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High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP; commonly, though incorrectly, referred to as High-Definition Copy(right) Protection) is a form of digital copy protection and Digital Restrictions Management developed by Intel Corporation to prevent copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across connections. Types of connections include DisplayPort (DP), Digital Visual Interface (DVI), and High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), as well as less popular, or now defunct, protocols like Gigabit Video Interface (GVIF) and Unified Display Interface (UDI).
The system is meant to stop HDCP-encrypted content from being played on unauthorized devices or devices which have been modified to copy HDCP content. Before sending data, a transmitting device checks that the receiver is authorized to receive it. If so, the transmitter encrypts the data to prevent eavesdropping as it flows to the receiver.
In order to make a device that plays material protected by HDCP, the manufacturer must obtain a license from Intel subsidiary Digital Content Protection LLC, pay an annual fee, and submit to various conditions. For example, the device cannot be designed to copy; it must "frustrate attempts to defeat the content protection requirements"; it must not transmit high definition protected video to non-HDCP receivers; and DVD-Audio material can be played only at CD-audio quality by non-HDCP digital audio outputs (analog audio outputs have no quality limits). HDCP does not allow copying permitted by fair use laws.
Cryptanalysis researchers demonstrated flaws in HDCP as early as 2001. In September 2010, a HDCP master key that allows for the generation of valid device keys—rendering the key revocation feature of HDCP useless—was released to the public. Intel has confirmed that the crack is real, and believes the master key was reverse engineered rather than leaked. In practical terms, the impact of the crack has been described as "the digital equivalent of pointing a video camera at the TV", and of limited importance for copyright infringers because the encryption of high-definition discs has been attacked directly, without the loss of interactive features like menus. Intel threatened to sue anyone producing an unlicensed device.
HDCP uses three systems:
Each HDCP-capable device has a unique set of 40 56-bit keys. Failure to keep them secret violates the license agreement. For each set of values, a special public key called a KSV (Key Selection Vector) is created. Each KSV consists of 40 bits (one bit for each HDCP key), with 20 bits set to 0 and 20 bits set to 1.
During authentication, the parties exchange their KSVs under a procedure called Blom's scheme. Each device adds (unsigned addition modulo 256) its own secret keys together according to a KSV received from another device. Depending on the order of the bits set to 1 in the KSV, a corresponding secret key is used or ignored in the addition. The generation of keys and KSVs gives both devices the same 56-bit number, which is later used to encrypt data.
Encryption is done by a stream cipher. Each decoded pixel is encrypted by applying an XOR operation with a 24-bit number produced by a generator. The HDCP specifications ensure constant updating of keys after each encoded frame.
If a particular set of keys is compromised, their corresponding KSV is added to a revocation list burned onto new discs in the DVD and Blu-ray formats. (The lists are signed with a DSA digital signature, which is meant to keep malicious users from revoking legitimate devices.) During authentication, the transmitting device looks for the receiver's KSV on the list, and if it is there, will not send protected content to the revoked device.
HDCP devices are generally divided into three categories:
Each device may contain one or more HDCP transmitters and/or receivers. (A single transmitter or receiver chip may combine HDCP and HDMI functionality.)
In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved HDCP as a "Digital Output Protection Technology" on August 4, 2004. The FCC's Broadcast flag regulations, which were struck down by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, would have required DRM technologies on all digital outputs from HDTV signal demodulators. Congress is still considering legislation that would implement something similar to the Broadcast Flag. The HDCP standard is more restrictive than the FCC's Digital Output Protection Technology requirement. HDCP bans compliant products from converting HDCP-restricted content to full-resolution analog form, presumably in an attempt to reduce the size of the analog hole.
On January 19, 2005, the European Information, Communications, and Consumer Electronics Technology Industry Associations (EICTA) announced that HDCP is a required component of the European "HD ready" label.
HDCP strippers remove HDCP information from the video signal in order to allow the data to flow freely to a non-HDCP display. It is currently unclear whether such devices would remain working if the HDCP licensing body issued key-revocation lists, which may be installed via new media (e.g. newer Blu-ray Discs) played-back by another device (e.g. a Blu-ray Disc player) connected to it.
In 2001, Scott Crosby of Carnegie Mellon University wrote a paper with Ian Goldberg, Robert Johnson, Dawn Song, and David Wagner called "A Cryptanalysis of the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection System", and presented it at ACM-CCS8 DRM Workshop on November 5.
