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iTunes 4K protections may have been breached for the first time as pirated copy of Aquaman surfaces

A new report details how a pirated 4K copy of Aquaman could be the first known example of Apple’s 4K iTunes content being hacked. While there could be other explanations, multiple signs are pointing to the film coming from iTunes.

As reported by TorrentFreak (via MacRumors) the WEB-DL format was the first clue that the pirated 4K copy of Aquaman came from iTunes, Amazon, or Netflix.

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.

But two more facts make it likely that someone was able to crack iTunes’ 4K protections for the first time: Aquaman in 4K isn’t available yet on Netflix or Amazon and the pirated copy showed up just after it appeared on iTunes.

Some have suggested that the file may have been mislabeled, but TorrentFreak notes that the “release has been posted by reputable sources who are certainly not known for making stuff up.”

An anonymous source shared with TorrentFreak one possibility for how the film may have been decrypted from iTunes:

“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.

If there is indeed a breach in iTunes we could see more pirated copies of 4K films from Apple land on torrent sites. Notably, the report mentions that may have already begun.

While we were writing this article two other 4K Web-DL releases appeared online; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

These are internal releases from the group DEFLATE and could trace back to iTunes as well.  The bitrate and channel layout for the Spider-Man release certainly seems to suggest so, our source says.

However, if iTunes is in fact the source of the pirated Aquaman 4K copy, Apple may be actively working on patching any flaws that could prevent any further breaches.

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.