[SATLUG] DVR harddrive

FIRESTORM_v1 firestorm.v1 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 18 20:32:03 CDT 2009

As someone that used to work for the evil cable empire, I can tell you
that they are encrypted.

If the TW service has been disconnected already, it's useless now.  As
soon as those boxes go live on TW's cable plant, they will get the
update from the headend snd shut off.

As far as a filesystem based attack, I'm pretty sure there's nothing
you can do, if I remember correctly, the SA DVRs use an encrypted

I don't remember if TW was running SA and motorola DVRs in San
Antonio, but I do know the SA 8300 series DVRs from a hardware
perspective. :(

Although, if you do find a way, let me know. :)  I love being proven
wrong as long as I can learn from it.


On Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 4:42 PM, John Pappas<j at jvpappas.net> wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 23:47, Geoff <geofff at w5omr.shacknet.nu> wrote:
>> Does anyone know what sort of OS the TimeWarner DVR drives are using?
> No, but I am SURE that custom drives make no financial sense.  My bet is
>> She hasn't given the DVR box back to TW yet, and had some shows she
>> recorded saved on there and wanted to know if it were possible to get
>> 'em off before she gave up the box.  I said "Sure, it's possible!"
>> knowing there was a big thread about it here a year or so ago...
> May be possible, but maybe not probable.  I am nearly certain that the most
> time effective way to get the shows she wants is going to be BitTorrent vi
> BTJunkie.org or the like.  The other way would be to leverage the analog
> hole (Video capture to VCR, DVDR, or Tuner Card).
> Anyway, I have a couple hacked DirecTV Tivo systems, and in their native
> format, they save files encoded/encrypted/bitshifted format.  Once you hack
> the box (pull drive out, follow some instuctions using a special CDROM that
> can mount the bitshifted Filesystems, you can hack the tivo kernels (there
> is a primary and secondary system partition to allow for system upgrades,
> upgrades the offline system partition, filps the boot order and reboots to
> the new system) leaving the old system on the now offline partition.
> The system partitions were RO ext2 but the video FS was a custom userspace
> filesystem.
> Could not retrive videos recorded before the hack though (still encrypted).
>> What's the bottom line?  Open the box, pull the drive, connect it a PC
>> (with some sort of adapter, I'm ass/u/me'ing) and read the drive?
>> what format is it in?  Fat32, NTFS, ext3?
> In theory, that is true.  Depending on the version of software that the PVR
> runs, the format may or may not be a standard linux FS, but it is nearly
> garanteed that the streams are encrypted, regardless of the format.
> If they OEM Tivo, then you will have to research whether the encrypted ty
> streams have been cracked; they had not been when I was using the tivos 3+
> years ago.
>> I'm guessing this is fairly typical of all cable systems, that offer
>> dvr/tivo.
> Most do use an embedded linux since developing a custom embedded OS is
> non-trivial nor (usually) cost-effective.
> HTH,
> jp
> --
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