HDCP logo Intel: HDCP Master Key Leak Is The Real Deal

Some time back, there was word out in the internet that the master key for HDCP, a protection for digital output of media, had been cracked and uploaded online. Of course, it was only a rumour then, but Intel has now stepped in to confirm what many had feared: the leaked master key for its HDCP encryption layer is indeed the real deal. What would this mean for the future of protected digital content?

Read on to find out more.

HDCP logo Intel: HDCP Master Key Leak Is The Real Deal

Some time back, there was word out in the internet that the master key for HDCP, a protection for digital output of media, had been cracked and uploaded online. Of course, it was only a rumour then, but Intel has now stepped in to confirm what many had feared: the leaked master key for its HDCP encryption layer is indeed the real deal.

For those who are unaware, HDCP is an encryption layer developed by Intel to protect the output of media players such as internet or cable TV set-top boxes and Blu-ray devices via digital output methods like DVI or HDMI. By implementing HDCP encryption, the source devices (which would be the media players and set-top boxes) will not send data to any other device except the appropriate receivers such as television sets or computer monitors. This essentially ensures that no perfect signal dumps can be made to any other unauthorized devices.

So what does the recent security compromise of HDCP mean? Simply put, perfect digital copies or dumps of digital content can now be made on any device, as long as one implements the leaked master key on said device. And the biggest draw of the leak is that hardware manufacturers no longer have to negotiate with Intel for HDCP licensing fees. This opens the door for devices capable of stripping out HDCP encryption from such digital content, while retaining near perfect signal quality in the process.

However, Intel has claimed that HDCP will still remain effective for use in securing digital content, and has promised to make use of legal means to stop the propagation of devices making use of the leaked master key.

“There’s a large install base of licensed devices including several hundred licensees that will continue to use it and in any case, were a (circumvention) device to appear that attempts to take advantage of this particular hack there are legal remedies, particularly under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act),” said Intel spokesman Tom Waldrop.

Source: CNET via Ars Technica