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Israeli High-Tech Firm Linked to Hack Scandal

NDS, one of Israel’s most prominent high-tech success stories, has become embroiled this week in the ongoing hacking scandals that have been shaking Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation empire.

According to allegations made in a BBC Panorama investigation, NDS, which is partly owned by NewsCorp, leaked details on the internet that allowed viewers in Britain to access television channels for free. This is alleged to have lead to the financial collapse of ON Digital, the largest rival of NewsCorp’s Sky television network in Britain.

NDS was founded as a start-up by a group of researchers from the Weizmann Institute in 1988 and is a world leader in the development of encrypted smartcards and other systems for digital television networks. The company was bought by NewsCorp in 1992 and has been a key component in the corporation’s expansion of its television networks worldwide.

NewsCorp still owns 49 percent of the company, which is currently based in Britain, but has Israeli research centers in Jerusalem and Petah Tikvah and many of its senior executives are Israeli. Two weeks ago, it was announced that the American computers giant Cisco Systems is planning to buy NDS for around $5 billion.

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