Researchers from the Ruhr University of Bochum’s Secure Hardware Group in Germany have cracked the copy protection system used by HDMI ports: Intel’s HDCP, or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. In addition to HDMI, HDCP is used to encrypt video signals transferred via DVI, DisplayPort and other connectors.
“In 2010, an HDCP master key, which is intended to form the secret core element of the encryption system, appeared briefly on a website,” reads the official press release. “In response, the manufacturer Intel announced that HDCP still represented an effective protection component for digital entertainment, as the production of an HDCP-compatible chip using this master key would be highly complex and expensive.”
Seemingly taking that as a challenge, the team accomplished the “inexpensive” man-in-the-middle attack by using Digilent’s Atlys Spartan-6 FPGA development board. It features a Xilinx Spartan-6 LX45 FPGA (field programmable gate array) in a 324-pin BGA package, two HDMI video input ports, two HDMI video output ports, a 10/100/1000 Ethernet jack, a RS232 serial port and more.