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Bye CSS hello ACCS: The next protection for optical media?

Posted at 03 January 2005 02:44 CET by Crabbyappleton
Here is a great article over at the IEEE Spectrum site that takes a look at Advanced Access Content System or ACCS. This is the next big thing for content protection, sorely needed by content providers ever since a young Jon Johansen unravelled the present Content Scrambling System or CSS. Now, anyone can copy a DVD movie with just a bit of effort, despite the encryption scheme. This is not going to be acceptable with a new generation of discs about to hit the streets. Discs that will this time will hold master quality content! There are some heavy hitters working on this project such as IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic (Matsushita Electric), Sony, Toshiba, Disney, and Warner Bros. Studios. But, can they outsmart the hackers this time?  I don't think so either. But one key parameter has been made public. The CSS encryption in the first generation of DVDs, which Johansen defeated, used a proprietary 40-bit key for encryption. AACS will use a so-called strong key, the 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard approved by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. "This removes one of the obviously dumb things from CSS'”they were using a cipher that was easy to break," says Dan Wallach, assistant professor of computer science at Rice University, in Houston. Because even strong keys can be compromised, the heart of the new protection technology will be its ability to keep on protecting data even after it has been cracked. The basic idea in recovering from cracking is to make a compromised player key obsolete. Compromised players could continue to play old discs, but not new releases. And crackers would have to start all over again. Ripley identifies a technology called media key block as an important element in recovering from cracking. With this system, there are actually two keys'”one is on the disc itself, but it doesn't work until it is decoded by a second key installed in each player. Multiple versions of this second key can exist; indeed, it is possible that each player would have a unique key, or that groups of players would share keys. Either way, if one key is compromised in the way that CSS was compromised by Johansen and if that decoding method becomes public, new DVDs could include updated on-disc keys that would cause the compromised player-based key to fail. They would, nevertheless, still work with other, uncompromised player-based keys. The article does not stop there, it poses the possibility of someone who cracks a key, but keeps it secret and therefore could continue to copy new releases.  "When you give a secret to a million people, and one of them reverse-engineers it and releases a movie, you might not even be able to identify what key you need to disable," says Rice University's Wallach. As bad as the industry wants to recover from the devastating blow from that Norwegian teenager, it looks pretty unlikely that they wont suffer once again under this new scheme. It's not even out yet and ways are being discovered to create workarounds. Take the time to head on over to the Spectrum site and read the whole article, then please give us your thoughts. I guess what is rather ironic is that there would be no chance of any piracy if the studios would not release the data to the public to begin with. But, no way in heck are they going to kill that golden goose. Kind of like gas stations complaining about drive offs while they continue to sell gas and let the customer pump it to maximise profit. Source: IEEE Spectrum

