Intel: leaked HDCP master key is real, but it's no big deal

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Intel has confirmed that the recently leaked High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) master key, which permanently unlocks the DRM protocol on Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and displays with HDMI inputs, is indeed legitimate. "We can use it to generate valid device keys that do interoperate with the HDCP protocol," an Intel spokesperson told CNET.

Nevertheless, Intel believes that the technology will remain effective. "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)."

Despite what Intel says, and of course the company would not admit to being worried, this is a major loss for the film industry since HDCP is built into the HDMI spec. The key was leaked via Twitter with a link to a (still available) Pastebin page that describes it as "a forty times forty element matrix of fifty-six bit hexadecimal numbers." Intel noted that it still does not know who posted it or how they managed to obtain it.


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