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HDCP exploit released, decrypts 1080p in real-time

updated 10:55 am EDT, Wed September 29, 2010

HDCP exploit would allow 1080p decryption

The HDCP exploit Intel tried to downplay a couple of weeks ago is now being offered to the public. Created by Rob Johnson and Mikhail Rubnich, the open-source software is said to be capable of decrypting 1080p HDCP video in real-time. This does requires a moderately powerful system, however, with the creators saying a high-end, multi-core 64-bit CPU can decrypt 30FPS, 1080p content using two cores and about 1.6GB of RAM.

The crack lets software do what Intel meant hardware to perform. The code includes the block cipher, stream cipher, and hashing algorithms required. The makers add that there is room for optimization, giving SSE instructions as the example. They are releasing the code and hope others will optimize it for efficiency.

The code would let companies and, more likely, individuals create devices that support HDCP without paying for a licensing agreement. Intel has threatened to sue anyone who makes an exploit readily available, but exemptions from the DMCA may prevent these actions since many viewers would be breaking HDCP to access legitimate content on displays that don't have HDCP support.

The protection method is an inherent part of HDMI and newer DVI ports, and was intended to close the "analog hole," or piracy through direct capture of a video feed. Critics, however, have noted that it has done little to stop piracy due to access to the raw sources. It has often been more of a limit to legal users, since devices without HDCP-supporting DVI or HDMI output, including the iPad, can't show the video on an external display.

by MacNN Staff



  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cat's out of the bag

    By releasing it publicly, the large hacking and development community can review the code and perhaps optimise it to lower system requirements.

    It was just a matter of time. While this may not necessarily be a major tool for pirating HD content (after all, you'd need a capturing hardware/software to get the content back into a computer), it will make it easier for many to watch their (legally obtained) HD content on HDMI devices that don't support HDCP.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    One day, these media distribution companies will learn, apparently only after dumping billions of dollars into snake oil salesmen such as Intel in this case, or Sony, Macrovision, and a collection of other companies making outlandish promises of total control, that it's against the laws of physics to protect content when the attacker is the same person as the authorized viewer. Encryption can only work with any degree of efficacy when the attacker is a different person than the one with the decryption keys. Still, it's gratifying to see schemes such as this break down after so much investment by these gullible media distributors, who just get had time after time, format after format, paying to license ultimately ineffective DRM systems. Maybe after flushing so much cash down the toilet, they'll eventually learn to sell people what they actually want and forego these silly DRM games.

  1. Jens24

    Joined: Dec 1969


    BluRay Player for Mac?

    Does this mean someone will write a BluRay disc player for Mac? I sure hope so! Steve Jobs says "Bag of Hurt" for BluRay but those of us with Mac Pros can add a BluRay Drive and can read/write but not watch video. This is a market for someone!!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Cat's

    it will make it easier for many to watch their (legally obtained) HD content on HDMI devices that don't support HDCP.

    And exactly who's making these HDMI devices without HDCP support?

  1. lysolman

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What like running a Blu Ray player in Boot Camp isn't a reasonable solution?

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: BluRay Player for Mac

    Note that we're talking about HDCP here, not the copy protection on BluRay discs, which in addition to HDCP, comprises of AACS and BD+. Mac OS X already supports HDCP, so that wasn't the hold-up. AACS and BD+ have been cracked as well, but no playback or ripping solutions exist yet for Mac OS X. In any case, this doesn't really affect the OS X BluRay playback situation either way.

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