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There are 20 comments

CD Freaks Senior Member
Posted on: 03 Jan 05 04:18
    So they're willing to replace everyone's player that stops working due to one person cracking a player's key? They did say a group of players may have the same key...
    CDFreaks Resident
    Posted on: 03 Jan 05 06:01
      Disabling keys?! OMG, talk about Draconian!
      CD Freaks Rookie
      Posted on: 03 Jan 05 06:45
        So they're willing to replace everyone's player that stops working due to one person cracking a player's key? They did say a group of players may have the same key...
        I think they are saying that every single individual player may have a different key. They would disable that particular players key from ever working again.
        CDFreaks Resident
        Posted on: 03 Jan 05 07:33
          I can see this would piss me off for computer playability, the software will want to phone home and won't play the disc without access to the internett
          CD News Freak
          Posted on: 03 Jan 05 07:42
            I don't see how this can work, surely a copied disc has all protection removed? i.e. no CSS or Macrovision, and no Region Code. And indeed we all know that some discs come this way anyway, such as documentary material etc. Therefore a copied disc will always play since the disc will have no key, and they player would have to play it, because it could be for example someones holiday video. Maybe I'm missong some here is 6:40am afterall...
            MyCE Senior Member
            Posted on: 03 Jan 05 08:40
              Sounds like DRM hell is about to hit us. I jsut wonder what will happen to dvd's that are released in countries that do not follow the US and their great big stick to fight piracy. Here in Canada these discs would be deemed as illegal because they would violate our right to make a legitimate copy. We still have fair use, and it has been fought for and won in court. So I guess a lot of you Yanks will be coming up here to buy our dvd's? Heck even in some European countries if I remember right, you still have the right to make a backup copy. If they take away that right from me, then I guess we know who really runs the world, mind you us smart people already knew who ran the US, it sure ain't the government for the people. by the people. It's the corporations that fill your greedy ass politicians pockets with money. And the sad thing is they can get away with it because the majority of people are too stupid to realize it, all those on this site at least know what is going on, but joe six pack down the street, haha freaking clueless and brainless dolt!
              Posted on: 03 Jan 05 08:47
                I don't think "devastating blow" is the right description for the cracking of the CSS. Billions of dollars have been made from the dvd sales and Hollywood has never had it so good.
                Posted on: 03 Jan 05 09:30
                  How many legitimate copies do you make dude? I bet you make many more of the illegitimate kind :B
                  CD Freaks Senior Member
                  Posted on: 03 Jan 05 12:23
                    Why do they never seem to consider the BEST way of protecting their product? i.e. LOWER the price you fools! lol :B Ah ...... greed is that why?
                    CD Freaks Member
                    Posted on: 03 Jan 05 12:27
                      Imagine if they hadn't spent 100's of millions developing stupid protections like this. Then they could lower the prices and acheive the same profit.
                      CD Freaks Senior Member
                      Posted on: 03 Jan 05 13:39
                        Unfortunately, Ran is right and the problem is that there are no politicians who are not in some coporation's pocket, so we in the US can't choose to elect people with no corporate backing, it's a choice between which corporation to allow to run the country. Anyway, the way I see it, we are heading toward an Orwellian nightmare on the level of 1984. In the not so distant future, when we buy a movie or music disc, we will only be buying a year's license to have access to that product. After a year, we'll have to pay again to access it. That's why the book publishers are starting to try to push E-book formats because they want in. Think about it, you license the content for a book for a year, if you ever want to re-read it, you'll have to buy another year's license. Magazines will get that way, too. For schlock magazines like Time, People and Motor Trend, that's fine because who wants to read that crap again, but for magazines that have woodworking plans or similar things that you might not build for a year to two, this would be a real PITA!
                        [edited by Saruman on 03.01.2005 13:40]
                        CD Freaks Senior Member
                        Posted on: 03 Jan 05 15:31
                          hey...HEY.....forget that WE shit....YOU are heading for an orwellian nightmare and thats what you get for sitting around with your finger in your arse and your mind in neutral........embrace the future your ilk voted for.........frankly I don't give a ratz rectum if I never see a rehashed, redigitised movie again...and todays music ??......well britney can get by without my green.......I'm getting my 60's - 90's stuff and lotsa beer'n'shit and heading my hairy arse disappearing over that next hill...................:X
                          New on Forum
                          Posted on: 03 Jan 05 21:08
                            All I have to say is if someone can make it, someone can break it.....Just a matter of time before we find a way around it. Copy protections are useless.
                            CD Freaks Member
                            Posted on: 03 Jan 05 21:50
                              Yep, another copy protection scheme that won't do anything to stop piracy. I have never been affected be any copy protection scheme. Anything I have every needed to backup, I've done so, and legally I might add, no amount of effort to define my actions as piracy have ever held water in court, and just cause thay say it's wrong don't make it so. All of the effort to prevent copying have amounted to a waste of energy and money. I do so enjoy watching the mindless content providers working so hard to annoy their source of income. Spend millions to stop piracy, and in then end all they do is hurt a few hapless souls who can't figure out how to get around the protection schemes. What a great business strategy.
                              MyCE Senior Member
                              Posted on: 03 Jan 05 23:47
                                i wonder if you added up all the money they have wasted over the last 8 +years on copy protections put it all together and just do as people ask LOWER THE PRICE you dumb f***s if a person can buy a pirate dvd on the street for a £5 and make a prophit wheat the hell are the big boys making and be honist with yourselfs we the stupid film fodder have allowed actors actresses to ask for stupid wage structures GREEED is running the world just think it wasnt so long ago when we didnt have tv but we were never really bored and our minds were alive but now all i seem to read about is GREEDY companies wanting to make a killing for all our sakes if only we could stand together and not buy anything for a week like a film like a game like a music cd they would tremble look at the fuel protest in the uk nearly brought the uk to its knees ah well ............. back to shitty reality :c
                                Jim Kiler
                                MyCE Member
                                Posted on: 04 Jan 05 05:10
                                  How would they know what DVD keys are cracked unless an internet connection is required to play these movies.
                                  CD Freaks Senior Member
                                  Posted on: 04 Jan 05 05:23
                                    if all the people complaining here didn't buy said products, there'd be no problem. Corporations are only as strong as consumers make them. Without us, they have no market. Blah, blah. All that said, the DVD is gonna be around for a LOOONG time.
                                    MyCE Resident
                                    Posted on: 05 Jan 05 23:38
                                      I wonder whether ACCS is playable in an ordinary CSS DVD Player?
                                      New on Forum
                                      Posted on: 06 Jan 05 06:42
                                        Are you kidding?? How else are they gonna get the manufacturers to get on board with adding all the antipiracy crap to the new players?? Nothing will play on CSS machines, you have to go buy a new ACSS machine!! MPAA gets new protection on players from manufacturers, manufacturers get dvd player sales boom all over again
                                        MyCE Resident
                                        Posted on: 06 Jan 05 09:22
                                          More information about the proposals can be seen here...

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