Only Secure Hardware Can Safeguard Standards


Who would have imagined that a 13-year-old kid could compromise an industry standard overnight?

But that’s what happened in 1999 when Norwegian teen Jon Johansen and two hacker “colleagues” unlocked the secret of the Content Scramble System (CSS) designed to protect DVDs from piracy. DeCSS, the program they created, quickly found its way onto the Internet and into DVD-copying tools sold through legitimate retailers. Despite litigation by Hollywood studios and a legal ruling enjoining one manufacturer from further sales, the genie was out of the bottle.

With global competition growing in ferocity, standards of conduct getting looser and the manufacturing supply chain operating in countries with weak intellectual-property protection, what’s the best way to safeguard the security keys integral to standards-based security schemes for everything from HDTV to iPods?

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