Has The iTunes 4K Content Platform Been Cracked To Pirates? Apparently
Stephan Jukic – March 12, 2019
Online piracy is a never ending game of one-upmanship in which both the pirates themselves and their corporate victims have to keep improving their tools. Piracy keeps winning so far though and hackers have successfully penetrated just about every known form of DRM protection for nearly any content you can care to name to-date Every time this happens, the media giants do something to counteract future thefts but media pirates keep looking for clever new work-arounds, and usually find them eventually. This war certainly hasn’t left 4K content out of the fight.
The latest news from the battlefield seems to put none other than Apple and its 4K iTunes platform in the crosshairs. In what is considered to be the first known case of this kind of theft happening, a 4K copy of Aquaman has appeared on torrent feeds worldwide and most of the evidence indicates that it was stolen from the iTunes 4K platform, though it’s possible that the original copy of the movie was pilfered from Amazon or Netflix too.
As reported recently by the torrent news tracking site TorrentFreak based on a Reddit post that first unveiled the cracked Aquaman title in 4K UHD, the 4K copy of Aquaman that recently appeared on torrent sites comes with the WEB-DL format, meaning that it could have come from either iTunes, Amazon Prime or Netflix. However, two additional clues make iTunes the most likely source: First, the movie itself isn’t yet available on either Amazon or Netflix, and secondly, the torrent copy popped up as a pirated edition right after iTunes did release Aquaman to the public in 4K UHD.
According to the TorrentFreak report:
“The title, “Aquaman.2018.2160p.WEB-DL.DDP5.1.HDR.HEVC-MOMA,” suggests that this is a 4K release that was decrypted directly from iTunes. This is something that has never happened before with a 4K WEB-DL.”
TorrentFreak has also noted that the sources for this 4K release are “reputable” (by online piracy standards we assume) and not known for mislabelling their releases. This was stated in response to the possibility that the torrent description falsely states WEB-DL to make it seem like an iTunes ripoff.
Other sources have also pointed out how the movie might have been decrypted and snatched from Apple’s platform:
“Apple has 4k only on Apple TV running tvOS. I assume they skipped checks, if the device is jailbroken, and someone just dumped the encrypted stream and decrypted it via what’s in memory as keys,” says our source, who prefers to remain anonymous.”
Now the obvious follow-up to this really being a theft from iTunes is that other movies also start popping up on torrent sites and this has indeed happened. Almost immediately after after Aquaman appeared, two other 4K movies labeled as being in the WEB-DL format popped up online. These are “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”. The bitrate and channel layout for the Spider-Man movie in particular suggests that it came from the iTunes 4K platform.
We’re assuming that Apple is already at work checking for gaps in its digital content security and patching whatever they find as quickly as possible whether the movies were leaked from iTunes or not. Thus, though the iTunes 4K library of movies could be a huge, rich source of UHD movies for pirated content fans, we might not see any further movie torrent leaks like these until the next round of this endless crack-and-patch war.