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Partial SDMI Crack Published

By Potsy in MLP
Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 12:02:49 PM EST
Tags: Security (all tags)

A pair of graduate students in France recently published a crack for one of the six watermarking schemes from the "Hack SDMI" challenge. The group of researchers from Princeton, Rice, and Xerox's PARC are also still planning to publish their results, although according to a recent New York Times article, they have some concerns regarding the legality of doing so, due to the DMCA. At the moment they are planning to talk with their lawyers some more, and then publish an "abridged" version of their results.

The version of SDMI given out in the challenge contains six watermarking schemes. The French researchers have so far released details on how to defeat one of those schemes (scheme "F"). Their FAQ states that they hope to publish cracks for at least one or two more of the algorithms. They also state that, in their opinion, if any wakermarking schemes such as those found in the challenge were ever released for real-world use, they will not remain secure for long:
[W]e conjecture that if this system, or a system using the same core technology with a more sophisticated function [alpha], is ever deployed, it will rapidly be defeated.
In their view, the effectiveness of the SDMI system is heavily dependent on the secrecy of the algorithm; in other words, the much looked-down upon "security through obscurity". And the algorithms are unlikely to remain secrect for long, because as they state: "if a detector is distributed, either in software or hardware, it can be disassembled and analyzed". These results seem to confirm what many people have been saying all along: that any security system SDMI attempts to deploy will in all probability be very quickly rendered useless.

It should be noted that the American research team has not received any threats of legal action, and it is unclear how much detail will be left out of the "abridged" version of their results. Their website currently promises a technical report will be released "sometime in January".


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Partial SDMI Crack Published | 11 comments (2 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
"Copyright" protection (4.50 / 2) (#9)
by dj@ on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 12:13:42 PM EST

Now that SDMI has been cracked, perhaps the media industry and government will finally re-think their strategies. If the people of the government had any clue whatsoever, they would be the ones trying to find a middle ground in this whole debate, rather than taking sides so egregiously.

Regardless, would it make sense to use cracking of encryption and watermarking schemes as a valid and natural duration for copy protection? This would mean that as soon as someone cracks the copy protection mechanism, the content essentially enters public domain. This might encourage all of those working to crack it to help develop better mechanisms to keep it safer longer, and also make it in everyone's interest to do these things in the open so that one group doesn't develop a scheme that is easy to hijack. What are the problems with this? Is it too hard to hack algorithms and too easy to crack them? Would this place too short a protection on content? Would the people of the government be too stuck on demonizing "hackers" that they could never sponsor such an effort?

Aftershock? (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by inpHilltr8r on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 09:03:19 PM EST

This seems relevant.

Partial SDMI Crack Published | 11 comments (2 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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