network. Other networks have also been created, whereby one server has multiple legitimate subscription cards connected to it. Access to this server is then restricted to those who pay the server’s owner their own subscription fee.

An example of such a card sharing system, also known as Internet Key Sharing (IKS) was run by Charles Carillo of New Britain, Connecticut. Between 2007 – 2010 Carillo mass marketed so-called FTA receivers modified to illegally receive Dish Network subscription programming using a card sharing server. Carillo marketed such devices from several paper “front” companies such as nfusion.ws, WorldWideFTA, Tequista Enterprises and Power Pay Services. In 2010 the satellite operation was shut down and Charles K. Carillo was found liable in Federal Court to Dish Network for $666,000 in damages.