updated 10:55 am EDT, Wed September 29, 2010
HDCP exploit would allow 1080p decryption
The HDCP exploit Intel tried to downplay a couple of weeks ago is now being offered to the public. Created by Rob Johnson and Mikhail Rubnich, the open-source software is said to be capable of decrypting 1080p HDCP video in real-time. This does requires a moderately powerful system, however, with the creators saying a high-end, multi-core 64-bit CPU can decrypt 30FPS, 1080p content using two cores and about 1.6GB of RAM.
The crack lets software do what Intel meant hardware to perform. The code includes the block cipher, stream cipher, and hashing algorithms required. The makers add that there is room for optimization, giving SSE instructions as the example. They are releasing the code and hope others will optimize it for efficiency.
The code would let companies and, more likely, individuals create devices that support HDCP without paying for a licensing agreement. Intel has threatened to sue anyone who makes an exploit readily available, but exemptions from the DMCA may prevent these actions since many viewers would be breaking HDCP to access legitimate content on displays that don't have HDCP support.
The protection method is an inherent part of HDMI and newer DVI ports, and was intended to close the "analog hole," or piracy through direct capture of a video feed. Critics, however, have noted that it has done little to stop piracy due to access to the raw sources. It has often been more of a limit to legal users, since devices without HDCP-supporting DVI or HDMI output, including the iPad, can't show the video on an external display.