Blu-ray joins HD-DVD in pile marked 'owned'

Written by Wil Harris

January 23, 2007 // 10:32 a.m.

Tags: #aacs #blu-ray #copy-protection #cyberlink #drm #hdcp #hd-dvd #muslix #next-generation #powerdvd

Those of you who have been rallying against overbearing DRM in next-gen content, rejoice. Muslix64, the uber-hacker who broke the AACS encryption on HD-DVD has done the same thing for Blu-ray.

Next-gen HD-DVD discs are protected using HDCP and AACS. HDCP is an authentication standard that is built into hardware, whereas AACS is the encryption that works with the actual movie file. If you can decrypt the movie and render it out for MPEG2, HDCP becomes redundant.

Muslix achieved this with a fairly sophisticated hack just before Christmas.

Now, Blu-ray uses the exact same approach - HDCP for the auth and AACS for the crypto. By altering the HD-DVD crack to take account the slightly different file structure and crypto key standards in Blu-ray, he has achieved the same thing - decrypting Blu-ray movies out to plain old MPEG2.

Genius!

Now, this doesn't change the fact that BD+, the second type of content protection on Blu-ray, hasn't been cracked. But since there are no movies on the market right now that are protected with BD+, that's not exactly a big issue for the moment.

Muslix used Cyberlink's PowerDVD to play around with the discs, and an Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive connected over USB to play the movies - and he did the Blu-ray hack purely from a data dump provided by a forum member.

Now, the HDCP standard means that Cyberlink's license to play next-gen optical discs could well be revoked as a punishment for leaving security holes open, which could kill the software on PCs of consumers around the world. Yes, you read that right - there's a kill switch in next-gen optical versions of the software which Cyberlink could be legally obligated to flick, screwing the computers of anyone unfortunate enough to have the software installed.

Welcome to the next generation of copy protection. We're in for a fun few years...

Let us know your thoughts over in the forums.
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