HDCP cracked? Tweeter posts 'master key'

One of the things making today’s Twitter headlines was the supposed release of the HDCP 'master key' – a key that allows the hacking of any HDCP-protected content for any HDCP-protected device. Currently, there’s not a lot of information about this discovery, not even who discovered it or how it was discovered. Engadget first reported the news, citing both a Twitter post by the user IntelGlobalPR:

Master HDCP key released: http://bit.ly/aM84GD (please mirror and RT!) #drm #hdcp #defectivebydesign

The site describes the key as "a forty times forty element matrix of fifty-six bit hexadecimal numbers", not that that’ll mean a lot to most of us. Something that does mean something to the average-Joe is that this discovery, if factual, will have huge consequences for the film industry. Currently, most purchased HD content requires HDCP DRM-technology on both ends of a user’s setup, such as a Blu-ray player and an HDTV, or it won’t play. With this technology, individual HDCP keys can be banned in the event that they’re compromised. With HDCP itself now potentially compromised, less-ethical users may soon be able to easily bypass HDCP entirely, ending the authorities’ current HDCP kill-switch powers.

I’ll end on a poem that I once read, as it seems appropriate: "If you build a better mousetrap and put it in your house, soon enough, you’ll find that Mother Nature has built a better mouse."

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This is awesome news for anyone that has setup a mildly complicated home theatre system using HDMI devices.

I've encountered so many headaches trying to get HDMI devices to handshake correctly. Granted if you're just setting up a TV and blu-ray player it generally won't be a problem, but when you try to do more advanced stuff such as using matrix switches to output multiple sources to multiple displays you are almost guaranteed to have problems.

This is also good news for the consumer blu-ray market, because we will hopefully now see a lot more region free blu-ray players. Currently, such devices can be banned or rendered inoperable by the powers that be. But hopefully this crack can overcome this.

Really? Just recently? What took so long? I thought this was cracked shortly after its conception. Hasn't Blu-Ray ripping software existed for years now, or is that something different then this?

Shadrack said,
Really? Just recently? What took so long? I thought this was cracked shortly after its conception. Hasn't Blu-Ray ripping software existed for years now, or is that something different then this?

Different.
the key for the individual movie - or a 'group' key is found for that manufacturer/producer and incorporated for decryption. This is generic and usually wide-spread and can be blocked. This also takes a few hours to days.
with this discovery you can generate your own key to rip with, which can't be blocked by HDCP.

Both HDMI & HDCP are/were ways for some to makes boatloads of cash off the most ill-conceived, poorly engineered, most consumer & hardware unfriendly standards ever adopted... If you use or have used HDMI, you know how prone to damage the plugs are, & how incredibly over-priced cables have been, & still are if you buy at the wrong place -- a dollar or two vs. $75-100?... c'mon! Toshiba I think it was came up with a way to carry the HD stream via cat5. HDCP was/is simply one of Hollywood's more ill-thought-out ways to control content... it killed the home recording industry, prevented or killed a lot of PC hardware design innovation, & hampered if not nearly destroyed Windows media handling, all while encouraging development & wider adoption of BD ripping tech. IMHO the whole thing was a big con sold to Hollywood content owners, relying like most cons on the mark being greedy.

Stepping off the soapbox -- Sorry -- the defeat of HDCP could have a lot of ramifications... it could mean the re-emergence of home recording industries that would [hopefully will] benefit everyone. Considering the numbers of DVD Recorders & PC TV hardware add-ons that used to be sold, there are huge potential markets. You might see the re-birth of the home theater PC. Self broadcasting HD on-line might become easier, cheaper, better, with much more widespread HD hardware & software development. More people might buy/use video capable cell phones, along with iPod/Pads & competing products, & with bandwidth much less an issue. More content means more storage, & everyone from hard drive manufacturers to those making DVD & BD blanks, to those selling flash memory could see increased demand & sales. The factories making disc wallets might add employees, maybe even a shift? If/when you can easily record a show you'd otherwise miss -- & not sacrifice quality [e.g. cable boxes record HD as SD] -- that competes with the on-line, on-demand broadcast by the same network... competition is good -- it means you, the consumer will get more.

That all said, what's really needed is the hardware adapters or boxes that we can easily buy, cheap or at least reasonably priced... There have been (may still be) products on the market that worked until they revoked the key, & they were harder to find & get plus somewhat expensive for what they were. Having the *Master* should lower costs, because there's less work figuring out the bypass, & it only has to be done once, but wide spread sales may be a different matter -- from what I've read reverse engineering is what's often illegal. OTOH there are sometimes ways around that, for example Epson stopped aftermarket ink cartridge sales in the US for a year or so, but they came back as strong as ever sold as re-manufactured. Cracking the HDCP master key only means something to most consumers if some biz decides it's worth it to try & bring something to the mass markets, & is willing to follow through the IMHO almost certain legal challenges -- with my ink example there were running factories that had a lot to lose. If the only thing to come out of it is DIY project plans, it may be quite some time before we see real HD recorders and such, if ever.

Tom W said,

Poem's don't have to rhyme

That is a poem? seems more like just a saying lol. Could this be a poem then... I like cheese, but cheese don't like me.

Examinus said,
The poem doesn't rhyme.

House and Mouse most definitely rhyme.

I don't know where he got the saying from, because I can't find it anywhere on the internets that say it that way. The only one I can find (and the one I've heard of) is 'Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.' Which is basically a complete antithesis of his saying.

episode said,
I don't know where he got the saying from, because I can't find it anywhere on the internets that say it that way. The only one I can find (and the one I've heard of) is 'Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.' Which is basically a complete antithesis of his saying.

Frustratingly, nor could I. I knew people would question me on that so I did try - but I think it was from a book or comic-strip that I read when I was young.

