Next-Gen DVD Copy Protection Well And Truly Busted

from the get-over-it dept

Crackers had already managed to break the DRM on both the HD DVD and Blu-ray next-generation DVD technologies, but now the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) copy-protection technology has been further undermined. Another cracker reported last week that he’d discovered another one of the keys the system uses to decode encrypted content — without doing any reverse engineering or using any special tools, just a hex editor. While the group behind AACS says that the latest crack is no big deal because it can issue new keys, but the crackers say the technique used here will make it easy to discover them, and releasing new keys would mean that current players that can’t be updated wouldn’t be able to play new movies, which certainly wouldn’t annoy anybody that’s dropped several hundred bucks on one of the new machines. So, it’s time for Hollywood to own up to the fact that this latest DRM scheme is a bust, with The Guardian pointing out that the crackers were surprised at just how easy it was to defeat. Hollywood should use this episode to understand that it’s pointless to keep throwing resources at DRM and copy-protection technology, because it simply doesn’t work. It will be interesting to see how AACS and the movie studios respond: breaking current players’ compatibility with new movies would certainly undermine the claim that DRM makes things better for consumers.

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Comments on “Next-Gen DVD Copy Protection Well And Truly Busted”

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Alex Hagen says:

Can you add any more misinformation

A) This crack is not any more serious than the previous one. Revoking the player key will work just as well on this crack.

B) The key that would be replaced would be for a software player; either WinDVD 8 or Power DVD 6.5. The people that have “dropped several hundred bucks” will not be affected. No hardware HD-DVD player (or even DVD player) has ever been cracked.

C) It is not “well and truly busted”. It is busted in exactly the way they anticipated it would be busted. It is a bit early to proclaim the battle over.

You guys have turned from reporting and commenting to just outright cheerleading. No one is suggesting that you ever claimed to be unbiased, but your bias is beginning to cloud your judgment.

Ryu says:

Re: Can you add any more misinformation

referring to points A and B:

They didn’t extract the player key, well that’s what was initially done. Arnezami, a doom9 member, was able to track down the Processing Key, which is like the “master key”, and revoking this one is a much more complicated process. I would recommend reading this guide to understanding AACS by arenzami if you are interested how it all works. you can find it here:

you are correct on point C though, AACS hasn’t been cracked, but an effective method to circumvent it has been achieved.

Axi0n says:

Not such a big deal yet...

The man has been humbled and humiliated to be sure… I don’t expect it to cause them any immediate grief.. Other than the embarassment of having to explain to the suits and investors of how their flawless system got pwned by someone with a hex editor snooping essentially plaintext key exchanges.

Until burners are out for either format, and are cheap enough combined with the wide availability of blank media…


Everyone goes out and invests in a TB+ sized harddrive so they can hold a reasonable collection..

This whole thing will be largely semantics…

As fast as many peoples internet access is these days is it really a logical assumption that people are going to download all sorts of 20-30GB high def movies…

If everyone had 1Gig FTH and all the ISP’s and backbones could sustain wirespeed to everyone then of course there’d be chaos…

Lets face it… 90% of what Hollywood produces is crap, now it just looks a little nicer…

Microsoft and certain software companies I can see crying over theft more because practically everyone with a PC has or had of copy of xyz software, thats their bread and butter and only revenue stream…

A lot of people still buy movies and music to get the jewel case, the inserts, the extras…

Alex Hagen says:

Keys, keys, and more keys

Thank you for the link Ryu, it was very interesting. I thought I understood this, at least in a general way, but it is insanely complicated. After reading all of that I’m still not sure I really understand it.

I had thought the processing key was derived from the device key (what I was calling the player key), and it is…kind of. Apparently getting the processing key makes cracking current discs easier because you don’t need to find the media key block on the disc.

But it is my understanding from reading that info that all the AACS people have to do is change the required processing keys for new discs to make discs unreadable with this crack, which is something they would have to do anyway when revoking a device key. Of course, this assumes they revoke the device keys and fix the player in question so the doom9 crowd don’t get the new processing keys as well. All in all, this hardly seems like the final crack to end all cracks.

