Skip to main content

Hackers Break DRM Protection On Amazon Kindle

Hackers from US and Israel claimed to have broken the copyright shell surrounding Amazon’s popular Kindle e-reader, an exploit that enables e-books stored on it to be transferred as PDF files on to other devices.

The hack kicked off as an open challenge thrown up by an online forum for geeks to discover ways to transfer e-books published in the Amazon’s proprietary format on other competing devices.

The challenge was accepted by hackers, named "Gabba" and "i-love-cabbages", and they delivered a working program for it in eight days.

The Israeli hacker claimed to have designed a tool to transfer Kindle-e-books as PDF files on other devices.

The US hacker i-love-cabbages has created a program, codenamed as "Unswindle", which paves the way for the conversion of the books stored in the Kindle for PC app into some other format.

Once the application "unswindle" is installed, users can convert the Amazon’s proprietary AZW files into Mobi format, allowing users to enjoy reading their favourite books in a way they prefer.

The hack further raised questions about the kind of security being offered by Digital Rights Management (DRM) schemes, which at times prevent the customers from freely enjoying content that they have purchased legally.

This come in the series of several DRM hacks, the most popular being the iTunes copyright reverse engineering performed by Jon Lech Johansen AKA DVD Jon in 2006.

Our Comments

Apple abandoned DRM protection earlier this year, a move that the rest of the music industry has gradually come to terms with. But there is still content that comes with DRM, even from Apple. Audiobooks for example won't be DRM free and it is likely that the content on Apple's TabletPC will be DRM protected.

Related Links

Hackers break Amazon's Kindle DRM (opens in new tab)

(Register)

Amazon's Kindle has copyright protection hacked (opens in new tab)

(BBC)

Hackers claim to crack Kindle copyright armor (opens in new tab)

(CNet)

A Problem For E-Readers: Hackers (opens in new tab)

(Atlantic Online)

Hacker Breaks Kindle's Proprietary E-Book Protection (opens in new tab)

(CIO Today)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.