Blu-ray’s secret key: now showing at websites everywhere

This morning’s Observer column

What’s in a number? Quite a lot, it turns out, if it’s a 16-digit hexadecimal (base 16) number that begins ’09 F9′. (That’s ‘9’ followed by ‘249’ in normal – base 10 – numbering.)

Why the fuss? Well, it appears that the 16-digit number in question is the cryptographic key for unlocking the copy protection on the new generation of DVD discs. It was discovered a while back and posted in obscure parts of the web, where it languished…