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Blu-ray BD+ crypto tech to be cracked by year's end?

Method discovered, claims software developer

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Bullish optical disc decryption software developer Slysoft has claimed it has cracked Blu-ray Disc's BD+ copy-protection technology, though the most recent version of its disc hacking tool only extends to the AACS anti-rip mechanism.

Slysoft announced AnyDVD 6.1.9.3 earlier this week. Among its features, the developer claimed, is the ability to circumvent the latest incarnation of AACS' Media Key Block, aka MKBv4, a vital part of HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc encryption.

In a statement, Slysoft's head of development, James Wong, said: "We already found a way to crack BD+ and we have just turned to fine-tuning." The technique, which the Blu-ray Disc format incorporates in addition to AACS, is "on the verge of being circumvented", Slysoft said, adding it expects to ship a version of its software that can do just that "by the end of this year".

Of course, even at its most basic level - bypassing a DVD's CSS technology - Slysoft's code is verboten in the US and Europe under the terms of, respectively, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and EU Copyright Directives, all of which criminalise the act of circumventing any copyright protection mechanism.

That's probably why Slysoft is based in Antigua. Though we hear the weather there's pretty pleasant too.

AnyDVD costs $49, plus a further $30 for folk who want the ability to open HD discs. That's just the decryption - to copy the data, you can use the company's CloneDVD, which is another $39. So Slysoft isn't doing all this out of altruism or the desire to get discs played on a platform the studios refuse to support.

But whatever the company's motives, its latest announcement is a blow for a part of the content that's industry seeking to prevent its work being ripped off by consumers who'd rather not cough up.

BD+ is based upon a virtual machine that runs disc-stored programs capable of checking the host's integrity and the security of the encryption keys. It can also add a further level of data-scrambling to the content.

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