Security flaw in DRM software halts film download services

Over the past few days, several newspapers including The Guardian and industry newswires such as ZDNet, silicon.com and The Register, have reported on the security flaw that has emerged in Microsoft's digital rights management software.

In the UK, a leading broadcaster who launched its own movie and sports clip broadband download service in January, has decided to suspend its service as 'a precaution' while Microsoft® works on a secure version of its DRM software. The Guardian has also reported that the security flaw may jeopardise that launch of BT Vision, planned for the autumn, although BT said it was not experiencing similar problems with the Microsoft software.

For software hackers, the stakes are now much higher. Any security flaw that can be exploited in DRM software can lead to much greater mischief making and has the potential for financial gain. Instead of causing their victim's computers to crash or destroying data stored on their local hard drive - hackers now have the much greater challenge of stealing copyrighted material and re-disseminating it for free or for profit.

For content owners, whether they are Hollywood studios, broadcasters or the owners of sporting rights, they need to be confident that the DRM software employed will not require regular user-activated software upgrades to protect against identified security vulnerabilities. If so, how many users will be willing (or organised enough) to update the versions of the DRM software installed on their own computers on a regular basis, that is, if their firewall software doesn't already block software downloads, to ensure that the copyright owner's material is not compromised?

Further details at: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/13/microsoft_drm_bskyb=/

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