How to Stop a Neighbor From Using My Dish Network

By Danielle Fernandez

Your DISH Smart Card protects your satellite signal against unauthorized access.
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Viewing DISH Network satellite programming requires a contracted monthly service plan, a satellite dish and a receiver box with an inserted Smart Card. With new service, a DISH specialist will typically set up your system, though you may be able to install some of the equipment yourself. As a result, you might be concerned that the straightforward installation -- as well as simple-to-use mobile and browser access to your programming -- might give an unauthorized neighbor easy access to your DISH Network signal.

Satellite Theft

Until DISH introduced piracy-blocking Smart Card technology to customers in 2008, satellite signal theft was a frequent -- and expensive -- threat. Signal piracy or theft typically used the same technology that enabled free-to-air satellite signals, which were created and accessed free for legal ethnic and religious programming. Thieves could tamper with satellite equipment, purchase boxes on the black market that were already modified or, worse, simply go online and hack a signal to use with legally purchased equipment.

Smart Card Technology

The DISH Network Smart Card was introduced in 2008 to combat signal theft. It looks like a credit card and is inserted into your DISH receiver, but instead of a magnetic strip, the technology uses a microprocessor -- sandwiched into the plastic of the card itself -- as a key that unlocks the encrypted programming signal and allows your satellite dish to communicate with DISH for programming. The Smart Card also keeps track of any purchases you make with your DISH service, such as pay-per-view programming or channel upgrades.

What the Smart Card Protects

Without a legitimate Smart Card transmitting an identification number and security data to DISH Network from your receiver, programming will not be activated. Furthermore, the Smart Card will only work in the DISH Network receiver to which is was originally assigned by DISH Network, so if your card has been stolen you need not fear your signal will also be stolen. If your card or receiver has been stolen, or in the unlikely event you receive an error on your television screen of an unauthorized user or Smart Card, call DISH immediately to report possible satellite signal theft.

DISH Mobile

With a DISH Hopper adapter connected to your main satellite receiver, you can send your home's satellite television signal to any mobile device with the Dish Anywhere app installed. DISH also enables browser viewing of DISH content at With the appropriate ID and password combination, a neighbor could plausibly access your service plan and watch programming online or from her Windows, Android or iOS device.

Changing Your Password

The most effective way to curb unauthorized access to your online or mobile account is to change your password. To do so, log in to your account at and then click "My Account" to manage your profile, which is where your password information is stored. Be sure to change your password frequently to help further guard against future unauthorized use.