A user on the hacktastic Doom9 forum is claiming to have completely cracked the copy protection on both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. If true, this could be the first step towards mass high definition movie piracy.
There have been a few next-gen DVD hacks announced in recent weeks, but this one is far more significant. Previous hacks have been very impractical, requiring DVD-rippers to extract volume keys for each individual disc they wanted to copy - a time consuming and complicated process.
But this new hack is far simpler; it merely involved the clever gentleman in question examining what was going in and out of his computer memory. He extracted the various encryption keys on the discs and combined them with the device key of the player he was using to create a Volume key. In doing so, he was able to create a Title key of the movie in the drive, and this was used to copy the film.
"Nothing was hacked, cracked or even reverse engineered: I only had to watch the 'show' in my own memory. No debugger was used, no binaries changed," said user 'arnezami' on the Doom9 site.
Sony et al will be relieved to know that this is not the end of the story just yet. If device manufacturers change the device keys on their players, the whole process will be back to square one.
It is, however, a worrying blow to those behind the Blu-ray and HD DVD copy protection systems. And it just goes to show that no amount of technical expertise is going to stop the dark side from attempting to destroy the universe.