HDCP Master Key supposedly leaked to internet

Word has begun to spread the past couple of days that High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), the DRM that prevents copying data over HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort connections, may have been irrevocably broken.

A so-called “master key” used to generate individual keys on all HDCP devices, such as Blu-ray disc players, was posted on an online forum and soon spread across the internet via blogs and social networking sites.

HDCP Master Key supposedly leaked to internet

Ordinarily, if a device’s individual key has been known to have been leaked, that key is revoked and a new one is generated by the HDCP licensing company using the master. With the existence of the master now apparently freely available, anyone who knows what they are doing now has the ability to create a key for any applicable device. That person would then have the ability to make high-quality copies of audio and video files from the device.

What does this mean to the average consumer?

Probably not much, unless the person has some sort of digital capture device and some knowledge about data archiving.

What it does mean is that those interested in pirating movies and audio, as well as those who do legitimate archiving, can now build systems that will capture and copy data without having to worry about the key being revoked and their systems being blocked. They can simply generate a new key for the media-playing device and go back to copying more data.

If this is indeed a true HDCP master key, torrents could soon be flooded with plenty of new pirated media files and there isn’t much that the licensing company will be able to do about it.