This news isn't very significant really. Plus I doubt people have the patience, the storage and the computer power to encode raw 1080p. Though it ain't that hard.

Julius Caro said,
This news isn't very significant really. Plus I doubt people have the patience, the storage and the computer power to encode raw 1080p. Though it ain't that hard.

Guess you don't know the scene. There are PLENTY of Blu-ray rips that are 4-12GB in size you can download off torrent sites.

Xilo said,

Guess you don't know the scene. There are PLENTY of Blu-ray rips that are 4-12GB in size you can download off torrent sites.

You said it yourself. blu ray rips. BluRays hold encoded (compressed) data. HDMI carries uncompressed video and audio (though it allows compressed audio pass-through). Uncompressed 1080p should be about 142mb per second. That's 750 GB for a 90 minute movie.

BluRay rips are just extracting what's already compressed. Most are re-encoded into smaller sizes, but it takes HOURS. As for storage, uncompressed frames are discarded once the encoder is done with them. But encoding an actual 1080p raw signal, you need a CPU that can encode 1080p in real time if you dont want to end up with those 750 GBs of video.

Julius Caro said,
This news isn't very significant really. Plus I doubt people have the patience, the storage and the computer power to encode raw 1080p. Though it ain't that hard.

Most HD in the US isn't really, with quality of an up-sampled DVD or very slightly better. That means that most of the time bit rate can be dropped, sometimes along with frame sizes [1080i/p -> 1440 or 720p] giving you a file that easily fits on a DVD with no visible quality loss using common mpg2 encoding with less CPU required, faster. Encoding to AVC (internally) takes longer & requires more horsepower, but usually maintains quality if/when you've got *real* HD. What helps make it worth it is most regular TV (& many DVDs) is much lower quality than what's possible. A very average PC/laptop can handle HD provided you have the external hardware that takes HD input [http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html]. Considering the numbers of PC TV devices, VCRs, & DVD recorders sold, I think there is a huge potential market that's been denied since HDMI/HDCP.

I have HDCP enabled products but what I don't understand is why they release blue ray players/TV WITHOUT HDCP support. That is the real problem.

djpailo said,
I have HDCP enabled products but what I don't understand is why they release blue ray players/TV WITHOUT HDCP support. That is the real problem.
I think it's because they're not granted the necessary HDCP license. The manufacturer doesn't want or care enough to go through the review process. I think this generally applies more to "budget" or "low end" devices but I could be mistaken.

Tim Dawg said,
I think it's because they're not granted the necessary HDCP license. The manufacturer doesn't want or care enough to go through the review process. I think this generally applies more to "budget" or "low end" devices but I could be mistaken.

Plus, I don't know if this is the case or not, but in the past large fees discouraged particularly low end devices from supporting different things...

abysal said,
Nice, so I could watch HD on my non-HDCP compliant LCD. hopefully.

You can still do it, i was doing it for past 2 years without cracking anything.

techguy77 said,

You can still do it, i was doing it for past 2 years without cracking anything.

HD content itself will always play fine without HDCP, but content protected materials like Blu-ray might give you some problems. The rule is that the software won't play Blu-ray at full resolution if HDCP or other content protection mechanisms aren't available, but I've also heard in some cases the software doesn't even enforce this rule.

shakey said,
I've actually never ran into any HDCP problems with any content, ever.... maybe lucky? lol

You are using some of the hardware that is HDCP approved. Try that with hardware that is not, or with using something other than Windows, and you will have a different experience.

This just means companies can find new, more complicated ways to lock anything that HAS been cracked. Happens all the time.

WizardCM said,
This just means companies can find new, more complicated ways to lock anything that HAS been cracked. Happens all the time.
For every developer that creates new copy protection schemes, 10 developers will step up to face the challenge of cracking it.

There is no method that is 100% copy-proof, even things like games that require a server aspect can and will be cracked given enough effort and time (look at WoW, private servers all over the place...sure they are not exactly like retail, but they are good enough to give a player a WoW-like experience without buying WoW).

I think this discovery has potential. Now I can play HDCP on Linux or use HDCP whose key they may have banned.

medium_pimpin said,
Hey. That's the same as my email password.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5? That's the same combination I have on my luggage!

styxrtp said,

1, 2, 3, 4, 5? That's the same combination I have on my luggage!

The sad part of that is: 1. it's probably true LOL and 2. Only Mel Brooks could make something mundane like that line hilarious!

styxrtp said,

1, 2, 3, 4, 5? That's the same combination I have on my luggage!

AHAHAHAHA, that made my day at work suck a little less. Thank you.

styxrtp said,

1, 2, 3, 4, 5? That's the same combination I have on my luggage!

Ahhh Spaceballs... easily one of the greatest contributions to man kind. Young Frankenstein is always a classic though. Men in Tights is great as well... ah who am I kidding... Mel is just awesome in general!

Those are good movies, but BLAZING SADDLES wins them all. Especially in the era of
political correctness


Tanshin said,

Ahhh Spaceballs... easily one of the greatest contributions to man kind. Young Frankenstein is always a classic though. Men in Tights is great as well... ah who am I kidding... Mel is just awesome in general!

medium_pimpin said,
Hey. That's the same as my email password.

Oh, then that's why it was leaked, you're probably not using POP3 over SSL, but rather just a plaintext authentication.

SH3K0 said,
Too many things are getting hacked/cracked this year.

Forgive him folks... What he MEANT to say was, "Too many things are encrypted and protected these days."

May the gods above forgive him for his misspoken words.

Cyryl The Wolf said,

Forgive him folks... What he MEANT to say was, "Too many things are encrypted and protected these days."

May the gods above forgive him for his misspoken words.


Thank you for correcting me, I think.