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BD+ Advanced Countermeasure: How Blu-Ray can hose your player

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Pete T C, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. Pete T C

    Pete T C Well-Known Member

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    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post8193766


    In other words, Sony Rootkit Part 2. Basically if a Blu-Ray disc detects something it doesn't like and can't get rid of it, it can run native code of its choosing (a la rootkit) on your machine and possibly even permanently disable it. Something good to know if you are on the fence between the two formats - note that HD DVD does not include this "feature."
     
  2. Bob_L

    Bob_L Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm.

    Is it just me or--between this and the draconian copy protection scheme--is the Blu-Ray starting to take on a new identity as the next generation Divx DVD?

    EDIT:

    Later in this thread, more of an interview with Parsons is quoted that makes this sound NOT QUITE so threatening:


    Even so, reading further in the thread, it becomes apparent that native code CAN be run on the BD players which may have the potential to disable the player. If a company tried to do this, there would be a widespread groaning and gnashing of teeth. However, that wouldn't stop someone else from exploiting this. What hacker wouldn't like to be the one who wrote the virus that hosed the world's BD players?

    Not a nice thought. We'll just have to see how this plays out.

    This next gen DVD format war is a befuddling business, isn't it? [​IMG]
     
  3. Ryan-G

    Ryan-G Well-Known Member

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    I'm having a problem here with this.

    Now standalone players should be fine. But PC based drives have an issue, Java is not a terribly difficult language as far as programming languages go. I can easily see a method for PC drives to be infected, and disabled, in short order. Especially since Starforce showed it's ability to mess with drives.

    If the whole thing were running on the PC's OS, I'd be ok with it. But since it's a drive with a functional processor on it, this could cause alot of trouble.

    But, as bad as that is, it's a great deal worse for PS3. A hacker could easily off millions of PS3's with a virus.

    I dunno though, I mean GPU's are functional processors and nothing's ever happened to them, maybe it's not as bad as I'm thinking...
     
  4. Tony Stark

    Tony Stark Well-Known Member

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    I am trying to understand why this is a bad thin. So why is it?

    Basically, if you don't mess with the firmware the player will operate fine. If you purchase legit discs the machine will work with no problems.

    Say a virus is loaded on a game/movie at the manufacture and got past qualit control. Millions of discs of that game wont work, but the player will still play other media. A recall or exchange of the faulty disc would happen and things will soon be settled. I know I have had about a dozen or so bad DVD's over the year bought new that wouldnt play.

    So again, why is this a bad thing (a company making sure that its hardware hasnt been tampered with)?
     
  5. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Well-Known Member

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    After the rootkit fiasco, I don't see how Sony running unspecified "security" code on any type of hardware sounds like a good idea. They don't get the benefit of the doubt anymore from me.
     
  6. Rob_Walton

    Rob_Walton Well-Known Member

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    Was BD+ developed by Sony?
     
  7. Rachael B

    Rachael B Well-Known Member

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    BD+ may not always function properly. It could be the cause of malfunctions. Will a defective disc set it off? Extra cogs in a machine are usually a bad idea. One of Murphy's Laws is, "anything that can can go wrong, will go wrong".
     
  8. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, and I don't care. Sony is ultimately in charge.

    Neither piece of software involved in the rootkit debacle was developed by Sony, but it was them that chose to use it and release it. So whether BD+ was developed in-house or by a third party, means nothing in terms of how uneasy I feel about it. It's Sony calling the shots.
     
  9. Rob_Walton

    Rob_Walton Well-Known Member

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    The BDA is more than Sony. Frankly I'm starting to think Panasonic weild more power in this group than the object of your ire. As to root kits I have no love for them, regardless of whether it's Sony's CDs or Microsoft's recent software update version. They all suck.
     
  10. Ryan-G

    Ryan-G Well-Known Member

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    This is true, though from what the article says all it will do is lockout that disc.

    The other part is BR PC Drives and PS3's. Both of them are capable of executing code from outside sources, say a Worm or a Virus. Once executed, it can theoretically access the firmware on a BR Drive intentionally triggering the "Don't Play" code permanently.

    The same hooks that allow for firmware updates allows malicious code to execute and trigger the lockout. A simple E-mail virus or worm could easily be designed to trigger it.

    And it will, someone at some point is going to tank all of the PS3's they can. It's too tempting of a target.

    It's going to be an exceedingly expensive problem if it occurs. While PC users will just be locked out of their BR drive for a period of time while a firmware is developed to counter it, PS3 users likely won't be so lucky. Locking up the BR drive could easily lock the PS3 down completely unless the drive is independant of the startup routines and such. Which means countless PS3's will end up needing proffessional service, and depending on when it occurs, they may even be out of warranty so consumers will have to foot expensive bills. That won't go over well at all, and would likely seriously tarnish Console Gaming's reputation for quite some time.

    No good is going to come of this.
     
  11. Chris S

    Chris S Well-Known Member

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    I'm still not seeing how this is all that bad. Its obvious their intent is to prevent the player from playing pirated or malicious discs. It's not any different from Microsoft using similar technology to prevent a hacked XBOX for using XBOX Live.

