Feeds

MS digital rights management scheme cracked

Let's hear it for the boy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Business security measures using SSL

An anonymous coder named 'Beale Screamer' claims to have broken the Version-2 Microsoft digital rights management (DRM) scheme, and has produced the source code and a DOS utility to un-protect .WMA audio files.

The author's zipped file, originally discovered on sci.crypt by Sam Simpson and posted by Cryptome's John Young, contains a well-written and lengthy description of the MS DRM weaknesses, a philosophical tract explaining why he thinks it necessary to crack, the source code, and the command-line utility.

The alias Beale Screamer, incidentally, derives from the lines of 'Howard Beale' in the movie 'Network', we're told. "Just yell to the publishers 'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!'"

The motive here is said to be an assertion of fair use and a check against the abuse of copyright for purposes of consumer extortion.

A DRM scheme "used to give the consumer more possibilities than existed before," Screamer tells us. "I think the idea of limited time, full-length previews, or time-limited Internet-based rentals is excellent. If DRM was only used for this, in order to give us more options than we previously had, I would not have taken the effort to break the scheme. What is bad is the use of DRM to restrict the traditional form of music sale. When I buy a piece of music (not rent it, and not preview it), I expect (and demand!) my traditional fair use rights to the material. I should be able to take that content, copy it onto all my computers at home, my laptop, my portable MP3 player....basically anything I use to listen to the music that I have purchased."

Well said; a tremendous amount of thought and effort has obviously gone into all this, and we have to wonder who this crusader is. A university connection seems all but certain. We've got a few feelers out, and hope very much that he'll submit to an interview soon.

There's clearly more to this story than meets the eye. For one thing, the quality of writing in the text files exceeds that in the code files, suggesting more than one actor. Readers are encouraged to share their insights as they read through the texts and fiddle with the code, using the byline link above. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.