Has Blu-Ray Copy Protection been Cracked?

Mike Halsey MVP
Sep 14, 2010
Updated • Dec 7, 2012

HDCP is a security encryption key for copy-protecting Hi-Def video content, most notable Blu-Ray players and set-top boxes.  Now a story has appeared that a master key has been found to permanently unlock the security.

Engadget reported the news shortly after it first appeared in Twitter.  HDCP is configured in such a way that should any particular key be cracked it can be wiped and replaced.  What's now been discovered apparently is a master key that can permanently unlock the content.

The key is described as being a  "a forty times forty element matrix of fifty-six bit hexadecimal numbers" and so far, and quite understandably, nobody knows who has created the crack or how effective it will be, even if it works at all.

No doubt this will generate enormous interest over the next few weeks and caus great concern for the movie companies, who were banking on the enhanced security of Blu-Ray after the encryption of HD-DVD was cracked.

The upshot is that if the key is made public, and works, there will be little to stop people copying high definition content to play anywhere, and little to stop them except another costly format change the public might not accept so recently after Blu-Ray's introduction.

That said there can be no doubt that with higher capacity Blu-Ray discs already on the way, the movie studios and technology companies behind the format will already be looking at ways of beefing up the security, and will no doubt have anticipated this news.

The race is now on as to who succeeds first.


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  1. dzw said on September 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

    i too didn’t think this ws news as i have maybe 30-40 ripped blueray movies sat on a harddisk.
    I would have thought this wasn’t possible without a crack for ripping the data

  2. Jason said on September 15, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Blu-ray copy protection was broken about 3 years ago, near the same time HD-DVDs was defeated. It has been possible to rip Blu-ray movies and convert them to other formats. The breaking of HDCP has wider applications then just being able to rip single discs – This will allow for older, non HDCP compliant displays to be used with newer devices which require the protection.

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