View Full Version : Will DRM be a problem with Vista, or not?

02-01-2007, 05:29 PM
These two web pages are very lengthy, but still interesting. I'll leave it to some of the tech wizards here as to whether the DRM for HD and Blu-Ray discs carries the potential yo make Vista more unstable and more vulnerable to malware.


http://www.grc.com/sn/SN-077.htm (http://www.grc.com/sn/SN-077.htm)

02-02-2007, 10:28 AM
There is a lot of noise. But the key issues seem to come down to a few things:

1) Hollywood wants their protected high def content protected end to end, so from the bits on the disc, although way to the display and audio device.

2) Microsoft windows has to work with devices that are not inherently aware of this DRM protected content, such as your sound card and video card.

3) This means the digital data cannot be entirely protected end to end. At some point it has to pass through your video card and sound card in non protected forms.

4) A clever programmer could intercept the unprotected data on it's way to your video card or sound card by writing an emulator.

5) Microsoft hopes to defeat emulators by performing driver checks that depend on "undocumented" features of the hardware to detect if an emulator is running or the real hardware is present. Anyone that has a history programming knows that there so many ways for this to fail, or to be spoofed causing end users no end of trouble.

6) There is also an issue that even if a user cannot capture the digital data, they may be able to capture and re-digitize high quality analog data from the outputs of the video card or sound card. Preventing high quality analog output adds complexity to the drivers that don't exist yet, and if it was up to Hollywood, would depend on downgrading hardware that doesn't exist in existing video and sound cards. Again, anyone that has programmed for a long time knows that drivers are already complex enough, and this additional complexity just increases the probability of driver bugs. More so when the downgrading must be conditional based on whether or not some portion of what is displayed or heard is content that requires protection vs content that does not.

Casual Observer
02-02-2007, 06:46 PM
I find the malware/spyware introduction via DRM to be a suspect argument, frankly.

XD has it right; this is about initiatives from Hollywood/RIAA types forcing M$ and Apple to put DRM into their OSes as a matter of course.

It remains to be seen exactly how the DRM will work, despite lots of speculation and conspiracy theories about the initiative.

02-02-2007, 11:08 PM
I find the malware/spyware introduction via DRM to be a suspect argument, frankly.

I agree. So far the arguments have been piss-poor, mostly emotional rather then based on a good solid explination of how the DRM chain increases the chances of introducing spyware/malware into the system.

Casual Observer
02-04-2007, 07:50 PM
^ Well said.

It's not M$' (or Apple's) fault that DRM is part of the landscape now; you can thank the DMCA and the idiot legislators that made that happen.