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Simple Flaw in CD - Copy Protection System

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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:12 PM
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Simple Flaw in CD - Copy Protection System

October 7, 2003
Simple Flaw in CD - Copy Protection System?
By REUTERS Filed at 3:04 p.m. ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Princeton graduate student said on Monday that he has figured out a way to defeat new software intended to keep music CDs from being copied on a computer -- simply by pressing the Shift-key.

In a paper posted on his Web site late Monday, John Halderman said the MediaMax CD3 software developed by SunnComm Technologies Inc. (STEH.OB) could be defeated on computers running the Windows operating system by holding down the Shift key, disabling a Windows feature that automatically launches the encryption software on the disc.

Halderman said the protection could also be disabled by stopping the driver the CD installs when it is first inserted into a computer's drive.

Computers running Linux and older versions of the Mac operating system are unable to run the software and are able to copy the disc freely, he said.<snip>
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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:16 PM
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1. One more reason Macs rule
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alexwcovington Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:17 PM
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Devils Advocate NZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:45 PM
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3. What took them so long to figure it out?
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 04:28 PM by Devils Advocate NZ
I knew this the second I heard about this new "copy protection" scheme.

In fact, if you download Tweak UI from Microsoft you can disable this permanently for all CD-ROMs by going into the "Paranoia" tab and disabling "Play Data CDs automatically" and "Play Music CDs automatically".

On edit: Just thought I would explain how this all works.

When Microsoft created Windows 95, they added a new feature called "Autorun". Basically what happens is a CD-ROM drive has a "notification" feature that informs Windows when a CD has been inserted into the drive. When Windows receives this notification it looks at the CD to determine whether it is a data CD or a Music CD. A data CD works by having "track 1" of the CD filled with data instead of music. That is why some data CD-ROMS also have music on them. All you have to do is go to track two and you get the music. In fact most modern music CD players will automatically skip over this track and treat the real track two as track one.

Anyway, if it sees a music CD it opens your CD player and it begins to play. If it sees a data CD, it looks for a file called autorun.inf. This file has information in it telling Windows what icon to use as the drive icon in Explorer, and what application on the CD to run.

So the ONLY way a copy protection program can work is by having track one filled with data and using this autorun.inf file to get windows to run it.

Now, Microsoft could see that autorun could potentially be a problem, so they included the shift key override (just like on autorun macros in Office). So that if you hold down shift when inserting the CD, the autorun file doesn't get executed, or the CD player started in the case of music CDs.

But they went one step further. As I said above this feature can be permanently disabled using Tweak UI, a Microsoft utility that allows you to configure some hidden Windows options. Also any programmer could do the same by directly modifying the registry.

Basically, this "copy protection" scheme is actually a con and will only affect people who aren't serious about copying music CDs and thus haven't spent even a second or two thinking about how to defeat this system.
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T Roosevelt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:02 PM
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4. Of course how long until the FBI shows up at his door
at the request of the RIAA? I'm sure they'll try to pull some DMCA BS to have him hauled in.
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