    I do see the argument of a virus causing problems with the PC based drives however that has always been the risk with PC based components. Personally I'd be more worried about a harddrive wipe than my Blu-ray drive going down.


    Seems an extreme argument to make considering we haven't seen anything similar with the Xbox which is just as susceptable. Basing this on the PC argument is a little flawed given that a PC is continually executing code via other processes running on the machine (email, spreadsheets, etc) but the PS3 is not going to be running these other applications. That is unless you hack the machine which is exactly what Sony is trying to prevent.


    Edit: And just for the record I would have no problems if the HD DVD camp implemented similar preventative measures.
     
  12. Ryan-G

    Ryan-G Well-Known Member

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    The difference between the two is that the X-box doesn't have a seperate processor on the drive itself running a full OS, nor is it checking the drive for functionality. Trust me, I'm 100% certain on this one, I had a launch box with a bad drive and it booted just fine. The X-box's aren't checking each disc for piracy, they're just playing them, there's no way to lock up the drive.

    It's also not comparable to the PC, because PC DVD Drives don't check each disc either. The very most you could possibly do to a PC DVD Drive is change the region coding, no big deal at all. I doubt highly a PC DVD Drive is even running enough of a processor to handle anything but the most basic of tasks, as it's job is basically to read the disc and pass the data, not to execute code and check validity.

    The PS3 BR Drives are running a Java OS apparently, Java is probably the easist programming language to learn. In fact, Java is the first language taught to computer science majors at the University of Pittsburgh. Anyways, point being, the PS3 is in theory quite capable of trying to run any Java application on the BR Drive's processor so long as it's using a full Virtual Machine. This would likely be done outside Cell's control, so the only thing stopping it from running is a Java VM on a processor not likely designed with internal security in mind.

    The inclusion of a processor running a Java app changes things. It creates a potentially exploitable weakness. If something can write to the firmware, it can theoretically write a malicious java app to the firmware, which the drive would execute on boot on it's internal processor, and tank the drive. Or even more simply, write to the firmware in such a way as to change the criteria by which discs are rejected, resulting in all discs being rejected.

    Both scenarios are very possible, as it's highly likely the firmware is going to contain the criteria by which discs are judged. Sony's said that the protection will be able to evolve in case one encryption is cracked, another can be implemented. If this is still true, then it means the criteria is kept in some form of memory that can be written to. If it can be written to, it can be exploited.

    This is *very* different from the drives we're used to seeing. The Java VM alone makes for a dangerous path, as does writable criteria for rejection.

    We'll know by about this time next year, if it is possible, someone's going to attack the PS3's. There are already viruses and worms for cell phones, I doubt the hackers are going to pass up an opportunity to be the first person to ever tank a console, much less tank obscenely large numbers of consoles.
     
  13. Chris S

    Chris S Well-Known Member

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    This is what I don't understand here. I totally agree that the drive will likely contain the failure criteria on the firmware and if thats the case then Sony must know that they're basically putting the keys to the kingdom right into the hands of the hacker. So in short whats the point? Someone cracks it once, Sony puts out a firmware update, two days later its cracked again, Sony puts out a new firmware... so on and so forth. Its like they want to wage the current PSP homebrew war but this time on Blu-ray. This doesn't really help my point in anyway [​IMG] but I certainly don't blame them from trying to manage their potential piracy risks.
     
  14. cafink

    cafink Well-Known Member

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    It is a bad thing because it is not the company's hardware. It's mine. Once I fork over my $1000 for the player, it belongs to me. I can do with it as I please and that's no business of Sony's.
     
  15. Gekkou

    Gekkou Well-Known Member

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    The PS3 will use firmware updates as well, just as the PSP does.
     
  16. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Well-Known Member

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    Your concern is separate from BD+, since the ability to "mess with" your player is part of the AACS scheme that is used by both formats.
     
  17. Ryan-G

    Ryan-G Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but if the player won't boot with a BR Drive locked down with bad firmware, it doesn't much matter.

    My PC will boot fine even if my (hypothetical) BR drive dies, but will the PS3? It's entirely possible the PS3 won't boot with a drive that isn't checking in properly, as they've wanted to kill the modding community for years.
     
  18. Tony Stark

    Tony Stark Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it is your machine when you buy it. You are also buying a device that wants to make sure it is functioning as it was when you purchased it. The code checking (or whatever it does) is a built-in protection system.

    If you can defeat it, then more power to you. But you should get upset about the countermeasures being put in place.

    I still don't see this as bad thing.
     
  19. Gekkou

    Gekkou Well-Known Member

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    It will update via the internet, not just by disc. EDIT: I think I may have misunderstood what you were saying, in case that makes no sense.

    All other PlayStations can boot up without the drive working properly, and since the PS3 is supposed to run Linux (possibly with a dual-boot setup), I don't think Sony would be too stringent. Heck, Sony is actually encouraging user-created content this time around.
     
  20. FrancisP

    FrancisP Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't make any difference whether we're talking about HD-DVD or blu-ray, Hollywood's goal is the same. Complete control over content. Both formats are a step in that direction. With these constant firmware updates, You may own the player but actually Hollywood owns you. Blu-ray may be a little further ahead of HD-DVD in that respect but the goal is the same.
     

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