Chris says:

it's just what happens when it's all 0's and 1's

Ever since the first secuirty measure was implemented there has been someone out there dedicated to getting around it. This will always be the case, so whenever the next one comes out it will be cracked or bypassed just as easily. If people want to go wasting a bunch of money trying to protect their crap for a few short months, then fine by me. Im patient enough to take advantage of other peoples work that allows me to get what I want for free.

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

DRM has always been a joke

Alex Hagen sounds like some industry rep.

DRM does not work, has never worked, and never will work. It’s just some toy for bored geeks to play with. It’s like some puzzle challange in the sunday paper that cost millions/billions to make. Good job wasting money. Shows how much they care about the artists they are supposed to represent.

For some real fun, they need to get those PS3 keys out there just to really piss Sony off and make them a bigger mockery. Of course, no one is really buying PS3’s, and don’t want to do too much to help Blu-Ray sales. But using a PS3 to rip Blu-Ray movies would be poetic justice. Get all those keys revoked and have them stop working. This will be done soon enough.

fuse5k says:

RE: the downloading of HD debate

I know it now sounds improbable that people will be downloading the entire content of 20-30 GB disks over the internet. But now the case is that if you were to download a DVD quality movie you could get it on about 800 MB, instead of the 4-9 you would on a DVD Disk.

There will be new compression formats to take these behemoth files and compress them so that we will be able to share them.
it has been happenning for years, as the file formats get larger, bandwidth gets larger, and people come up with different ways of sharing them
in the days of napster would you have thought of downloading a whole album at the same time? doubtful. Would you think about it twice now, doubtful.

John Locke says:

Re: RE: the downloading of HD debate

“There will be new compression formats to take these behemoth files and compress them so that we will be able to share them. it has been happenning for years, as the file formats get larger, bandwidth gets larger, and people come up with different ways of sharing them…….”

You’ve hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly what’s
going to happen. The ISPs had better get ready for
a huge surge in bandwidth usage.

Anonymous Jerk says:

Copy protection fix

Question: How many people would pay, say, $5 for a legal copy of a movie, that is the same quality as a pirated copy (camcorder shot of a movie screen)?
That’s the fix! If someone is given an option of two movies, and the quality and cost are exactly the same, but one is illegal and can land you in serious trouble, and the other is legal, who’s gonna pick the illegal version?

These film companies need to realize this, and, say, the day after a movie comes out in a theater, release a low-quality copy, and a discounted price. Yes, the theatres will be p***ed off, but screw them, they already make a KILLING off of $3 drinks and $4 popcorn. No, it won’t solve all the piracy problems, but it would at least show everyone that the producers are willing to compete with piracy, instead of taking a hard-handed, brick-wall stance against it.

Grundle says:

Cracking DRM

Simultaneous release is the way to go. Out on DVD on wide release day. Movie theatres are competing with home rigs more and more for eyeballs. Gone are the days when you needed 10 grand+ just for the sound system, now a whole HD big screen rig with 5.1 is becoming affordable. I would much rather sit at home and watch a movie on a 60 inch tv than go to a packed movie theatre full of loudmouths and overpriced consessions to watch sub-standard swill. The movie theatre’s role needs to be re-examined, especially the pricing. Hollywood puts out A LOT of garbage that’s just no where near worth $50 for 2 people to go see. Don’t get me wrong, I still do enjoy the theatre for those movies that NEED to be seen on an 80 foot screen but I can guarantee you that I’ve already watched it at home to see if it’s even worth going to see. THAT right there terrifies the movie industry.

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copydvd (user link) says:

Copy Protected Dvd's

To begin with an exposition. What they call “duplicate control” is really “content encryption”. The encryption does nothing, nor would it be able to, do stop duplicating.
The issue is that a large number of DVD’s and players have been sold, individuals aren’t going to strive for another group for quite a while, and the encryption that DVD’s utilization has been broken. As such, its pointless.
So we have an industry that purchased and paid for the DMCA as a lawful intends to shore up their powerless specialized guards of their substance. Anyway the law is generally excessively moderate to find individuals replicating films.

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