High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection hacked

Hackers have successfully cracked the anti-piracy code used in set-top boxes, Blu-ray and DVD players. The High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) technology has been compromised and these reports have been confirmed by Intel, who’s spokesman has revealed further details stating that the code published by the hackers “appears” to be a master key. Keys derived from this master will work on all devices that use this copy protection technology.

If you are still wondering, well HDCP is the code that prevents the copying of audio and video content playing on HD devices such as TVs, DVDs & Blu-ray players. The digital rights management software is therefore required while playing audio & video content over HDMI cables, connecting flat-panel TVs to gaming and other devices.

The publicized hack unlocks DRMed content by providing the master key, which can then strip the encryption that’s on the cable box and DVR. With the encryption removed, anyone can now make unlimited copies of HD content rendering copy protection software useless.

Not only will we see more DRM-free movies and games in the black market, but with the DRM cracked, manufacturers can build new HD devices, bypassing the license fees that Intel charges. Vendors in countries with less stringent copyright regulations will start manufacturing DRM-free Blu-ray players & TVs. This would mean a hit for Intel’s license fees and the illegal hardware would then impact retail sales of the devices.

Despite this victory for the hackers, Intel is optimistic and says that encryption technology still remains the best way to protect content.