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Intel confirms that HDCP has been cracked

No more 'protection' for customers, just freedom
Fri Sep 17 2010, 13:14

MEDIA CARTEL ENABLER Intel has confirmed that the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) key revealed on Tuesday is in fact the real deal.

We reported that hackers had posted what at the time was thought to be the HDCP encryption key that 'protects' content on media such as Blu-ray against redistribution. It has now been confirmed by Intel, the parent company behind Digital Content Protection LLC, which runs this particular protection racket, that the key is real.

In an interview with the always fair and balanced Fox News, a spokesman for Intel said, "What we have confirmed through testing is that you can derive keys for devices from this published material that do work with the keys produced by our security technology." Or as Fox News put it for the aid of its audience, the hack "does appear to work". Phew, for a moment there we were worried that the channel would start blinding us with science and religion, or rather religion masquerading as science, as it often does.

Never one to miss an opportunity to explain the facts behind the story, Fox News described the HDCP key as something that is "required to send a video across the thin, flat HDMI cables that link most new flat-panel TVs to gaming systems, Blu-ray players, or whatever."

The outing of this master key essentially means that digital restrictions management (DRM) for Blu-ray discs is worthless. While the Intel spokesman said that equipment incorporating the leaked key was unlikely to appear soon, warez 'scene' groups are no doubt having a field day with easy access to the raw data on Blu-ray discs.

Apparently since our original report, Fox News claims that, "Worries swirled about the future of high-definition devices such as TVs and Blu-ray players, following rumors [sic] Tuesday that the copy protection technology keeping all that content safe may have been cracked."

For the love of a God that Fox News confirms exists, it's the HDCP encryption key, not the key to your front door. And we're sure the only people worrying are the movie studio executives, wondering what other half-baked scheme needs to be put into place in order to extract ever more hard earned cash out of punters.

Intel's public admission that the key is in fact correct is a somewhat surprising move. It stands to lose a considerable amount in licensing fees if manufacturers deem it worthless to pay for an encryption system that can be defeated at will.

But Intel probably had no real choice, as the fact that the correct key has been revealed surely can and will be confirmed by independent researchers.

All this goes to show, once again, that all DRM systems eventually fail. µ


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