Next-gen Ultra HD Blu-ray discs probably won’t be cracked for a while

Ultra HD Blu-ray logoDVDFab, a software tool for ripping and decrypting DVDs and Blu-ray discs, will not be upgraded to support newer Ultra HD (4K) Blu-ray discs.

Fengtao Software, which makes DVDFab, said in a statement that it "will not decrypt or circumvent AACS 2.0 in the days to come. This is in accordance with AACS-LA, (which has not made public the specifications for AACS 2.0), the BDA [Blu-ray Disc Association] and the movie studios." AACS-LA is the body that develops and licenses the Blu-ray DRM system.

Curiously, Fengtao's announcement comes just a day after SlySoft—the company that makes the ripping tool AnyDVD—ceased operations and vanished from the Web. All that's left is a cryptic message on SlySoft's website: "Due to recent regulatory requirements we have had to cease all activities relating to SlySoft Inc."

As you may know, DVDs were protected using Content Scramble System (CSS), an encryption scheme that proved quite easy to break. Blu-ray discs (and HD DVDs) used Advanced Access Control System (AACS), which was based on a more complex cryptography scheme, but it was still fairly easy to break.

Next-gen Ultra HD Blu-ray discs probably won’t be cracked for a while

The new Ultra HD Blu-ray standard, however, takes it up a notch. AACS 2.0 has a "basic" version that sounds quite similar to existing AACS, but also an "enhanced" version of DRM that requires the playback device to download the decryption key from the Internet. There might still be a hole in the AACS 2.0 crypto scheme that allows for UHD discs to be ripped, but presumably it'll be a lot tougher than its predecessors.

In fact, the Fengtao statement even acknowledges that someone will "likely" crack AACS 2.0—it just won't be Fengtao that does it. Clearly, between the statement and SlySoft's closure, there are some litigious undertones here. Will another developer step into the ring and crack AACS 2.0, or will Ultra HD Blu-ray be unassailable?

The first UHD Blu-ray players trickled onto the market in January this year, along with a small number of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. The players are expensive—about £400/$500—but the discs themselves are in-line with previous Blu-ray discs.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: 4K, Blu-ray, break, technologies

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