Feeds

Cheap-as-chips kit smashes Intel's HD video encryption

German boffins crack HDCP with $200 gear

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

German boffins have pulled off a successful attack on HDCP copy protection – using cheap hardware and a lot of clever coding.

Intel's HDCP (high-bandwidth digital content protection) allows the encrypted transfer of high definition video signals via DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort and other connectors and between TVs and Blue-ray discs or set-top boxes. The HDCP master key was leaked last year but there was no easy way to exploit this.

Rather than trying to design a customised chip (both expensive and complicated), computer scientists in the Secure Hardware Group at Germany's Ruhr University built a custom board using relatively inexpensive FPGA chips. A Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA featuring an HDMI port and a serial RS232 communication port was created and sat between a Blu-ray player and a flat screen TV, intercepting and decrypting traffic, without being detected. The rig, which cost little over $200, was built by professor Tim Güneysu and PhD student Benno Lomb, as part of a research project in copy protection.

Although the exercise shows that HDCP is vulnerable to practical attacks the whole exercise is of little interest to pirates, who can more easily tap compressed high-definition content from receivers rather than faffing about with uncompressed HDCP streams whether or not they are strongly encrypted.

"Our intention was rather to investigate the fundamental security of HDCP systems and to measure the actual financial outlay for a complete knockout," Güneysu explained, H Security reports. "The fact that we were able to achieve this in the context of a PhD thesis and using materials costing just €200 is not a ringing endorsement of the security of the current HDCP system." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Chumps stump up $1 MEELLLION for watch that doesn't exist
By the way, I have a really nice bridge you might like...
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.