"All it takes is the shift key," Alex Halderman GS said, describing his discovery of a way to bypass the copy-prevention technique on SunnComm Technologies' new copy-protection for audio CDs on PCs.
The copy-protected program, MediaMax CD3, was recently placed on an Anthony Hamilton album released by BMG Music Group two weeks ago.
MediaMax places two versions of each song on a CD — one to play in standard CD players and the other for computer use with the encryption software. When the CD is placed in a PC, Halderman explained, the software automatically runs and installs a driver that prevents unauthorized copying.
SunComm Technologies described its product as "a verifiable and commendable level of security" and "an incredible level of security for music."
However, Halderman, who completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton last year, discovered that by simply pressing the shift key for 10 seconds while loading the CD, the autorun feature of Microsoft Windows is disabled, and the SunComm software does not load, allowing the music to be copied.
Halderman said that the shift key must be pressed every time or else the copy prevention software will load. However, if a user forgets to hit the shift key and the software does load, he said, a user could simply go to the device manager and disable the driver labeled "SbcpHid" and continue to copy the CD.
Earlier this week, Halderman published a paper with his findings.
Halderman, a graduate student in the computer science department, has worked on encryption software for the past two years and is publishing a study entitled, "Evaluating New Copy-Prevention Techniques for Audio CDs." His understanding of encryption software helped him bypass the security measures, he said.
SunComm described its product as a speed bump to keep honest users honest. But Halderman said, "It's not really a speed bump but a pothole. It's annoying and easy to drive around."
Despite the faults he discovered in audio CD encryption methods, Halderman said he does not approve of anti-piracy laws.
"I think that artists have a right to be compensated for their work. However, I don't think that encryption software is the way to go about it," he said.
SunComm Technologies has not contacted Halderman about his research. SunComm's stock fell 20 percent yesterday to $0.124.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.