The hot news
It's starting to look like someone has cracked the system used to protect commercial movies distributed on the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc high-definition-disc formats!
A thread on the Doom9 forums details the astonishingly speedy development process of the beta version of the cracking tool for the AACS (Advanced Access Content System).
The thread even includes links that let you download the Java-based command-line tool for Windows in a miniscule (18KByte) Zip file.
The tool's author, who goes under the name of Muslix64, says that he developed the app for his own use with an HD-DVD external USB drive - one intended for an Xbox 360 - after realising that he couldn't play HD-DVD movies in HD on his own PC because the installed video card was not HDCP-compliant.
Some scepticism has been voiced in the Doom9 forum thread about whether the beta tool actually does what's promised - letting you extract the contents of an HD-DVD movie to hard disk and play it from there.
However, as yet, there are no postings showing that the tool doesn't work or, indeed, any confirming that it does. But it's still early days, the thread having been started only on Boxing Day.
The author is promising an early V1.0 release - on January 2. This, it's claimed, will be more powerful than the original, largely because it is said to work with volume unique keys, as well as title keys.
Like the original, V1.0 will be only for HD-DVD but, since AACS is also used for Blu-ray Disc movies, it can only be a matter of time before another smart Java programmer takes up the challenge and creates a version for Blu-ray disc - assuming that the HD-DVD version does indeed work.
Here's what Muslix64 says about the development process so far:
I just bought a HD-DVD drive to plug on my PC, and a HD movie, cool! But when I realized the 2 software players on windows don't allowed me to play the movie at all, because my video card is not HDCP compliant and because I have a HD monitor plugged with DVI interface, I started to get mad... This is not what we can call "fair use"! So I decide to decrypt that movie. I start reading the AACS specification I have found on the net. I estimate it will takeme about 4 weeks of full time job to decrypt that. I was wrong, it was in fact, easy...
BTW, when I disable my HD monitor, I can watch the movie,on my old VGA screen, but, what is the point of having a HD monitor and not being able to watch a HD movie on it!
December 7 to December 12:
Nothing, I try many things, but I'm going nowhere. I change my technique
Now I focus only on title key. I was very surprise to realize that the title key is there, in memory! Can it be that easy? Around 7PM, I decrypt my first movie "pack". Around 11PM, I have now a totally decrypted movie! But there is a problem. Frame skipping.
After many tests, I found a field in the Nav pack, that fix the frame skipping problem.
Wow! Now I can watch a smooth playback of an HDDVD film that I have decrypted!
After only 8 days of work, I was able to decrypt an HD-DVD movie! What's the problem? There is a major security problem somewhere.
December 15 and December 16:
I put together a small program called "BackupHDDVD", a java based command line utility to decrypt movies.
I made a small video called "AACS is Unbreakable" where you can see the output of the program while decrypting.
You can also see a playback of a decrypted movie.
Upload that video on YouTube
Upload the program and source code on RapidShare (V0.99)
I want to go further in the decryption, so I decide to track down the "Volume unique key" instead of title key.
I found it also! I'm preparing BackupHDDVD V1.00, that will support volume key and title keys.
I create a thread on the Doom9 forum about BackupHDDVD. People don't believe it...
Check out the Doom9 thread, read the BackupHD-DVD FAQ on page two, then share your thoughts with us in the HEXUS.lifestyle.news forum.
Update, December 28, 13:45
A second page has been added, containing the BackupHD-DVD FAQ.
HEXUS.linksHEXUS.community :: discussion thread about this article
External.linksDoom9 forum thread - BackupHDDVD, a tool to decrypt AACS protected movies
YouTube - AACS is Unbreakable!
BackupHDDVD - download 1 (18KByte)
BackupHDDVD - download 2 (18KByte)
AACS - home page