Pirates dance around AACS 2 encryption to offer UHD Blu-Ray movies online

Available over the last few weeks, questions remain as to whether the encryption protocol has been cracked.

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Nicolas Raymond CC 2.0

Pirates have ramped up the game with the release of never-before-seen UHD Blu-Ray video which, only a few weeks ago, was considered out-of-bounds due to strong encryption.

As reported by TorrentFreak, three Ultra HD Blu-Ray copies of popular movies have recently been released on pirate websites.

While it is common for camera-based (CAM), HD, and Blu-Ray films and television shows to be uploaded and shared online -- to the exasperation of copyright holders -- Ultra Blu-Ray has long been considered an area outside of a pirate's grasp.

UHD Blu-Ray is protected by Advanced Access Content System (AACS) 2 encryption, developed and used by IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, and Sony, among others, to protect content.

It has generally been considered as extremely difficult to crack, if not impossible at today's computing standards, but now with the release of a third UHD Blu-Ray film to the pirate community, questions have arisen as to how this has been made possible.

The first movie to be released in this format was Smurfs 2, and this has now been followed by Patriots Day and Inferno, the latter of which have been released by the TERMiNAL uploader group.

While not recommended for download as it is most certainly illegal, leechers can expect to wait a while for each movie as file sizes are around the 50GB mark.

At the time of the first release, the theory of how the copy was made available surrounded the title's AACS 2 encryption keys.

It was believed that perhaps the keys linked to that film alone had been stolen or compromised, but it would follow that no more UHD Blu-Ray titles could be cracked using the same code.

Now two more have followed suit, there may indeed be a crack available for the encryption protocol. With the latest generation of UHD Blu-Ray films also containing bus encryption, however, this would mean pirates would need to crack two keys for a single film, making this explanation rather unlikely.

Alternatively, the uploaders may have somehow acquired a source for the keys required to decrypt new movie titles.

Speaking to the publication, an unnamed source also suggested that a private exploit in Intel's SGX system may be at the heart of the issue.

"If SGX has a loop, that will enable people to read PowerDVD's memory," the source said. "That will then allow them to copy the decrypted data from the UHD Blu-Ray drive 1:1."

See also: Roadshow targeting additional websites in piracy case

In February, Google and Microsoft agreed to strike piracy-related links from the first page of UK searches. As part of an agreement with the UK government, both companies may eventually tweak search engine autocomplete features to remove terms related to the download of copyrighted material.

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