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Content piracy is one of the major things that are setting back the digital entertainment industry. However, the major players in the industry have devised means to combat this behavior using a tool known as digital rights management or simply as DRM.
What DRM technology does is help owners of copyrights restrict any unlawful access to content that has been stored on digital mediums. One of the companies that are currently taking advantage of the DRM technology is Google. Through its extremely popular Chrome browser, Google allows users to stream content from different streaming companies to their desktops or even mobile devices. Netflix is one such streaming company and apparently, security researchers have discovered a flaw in the DRM technology with respect to Chrome – a flaw that allows hackers to easily bypass the DRM security protocols and access Netflix content for free.
Google uses Widevine DRM technology to restrict any unauthorized access to copyrighted content that is streamed through the Chrome web browser. What this Widevine DRM does is to communicate with the available content protection systems from different video streaming companies such as Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Twitch and so on. This communication allows the DRM to take care of license or key exchanges that are meant for decrypting of the said content in Google Chrome.
However, it seems there is a way to bypass this process and thus allow for content to be recorded in the process of streaming it to desktops via the web browser. The vulnerability was discovered by Israeli-based experts from the Ben-Gurion University Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC). They even went ahead and created a proof-of-concept video to show the security flaw.
Apparently, there is no detailed information regarding the Google Chrome bug, but the researchers are adamant that the entire process is quite easy. Until now, Google hasn’t responded with a patch to the vulnerability, but Wired reports that the search engine giant claims that the bug could affect all Chromium-based web browsers and not just Google Chrome. Browsers such as Opera and Firefox also depend on Google’s Widevine, but there are no reports of whether these two are also affected.
As of now, nothing has come out yet from the affected streaming companies such as Netflix and Hulu, but we expect statements from all affected parties to start showing up sooner than later.