Feeds

RealNetworks subsidiary's gaffe led to DVD crack

Hackers break 'unbreakable' DVD encryption

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

It hasn't been RealNetworks' week. Just as the company's scheme to nab Real Jukebox users' personal preferences data was exposed on Monday, yesterday it emerged that its engineers were responsible for the gaffe that allowed European hackers to crack the DVD encryption code.

According to Wired News, the hackers, from the Norwegian group Masters of Reverse Engineering (MoRE), said they'd been able to break through the uncrackable code because Xing Technologies' XingDVD software had failed to protect their decryption key as all DVD technology licensees are required to do.

Xing Technologies, you may recall, is a wholly owned subsidiary of RealNetworks. Whoops. DVD files are encrypted using 40-bit keys. While that's usually considered secure for most such transactions -- though it's still rather less than the standard for e-commerce transactions, which increasingly use 128-bit keys -- it is held to be difficult to crack unless you have a very powerful system and/or a lot of time.

Because Xing failed to encode its decryption key, MoRE was apparently able to figure out the format, and claim to have found over 170 other keys that will decrypt DVD files. Each DVD has 400 keys programmed in. All these keys are used by their 60K DeCSS application, which can copy the files from a DVD and save them in an unencrypted format on a hard drive.

Wired News found many of the movie and consumer electronics industries' trade organisations decidedly unwilling to comment of the news of the crack, so it's clear that they're rattled. However, such is the growing demand for DVD that a fix can't be far off, but implementing it quickly won't be cheap. Will RealNetworks be forced to pay for the work, we wonder? ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.