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Hacker Claims Progress In Decrypting High-Definition Movies

The hacker, who calls himself Arnezami, published his work Sunday on the Internet.

The organization in charge of licensing encryption technology for movies offered on the two major high-definition formats said Wednesday it's investigating a hacker's claim of making significant progress in breaking the copy-protection system.

The hacker, who calls himself Arnezami, published his work Sunday on the Internet. The licensing administrator of the Advanced Access Content System declined to discuss the investigation. The group, however, is expected to provide more information soon, possibly in a couple of days.

"The AACS is aware of the claims, is investigating, and will take any appropriate action that is required pending the results of the investigation," a spokeswoman said.

The hacker claims to have taken a step closer toward breaking the AACS by developing a "processing key" that makes it easier to figure out another encryption key called a "volume key." In January, the AACS Licensing Administrator confirmed that another hacker who went by the name Muslix64 developed software that could use volume keys to decrypt movies. A Web site has since been launched that lists volume keys of 130 movies, including all three "Mission: Impossible" films, "King Kong," and "Superman Returns."

To date, the available volume keys only apply to high-definition movies in the HD DVD format, and not Blu-ray. The latest hacker claimed his processing key worked on HD DVD movies, and possibly on Blu-ray films.

The AACS Licensing Administrator was established to handle development and licensing of the copy-protection system. Its founding members include IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, The Walt Disney Co., and Warner Bros.

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