Hollywood hinders HD DVD, Blu-ray hack

New keys for old

The battle between hackers and the minds behind the security technology built into the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD next-gen optical disc formats has begun in earnest. A trick used to tease out disc encryption keys has been blocked.

The Advanced Access Content System (AACS) Licensing Administrator, the company that maintains the AACS copy-protection mechanism, said last week a new version of InterVideo's WinDVD, the PC-based application used by hackers to grab disc encryption keys, would incorporate new keys and technology to mask their exposure.

Users who don't upgrade their copy of WinDVD will no longer be able to play protected HD DVD and BD content, InterVideo owner Corel said. They are advised to contact their drive's manufacturer for the update.

The update marks the first public test of AACS' claimed ability to adapt to hacks to ensure content remains protected. The AACS LA said future movie discs would contain instructions that tell the hardware to retire the old encryption keys held within the drives themselves.

The upshot will be that the exposed keys will no longer unlock content, a move that sends the ball back into the hackers' side of the court to see if they can come up with something to send it back.

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