Apple’s iTunes 4K Streaming Service Has Possibly Been Breached

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated September 24, 2021

The release of a 4K-quality “Aquaman” movie in pirating websites has sparked rumors that Apple’s iTunes service has been “unlocked”, as someone managed to decrypt the 2160p stream. If that is indeed the case, more 4K copies of movies are bound to hit torrenting sites soon and begin an era of super-high-quality piracy. While releasing various movies that were streamed through iTunes, Amazon, or Netflix as torrents aren’t something new, having a 4K version is a first in the field. This occurrence has spread enthusiasm among the global pirating community, who are already asking for more.



Already, their wishes seem to have reached the ears of “piracy gods” as another two 4K releases appeared on peer to peer networks, namely “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”. The group that offers these releases is “DEFLATE”, and their bitrate and channel layout characteristics both point towards iTunes. No one knows how pirates managed to circumvent the high bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) layer that is applied on iTunes, which is meant to encrypt the content so as it cannot be played on unauthorized devices.

Previous HDCP versions (2.1 and 2.2) had been breached in 2012 and 2015 respectively, while Engadget had reported that a “master key” that would render any future key revocation attempt practically worthless has fallen into the wrong hands back in 2010. However, HDCP revision 2.3 which was released in February 2018 remained strong until now, and it’s highly unlikely that hackers holding a master key would wait for nine years to use it. An anonymous source has stated the following on TorrentFreak: “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. I’m pretty sure Apple will react fast and block it via updates because they don’t have to keep compatibility with any devices like the iTunes desktop version.”

Despite the indications, some say that the source could also be the “Vudu” content purchase service, which also listed the leaked movies in 4K quality, although they went on sale after the pirate versions became available. The cloud of obscurity will definitely be cleared soon, as more movie titles will surface and more technical traces will come along with them. For now, and until Apple responds with a statement and a patch (if they were breached indeed), pirates will enjoy premium quality without spending a dime.

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