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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hi-Def Formats Copy Protection Brute Forced

Via Alice Hill, via Ars Technica:

The screen capture feature of the operating system allowed each frame to be digitally captured exactly as it was displayed on-screen. Since it would be impractical to sit around advancing movies frame by frame and hitting PrintScreen all day, a script was used to automate the process. Each frame resulted in a 2 MB image. The computers used were fast enough to capture 30 frames per second, enabling real-time capturing of the movies without dropped frames. For a 90-minute movie, this is 162,000 frames, or approximately 324 GB in total storage, so if you try this, make sure you have lots of free hard disk space!
-- HD-DVD, Blu-Ray Copy Protection Defeated by “Low-Tech High-Tech” Method

For a brief few months in a previous life, I was a data security analyst. Essentially it was my job to design secure authentication methods for various inter-intra-extranets that were forming. Parts of me loved it because it was different and challenging and I got to compile stuff for a change. Lots more of me hated it because it makes you a paranoid freak. Maybe you only want specific people to be able to even see a page exists, so you have those pages looking for specific IP and credential information ... but of course all of that can be faked so you need to make sure the communication is secure regardless and so .... and so on.

Trying to copy protect movies, music and software in these ways is similar ... except it's even more futile because you have a large audience with a high demand (surprisingly few people actually want to break into someone else's insurance records). Eventually something needs to get that media into a format which is playable and then bam ... someone's going to figure out a way to snag that.

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