When news broke on Tuesday that the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) master key had been leaked, no one was sure if it was the real deal or not. Now we do, as Intel, one of the companies that helped develop the HDCP, confirms that it is genuine.
"We can use it to generate valid device keys that do interoperate with the (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) protocol," Intel spokesman Tom Waldrop told CNET today.
But ... Intel believes that the code won't open the floodgates to unlicensed HDCP devices capable of playing back pirated discs because the key needs to implemented on a chip. However, the company has not ruled out the possibility that it could be incorporated into a software decoder:
As a practical matter, the most likely scenario for a hacker would be to create a computer chip with the master key embedded it, that could be used to decode Blu-ray discs. A software decoder is unlikely, "but I'd never say never," Waldrop said.
I wouldn't be so sure. Time and time again the hype surrounding the encryption and DRM mechanisms used to protect media has come crashing down to earth as hackers find ways to defeat them.
If I had to place money on either big business or the hackers, I'd bet on the ingenuity of the hacking community to leverage this find.
Still no word on how this master key was uncovered.