The Null Device

Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away

Apple's newest iPods have come with an unwelcome surprise: a cryptographic checksum in the database file, preventing users from using third-party software to load music onto them, effectively locking out anyone wanting to use, say, Linux for filling their iPod. Now it appears that, in the space of a few days, the checksum has been cracked, allowing anyone to get the encoding key from just their iPod serial number. It appears that someone at Apple hadn't heard of public-key cryptography.

I wonder what will happen now; will Apple play cat-and-mouse with the hackers, Sony PSP-style, by releasing a steady stream of iPod/iTunes revisions with tighter encryption schemes? Will they prosecute those hosting the hack under the DMCA and similar laws elsewhere? In any case, if you're not willing and able to run iTunes, you may want to avoid buying an iPod.

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