HDCP, Intel's heavily used copy protection system for audio and video, has been cracked by a professor in Germany, not in an attempt to get a bootleg of the latest Transformers on Blu-ray, but to point out the flaws in the encryption. HDCP is the protection is used in almost every HDMI or DVI compatible TV or computer monitor. With a tool that cost approximately 200 Euros ($266), Prof. Dr. Ing. Tim Güneysu was able to get around the security.
When digital content makes it's way from a secure source, like a Blu-ray player, to the screen, it travels along Intel's protected system. A central piece of the encryption code was briefly leaked online last year, and it sparked Prof. Dr. Ing. Tim Güneysu's, of Ruhr-Universität Bochum, interest. His intent was not to make it easier to make illegal copies of media, but to actually test the strength of Intel's encryption. The professor's concern is over the implications this could have to the military or other institutions where security is vital.
The encryption is tapped into between the media source and it's destination, and then sending it to another location. Güneysu says "We were able to tap the HDCP encrypted data streams, decipher them and send the digital content to an unprotected screen via a corresponding HDMI 1.3-compatible receiver." He explains further, "We used the commercial ATLYS board from the company Digilent with a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA, which has the necessary HDMI interfaces and a serial RS232 port for communication."
The scientists full results will be presented at ReConFig 2011 in Cancun, Mexico next week.
Güneysu believes the problem will remain in the years to come, because although Intel has already released HDCP 2.0, it features backward compatibility, meaning the security hole is still present.