Tuesday, January 30, 2007

HD-DVD DRM cracked

(Via SCRIPT News) The copy-protection system shipped with every HD-DVD has been cracked, according to the firm in charge of licensing, Advanced Access Content System (AACS).

As with DVDs before, licensed players come with a built-in encryption key (device key) which can unlock the content within High Definition discs, protected with another set of keys (volume keys). In DVDs, the protection was broken when a digital player forgot to encrypt their keys. In this case, the culprit was a self-proclaimed upset customer that goes by the nick muslix64. In an interview with Slyck News, he tells how he was looking at the transaction between the device and volume keys, and how he realised that the volume keys were not protected in the player's memory. Mr muslix64 decrypted the keys and created a command-line open source program called BackupHDDDVD, which obtains the volume keys. Once this has been achieved, the disc is left wide open. Just to be fair, he also cracked Blu-Ray's protection.

AACS has accepted the crack, and has stated that it will employ "both technical and legal measures to deal with attacks such as this one". The technical actions may include desperate measures such as deactivating the affected players (which would create a lot of anger amongst consumers), or to update players by sending software updates to users. Yeah, right! The users are going to update the software all by themselves. You cannot fault these people's optimism.

Whatever happens, it is clear that muslix64 will be on the industries sights. After all, he's wilfully circumventing effective protection measures.

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