Intel's HDCP gets cracked

Chipzilla’s HDCP, which is its copy protection system for audio and video, has been cracked by a German boffin to prove that there are flaws in its encryption.

The announcement by Professor Tim Güneysu is bad news for Big Content because HDCP is used in almost every HDMI or DVI compatible TV or computer monitor. All it took Dr Güneysu was a tool which cost 200 Euro to make.

Intel’s system was to take content from a secure source, like a Blu-ray player, to the screen, and it travels along Intel’s protected system

After a central piece of the encryption code was briefly leaked online last year, Dr. Ing. Tim Güneysu’s, of Ruhr-Universität Bochum wanted to test the strength of Intel’s encryption. He was concerned that the implications of the leak could go beyond Big Content and cause problems for the military or other institutions where security is vital.

Güneysu said that the encryption is tapped into between the media source and its destination, and then sending it to another location. He was able to tap the HDCP encrypted data streams, decipher them, and send the digital content to an unprotected screen via a corresponding HDMI 1.3-compatible receiver.

All it took was a commercial ATLYS board from the company Digilent with a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA, which has the necessary HDMI interfaces and a serial RS232 port for communication.

He will be showing off his results at the ReConFig 2011 in Cancun, Mexico next week.

Intel has upgraded its HDCP to version 2.0 and will not suffer from the same problem if it were not backward comparable with earlier versions.

According to Physorg, Güneysu making HDCP 2.0 backwards compatible means the flaw will be around forever, or for some years, at least.