Hackers decimate AACS encryption

Written by Wil Harris

February 13, 2007 | 17:19

Tags: #aacs #copy-protection #drm #hack #hacker

Last month, we brought you the news that hacker Muslix64 had cracked AACS on Blu-ray, shortly after he went to town on AACS on HD-DVD.

What Muslix was able to do was track down the AACS keys on the individual discs, thus showing the world how to crack each HD title in turn.

Now another hacker, Arnezami, has taken things a step further and found the one, universal AACS key that will decrypt every Blu-ray and HD-DVD title protected with AACS copy protection - effectively cracking the player aspect of the system, rather than the disc.

He managed to do this without going into the copy protection, breaking any laws, or messing around. He spent a lot of time just looking at the data loaded into memory by discs and the player on his PC, and discovered that the player-side key wasn't kept in memory. The Media Key, as the player-side key is called, is only in memory for a short amount of time, but Arnezami wrote software which would memory dump a small area of memory at the time he suspected the Media Key would need to be loaded and, as it happens, he was right.

Of course, it could be that this particular key - belonging to one of the software PC programmes - could be revoked in the future. But, since the hacking community now knows how to go about finding the key, any future revisions of PC software could be hacked in seconds - the only thing that would prevent this would be a re-writing of the AACS standard!

It seems that HD DRM is really in trouble with this latest announcement. The encryption that took years to perfect and millions to build has been compromised in weeks by hackers who haven't even reverse engineered anything to do it.

What are your thoughts on this latest development? Let us know over in the forums.
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