Developer reverse engineers Apple’s private AirPlay key | iLounge News


Developer reverse engineers Apple’s private AirPlay key

Developer James Laird has reverse engineered Apple’s private AirPlay key, opening the door to third-party AirPlay-enabled AirPort Express emulators. In a blog post announcing the release of ShairPort, an open-source AirPort Express emulator, Laird explains that Apple used a public-key crypto scheme in the AirPort Express, hiding a private key inside. Laird ended up opening the AirPort Express, dumping the ROM, and reverse engineering the keys out of it to achieve his goal. As noted by Mac Rumors, third-party apps allowing users to stream audio to an AirPort Express or other AirPlay devices have previously been available, but none were able to accept incoming audio streams. In addition, it seems unlikely that hardware manufacturers would want to use the key, as it is possible to become an officially licensed AirPlay partner instead.

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It’s only a matter of time before Apple slams the door on this. Look for a minor update to iTunes and the AirPort firmware very soon.

Posted by Farnsworth on April 12, 2011 at 11:35 AM (CDT)


@1: Nope, this door is open, and unless Apple wants a PR nightmare will stay open.

Pretty sure you can’t flash the firmware on most (any?) of the AirPlay speakers that are out there, and if that’s the case, this is more like when people figured out the encryption keys for DVDs and BlueRay. The nature of the multiple vendors and ways it was implemented means you can’t just change the key because you want to.

The question is will anyone have the cojones to actually create an unauthorized AirPlay receiver/speaker given that I’m sure Apple would have them in court before it even hits the shelves if they’re in most countries Apple deals with.

Posted by Code Monkey on April 13, 2011 at 7:10 AM (CDT)


I think your conflating AirPlay and AirTunes here — the article you linked to regarded reverse engineering the AirTunes private key, enabling anybody to simulate AirTunes recipient hardware (like the Airport Express). While AirPlay is being marketed as an evolution of AirTunes, adding video streaming to what was formerly only an audio streaming service, the technology behind the two is apparently quite distinct and not really related. So I really doubt this new development has any bearing on the future of AirPlay implementations.

Posted by Joe on April 13, 2011 at 10:33 AM (CDT)

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