The Inquirer-Home

Bloke cracks Vista DRM

Hides from Volish agents
Tue Jan 30 2007, 07:53
A POOR WEE student is more or less in hiding after working out a way of cracking Microsoft's Vista Protected Media Path DRM.

Alex Ionescu is a kernel developer, reverse engineer, and, ironically a Microsoft Student Ambassador says his hack means that punters can play HDDVD on 'un-certified' computers. These, dear readers, are computers that are not barking mad - so there's precious few of them.

He said that while he has not managed to crack Vista using an 'out of the box' program, his method does bypass Vole's Protected Media Path DRM.

Writing in his bog, the dear soul said that Windows Vista sets up a number of requirements for audio-visual software and drivers in order to ensure it complies with the demands of the media companies.

Vista's PMP notifies audio-visual applications that there are unsigned drivers on the system, as well as provide a list of unsigned drivers. This means that an application can either outright refuse to play content, or that it can scan for known anti-DRM drivers which might be attempting to hook onto the unencrypted stream.

According to Ionescu, this means that it's up to applications, not the OS, to enforce this DRM check and so it is easily avoided.

His code does not use test signing mode and it does not load an unsigned driver into the system. Any audio visual (ears and eyes) application thinks that the system is safe, when it is not.

It is possible for Vole to issue a patch, but it is also dead easy for Ionescu to break the patch using a similar method.

Ionescu said his soul is in the process of investigating how to release the code to show others, but at the moment he's is a bit frightened of Volish "lawyers". µ


Share this:

blog comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to INQ newsletters

Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ

INQ Poll

Dead electronic devices to be banned on US-bound flights

Will the new rules banning uncharged devices be effective?