The authors concluded that HDCP's linear key exchange is a fundamental weakness, and discussed ways to:
They also said the Blom's scheme key swap could be broken by a so-called conspiracy attack: obtaining the keys of at least 40 devices and reconstructing the secret symmetrical master matrix that was used to compute them.
Around the same time, Niels Ferguson independently claimed to have broken the HDCP scheme, but he did not publish his research, citing legal concerns arising from the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
On September 14, 2010, the Engadget website reported the release of a possible genuine HDCP master key which can create device keys that can authenticate with other HDCP compliant devices without obtaining valid keys from The Digital Content Protection LLC. This master key would neutralize the key revocation feature of HDCP, because new keys can be created when old ones are revoked. It was not immediately clear who discovered the key or how they discovered it, though the discovery was announced via a Twitter update which linked to a Pastebin snippet containing the key and instructions on how to use it. Engadget said the attacker may have used the method proposed by Crosby in 2001 to retrieve the master key, although they cited a different researcher. On September 16, Intel confirmed that the code had been cracked. Intel has threatened legal action against anyone producing hardware to circumvent the HDCP, possibly under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Two years ago[when?] version 2.1 was proved broken by abusing the fact the key for pairing is encrypted with XOR, which makes the encryptor (Receiver) unaware whether it encrypt or decrypt the key. The encryption was based only on random from the Transmitter, so any application which is a transmitter could recover Km. V2.2 was released to fix that, yet as long as backward compatibility with v2.1 and v2.0 is maintained, any V2.0 or V2.1 receiver is capable of accepting signals from a V2.2 Transmitter.
HDCP can cause problems for users who want to connect multiple screens to a device; for example, a bar with several televisions connected to one satellite receiver or when a user has a closed laptop and uses an external display as his only monitor. HDCP devices can create multiple keys, allowing each screen to operate, but the number varies from device to device; e.g., a Dish or Sky satellite receiver can generate 16 keys. The technology sometimes causes handshaking problems where devices cannot establish a connection, especially with older high-definition displays.
Edward Felten wrote "the main practical effect of HDCP has been to create one more way in which your electronics could fail to work properly with your TV," and concluded in the aftermath of the master key fiasco that HDCP has been "less a security system than a tool for shaping the consumer electronics market."
Additional issues arise with interactive media (i.e. video games) from control latency due to the additional processing (encoding/decoding) required. Further, use cases such as live streaming or capture of game play, are also adversely affected.
There is also the problem that all Apple laptop products, presumably to reduce switch time, when confronted with a HDCP compliant device switches all output from the DVI / Mini DisplayPort / Thunderbolt connector port to HDCP compliant. This is a problem if you wish to record or use video conferencing facilities further down the chain, which are inherently forbidden by HDCP. This applies even if the output is not HDCP material, like a powerpoint presentation.
|HDCP revision||Release Date||Supported interfaces|
|1.0||Feb 17, 2000||DVI|
|1.1||Jun 9, 2003||DVI, HDMI|
|1.2||Jun 13, 2006||DVI, HDMI|
|1.3||Dec 21, 2006||DVI, HDMI, DP, GVIF, UDI|
|1.4||Jul 8, 2009|
|2.0 IIA||Oct 23 2008|
|2.1 IIA||Jul 18, 2011|
|2.2 IIA||Oct 16, 2012|
|2.2 for HDMI||Feb 13, 2013|
|2.2 for MHL||Sep 11, 2013|
The 2.x version of HDCP is not a continuation of HDCPv1, and is rather a completely different link protection. While all of the HDCP v1.x specifications support backwards compatibility to previous versions of the specification, HDCPv2 devices may interface with HDCPv1 hardware only by natively supporting HDCPv1, or by using a dedicated converter device. As a result, there is currently no deployment plan for v2 to replace v1 in existing systems. This means that HDCPv2 is only applicable to new technologies. It has been selected for the WirelessHD and Miracast (formerly WiFi Display) standards.
HDCP 2.x features a new authentication protocol, and a locality check to ensure the receiver is relatively close (it must respond to the locality check within 20 ms on a normal (DVI/HDMI link ). Version 2.1 of the specification was recently cryptanalyzed and found to have several flaws, including the ability to recover the session key.
There are still few commonalities between HDCP v2 and v1