Has Blu-Ray Copy Protection been Cracked?

That’s the problem with all copy protection technologies; given enough time, somebody will eventually figure out how to crack them.

HDCP is a security encryption key for copy-protecting Hi-Def video content, most notable Blu-Ray players and set-top boxes.  Now a story has appeared that a master key has been found to permanently unlock the security.

Engadget reported the news shortly after it first appeared in Twitter.  HDCP is configured in such a way that should any particular key be cracked it can be wiped and replaced.  What’s now been discovered apparently is a master key that can permanently unlock the content.

The key is described as being a  ”a forty times forty element matrix of fifty-six bit hexadecimal numbers” and so far, and quite understandably, nobody knows who has created the crack or how effective it will be, even if it works at all.

No doubt this will generate enormous interest over the next few weeks and caus great concern for the movie companies, who were banking on the enhanced security of Blu-Ray after the encryption of HD-DVD was cracked.

The upshot is that if the key is made public, and works, there will be little to stop people copying high definition content to play anywhere, and little to stop them except another costly format change the public might not accept so recently after Blu-Ray’s introduction.

That said there can be no doubt that with higher capacity Blu-Ray discs already on the way, the movie studios and technology companies behind the format will already be looking at ways of beefing up the security, and will no doubt have anticipated this news.

The race is now on as to who succeeds first.

© Mike Halsey for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures Serial Console Server products and Power Reboot Switch products that can simplify and streamline remote management of IT installations.

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