Apple AirPlay unlocked

AirPort Express hardware sims are go

The cryptography Apple uses to secure AirPlay wireless media streams - and to prevent anyone easily supporting the protocol for playback - has been cracked.

Frustrated by the lack of a third-party AirPort Express simulator - APEx is Apple's mini access point-cum-media streaming terminal - coder James Laird opened one up and reverse engineered the crypto keys from the gadget's Rom chip.

The resulting code, called ShairPort, allows content held in an iTunes library to be streamed to third-party software and hardware.

Some hardware makers already license the tech for their products.

Streaming is handled by Apple's Remote Audio Output Protocol (RAOP). The key required to allow third-party apps and kit to stream to an AirPort Express was found in 2008 by 'DVD Jon' Lech Johansen.

So far, it only works with iTunes running under Windows, but Laird said he is working to fix playback from the Mac version of the media library app.

Expect Apple to push out AirPort firmware updates any moment now. ®

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