SlySoft cracks first generation BD+ encryption schemes

Wednesday 19th March 2008, 10:10:00 PM, written by Carl Bender

SlySoft, makers of optical media ripping software, announced today that the latest version of AnyDVD HD will include support for stripping Blu-ray discs of BD+ protection. However, although the software functions as promised for the majority of titles, several discs have experienced conditional glitches (Robocop and Sunshine reported), and the newest title Hitman retains full BD+ protection.

Developed originally by Cryptography Research and deployed exclusively by Fox studios, the VM-based BD+ encryption scheme has been cited as a major factor in the Fox decision to back Blu-ray. BD+ is distinct from AACS and similar key-based protections by being more an operational framework than a set encryption method/protocol; a key aspect of its touted advantage is the ability to be completely re-deployed disc-to-disc as needs require. As seen with Hitman (noteworthy also for being the first Fox title to feature an on-disc portable digital copy), Fox has seemingly already begun the shift to a new generation of BD+ encryption.

SlySoft by their own admission expects further evolved forms of BD+ to hit the shelves in the coming months, but feels confident that given their success with early versions, they will be able to crack future releases as well. The extent to which their efforts are platform vs title specific are unclear though, as user-reported video errors generated in Robocop and region-lock preservation in Sunshine point to a highly fluid environment both on the encryption side and the hacking side. Ultimately, the value of BD+ to Fox and others may be derived entirely by the length of time they are able to stave off cracking, rather than the idea that the cracking itself can be prevented.

Although BD+ figures into a minority of released titles, the high-profile nature of the challenge it represents will likely keep the cat-and-mouse game between Fox and SlySoft interesting for some time to come.

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