How Much Math Do I Need To Know For Hacking HDCP, High -Bandwidth Digital Content Protection: Beginners Guide

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HDCP, High -Bandwidth Digital Content Protection: Beginners Guide

Background:

High-definition digital video allows users to experience near-perfect high-resolution video content. As more content is delivered digitally, content creators are increasingly concerned about content piracy because digital content can be seamlessly duplicated. Therefore, anti-piracy measures such as High Bandwidth Content Protection (HDCP) are needed so that original content creators can protect their assets. In this article we will discuss the key points of HDCP

What is HDCP:

High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection, HDCP, is an encryption scheme developed to defend against the uncontrolled copying of digital content over high-bandwidth digital interconnects such as DVI and HDMI. The FCC approved HDCP as a “Digital Output Protection Technology” on August 4, 2004.

An HDCP protected system consists of: 1) an HDCP transmitter (eg DVD player), 2) the digital interface (DVI or HDMI), and 3) the HDCP receiver (your display monitor). In short, the content is encrypted at the transmitter and the signal is passed to the HDCP receiver (display) via the DDC lines (essentially an I2C bus) where it is decrypted before being displayed. HDCP requires both the sender and receiver to comply with the standards. If any of these are not met, the video will not display properly. By the way, HDCP does not apply to analog interface such as component video, although component video can be used to display high definition video.

Why the consumer should care about HDCP:

It is highly recommended that consumers become aware of HDCP and purchase HDCP compliant sets. Here’s why. It has been speculated that the two competing high-definition DVD standards, HD DVD and BLUE RAY, due out in 2006, will only offer full resolution on HDCP-protected outputs such as HDMI or DVI. If true, users must have an HDCP monitor to experience full resolution HD DVD technology. Therefore, it is prudent for the consumer to select HDCP compliant displays so that the display can be used with future applications.

What it entails during an HDCP session:

HDCP is a complicated process, but it can be broken down into 3 key functions: authentication, encryption, and renewability.

authentication: The first step before the video is actually sent is for the HDCP transmitter to determine if the receiver is “authorized” to accept HDCP protected content. In the PROM of each transmitter and receiver is an array of 40-bit, 56-bit secret keys and a 40-bit entity called the Key Selection Vector. Authentication requires the sender and receiver pair to exchange “secret keys” and key selection vectors. The keys are scrambled and never revealed. The math behind encryption allows each half to calculate a resulting number, called Rs, based on key exchanges. Then the value of Rs is shared and compared. If the Rs value matches, the receiver is accepted as an authorized HDCP receiver and video streaming can begin.

Encryption/Transmission: After the authentication is completed, the streaming of the video content can be started. To prevent an unauthorized receiver from receiving the content, the video data must be encrypted before transmission. At the transmitter end, the video data bits are uniquely ordered with a shared calculated number, we can call it Rt (Rt is similar to how Rs was calculated) and sent to the receiver. At the receiver end, the encrypted data is reordered exclusively with Rt. Since the XOR function is invertible, XORing it with the same Rt at the receiver end will reveal the true unencoded video bits. By the way, a new Rt value is calculated about every 2 seconds to avoid corruption due to hacking.

Renewability: future renewability ensures that private keys are not exposed to unauthorized users due to tampering.

Conclusion:

HDTV technology is changing rapidly. Content providers must protect themselves from piracy by implementing HDCP. HDCP and digital connection standards such as HDMI will become the de facto standard for digital video connections. We have outlined the important features of HDCP, so that the consumer can make smart purchasing decisions.

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