Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hackers Break Amazon's Kindle DRM

Via The Register UK -

Hackers from the US and Israel say they have broken copyright protections built in to Amazon's Kindle for PC, a feat that allows ebooks stored on the application to work with other devices.

The hack began as an open challenge in this (translated) forum for participants to come up with a way to make ebooks published in Amazon's proprietary format display on competing readers. Eight days later, users going by the handles Labba and i♥cabbages had a working program that did just that.


Amazon representatives have yet to indicate how they plan to respond. Queries put to a spokesman on Tuesday weren't returned.

According to a writeup of the Kindle hack here, Amazon engineers went to considerable lengths to prevent their DRM from being tampered with. The Kindle for PC uses a separate session key to encrypt and decrypt each book "and they seem to have done a reasonable job on the obfuscation," the author, i♥cabbages, says.

Labba and the US-based i♥cabbages, who declined to give his real name, discovered the attack vector independently around the same time. The resulting crack is a piece of software called unswindle, which was written by the latter hacker and is available here. It relies on reverse engineering from a hacker called darkreverser to discover the encryption algorithm used by the universal Mobipocket reader and most Kindle books.

Once unswindle is installed, proprietary Amazon ebooks can be converted into the open Mobi format. And from there, you can enjoy the content any way you like.


The B&N Nook isn't to be left out, of course...

Circumventing Barnes & Noble DRM for EPUB

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