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Netflix 4K video stream has been hacked and cracked apparently, Breaking Bad episode posted online

by on August 28, 2015

Stephan Jukic – August 28, 2015

While Netflix and all other streaming video providers practice very strict measures to keep their ultra HD and other streams as secure from piracy as possible, where there’s any kind of way, there will always be a will for cracking it open. This applies more than anywhere in the constant race between digital pirates and the content creators and distributors who constantly struggle to protect their products from them.

The latest frontier in this ongoing scenarios is Netflix. It seems that pirates have managed to break the copy protection on Netflix’s UHD 4K video streaming protection and have thus managed to leak out a full 4K copy of the first episode of “Breaking Bad” onto the open web, specifically onto a private torrent tracker site.

One site to report on this, has not been able to yet verify the existence of the file, which is supposedly at least 18GB in size. Furthermore, investigation of several torrent tracking sites by has also failed to find out where the episode is available for torrent download. Likewise, the piracy and bittorrent tracking site TorrentFreak also has no claims of first-hand testing of the 4K episode.

Either way, if the 4K “Breaking Bad” episode leak is real, it is the first ever incidence of Netflix anti-piracy security being cracked open so something can be copied from their streams.

Netflix has been very serious about digital anti-piracy security since day one and this security preoccupation has only increased with the arrival of 4K ultra HD content, which the company started offering in April of 2014 with the political TV series “House of Cards”. Since then, numerous other shows have been added to the 4K streaming roster and “Breaking Bad” was one of the early arrivals to the pile, having been added in June of 2014.

As far as their security measures go, they are quite rigorous indeed. Viewers of Netflix can only watch 4K content in streams that go to ultra HD TVs with HDCP 2.2 content copy protection (High Bandwidth Digital Content protection 2.2) and this new encryption standard is itself not only much more robust than the previous version of HDCP for HD content, it has also been specifically designed for the protection of 4K video from assorted sources. HDCP 2.2 is supposed to prevent pirates from capturing video by any means and is designed to offer seamless encryption from source to delivery (TV) with necessary HDCP 2.2 functionality in all devices which a 4K stream passes through between Netflix’s own servers and a customer’s TV. This includes third party media players, A/V receivers and other devices.

HDCP 2.2 content copy protection on the HDMI ports of a 4K TV

HDCP 2.2 content copy protection on the HDMI ports of a 4K TV

Similar security measures exist for other streaming 4K content services like Amazon Prime Instant Video.

According to TorrentFreak, the file for the “Breaking Bad” episode was captured from Netflix over HDMI. Netflix itself is refusing to comment on details but has claimed that they’re investigating.

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  • Netflix-Fan
    September 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Whereas I really am against the distribution of illegally acquired material and kinda feel sorry for Netflix, i also think that Netflix is going a bit too far with its copy protection in 4k content.
    I know that this is probably due to the right-holders, and Amazon and such have it, too, but still.. .

    I mean having a PC with a 4k monitor (and not having a TV of any sort), I cannot play Netflix in 4k cause of this damn copyright issue.

    So there might come actually some good from this copy protection being cracked. The industry might now think that if the copy-protection isnt working then we can as well stream our content on PC and make at least a bit more money by doing so and not loosing our content solely to filesharers. Or so I would hope.

    But yes, as my initial sentence probably indicates, I do detest people that distribute illegally acquired material. Without them there wouldnt be the need for such rigorous protection.


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