Google Chrome bug makes saving Netflix movies a cinch

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Digital copyright infringement (or for those not wearing a suit — piracy) has become a more difficult undertaking in recent years, but a rather advantageous-for-pirates bug has been found in the world’s most popular browser, Google Chrome.

Thanks to the way the browser handles DRM and encrypted content — the type of content delivered to users from Netflix and Amazon Prime — movies and series can effectively be decrypted and stored on the host device’s hard drive just like a normal video. The issue lies with technology called Widevine.

“It uses encrypted media extensions to allow the content decryption module in your browser to communicate with the content protection systems of Netflix and other streaming services to deliver their encrypted movies to you,” a Wired report reads.

Related: SA rounds out top ten for Game of Thrones piracy

But instead of merely playing the decrypted stream, Google Chrome’s in-browser player stores a copy on the host machine, allowing anyone with the savvy to grab it.

Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and Germany’s Telekom Innovation Laboratories first discovered the issue in May 2016 and subsequently reported it to Google, but Google Chrome has yet to see any patches addressing the problem.

The researchers also suggest that the bug isn’t unique to Google Chrome, but affects any “browser created from Chromium.” This would include the likes of Opera and Vivaldi.

While the researchers didn’t disclose the finer details of what they call a “very simple” bug, they did happen to create a video demonstrating it in action.

For the full report, head on over to Wired.

Andy Walker, former editor


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