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HD-DVD Copy Protection Proved Vulnerable To Attack

A group of hackers around the world succeeded in defeating the anti-piracy software developed to protect a number of high-resolution movies developed in the HD-DVD format. They used a file-sharing tool, BitTorrent to distribute copies of such films starting with the science fiction movie 'Serenity' made in 2005.

There are reports indicating several successful hackings. While evaluation is on, determining the most suitable course of action is also required, said the chairman of the Advanced Access Content System (AACS), Mr. Michael Ayers, in news of Associated Press.

Both Blu-ray and HD-DVD used Advanced Access Control System, the name given to a copy-protection system. Consumer electronics, technology, and entertainment industry participants, including players from the two format groups joined to design the scheme. Several companies like Microsoft and Disney developed AACS to protect the technology put into new HDTV DVDs.

Although both formats take help of AACS, other security layers are also added to Blu-ray. The Disk Association of Blu-ray has instructed disc manufacturers to embed an exclusive identifier in Blu-ray media in order to safeguard hardware from running illegitimate discs.

Ayers said they consider the attack as on a certain single implementation. It does not break the security of the AACS technology in totality. So by fixing that particular affected implementation, the attack collapses.

Ayers did not disclose which DVD-viewing software fell in the hands of the hackers. However, he assured that they had withdrawn the weak versions of the software.

The New York Times published a report on January 17 2007, which said that the DVD player software was identified as WinDVD. InterVideo Inc., a company under the ownership of Corel Corp was the distributor of WinDVD. A Corel representative Andy Markin said that they were not sure a breach had taken place, but as precaution the company had destroyed a few software codes. Markin added that his company was taking proactive, remedial measures to track the breach right down its source.

There have been instances of hackers releasing free copies of HD-DVD titles working with file-sharing technology. In December last year, a hacker used 'Muslix64' to distribute a back-up utility that countered the HD-DVD copy protection tool.

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