A bug in Chrome makes video stream piracy way too easy

Acer Chromebook 14 CB3-431-C5FM
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Although there is some acceptance around the world that once you put something online, someone is probably going to try to pirate it, most media companies and website owners like to add a degree of difficulty — so at least not everyone can do it. Chrome, it seems, is a notable exception, as a bug in the Google-designed browser is making it a piece of cake to rip just about any stream online.

This isn’t something Google meant to happen, of course. It uses a digital rights management (DRM) system called Widevine to protect online streams, but this latest bug just skips right by it. We’d love to tell you how it all works — for the intellectually curious only, of course — but the people who figured it out aren’t telling anyone, for obvious reasons.

They do say, though, that the bug has likely been present since Google implemented Widevine protection within Chrome several years ago. The concern is that the bug could be used to easily rip streams from the likes of Netflix or Amazon video, which could seriously threaten those businesses if the practice became widespread.

Of course they have reached out to Google which is now aware of the issue. While the presumption is that the search giant is fixing up the flaw, the researchers have said they will disclose the bug 90 days after reporting it to Google (according to Wired), so if no action is taken, an incentive exists nonetheless.

It seems unlikely that Google would ignore such a report — especially now it’s been so widely reported — but it may need to do more than just shore up this hole. The issue exists due to the way Chrome’s DRM system works, so it may need to revamp it entirely so decrypted video streams are stored within a secure space, rather than openly as they are now.

Perhaps more worryingly, though: Google isn’t necessarily the only one that may have to update its browser. When pressed for a statement on the matter, Google said that this issue could exist in every browser using Chromium foundations.

What will be interesting to learn is whether Firefox and Opera also have a similar bug present. While not based on the Chromium system, they do both utilize the Google-owned Widevine DRM. Other browsers, like Safari and Internet Explorer, do not.


Marriott asking guests for data to see if they were victims of the Starwood hack

Marriott has created an online form to help you find out if your data was stolen in the massive Starwood hack that came to light toward the end of 2018. But take note, it requires you to submit a bunch of personal details.

Don't use streaming apps? Try the best free media players for your local music

Rather than using music-streaming apps, you may want something for playing your local music. Good news! There are some good alternatives. These are the best media players you can download for free on Windows.

Here's our take on the best game-streaming services currently out there

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game streaming services.

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.

New Chrome feature aimed at preventing websites from blocking Incognito Mode

A new Chrome feature will prevent websites from blocking Chrome users as they browse using Incognito Mode. The feature is supposed to fix a known loophole that allows websites to detect and block those using Incognito Mode.

Microsoft extension adds Google Chrome support for Windows Timeline

The Windows Timeline feature is now much more versatile thanks to the added support for Google's Chrome browser. All you need to do to increase its functionality is to download the official Chrome extension.

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Movies & TV

Here’s how to watch the 2019 Oscars livestream online

The 91st Academy Awards will air live on ABC, but there are also a number of ways to watch Hollywood's biggest night online using your mobile device, desktop, or set-top streamer. Here's how to catch the Oscars livestream.

YouTube changes its strikes system, offers softer first-offense penalty

YouTube announced changes to its strikes system for its content creators. The changes include a softer first-offense penalty for creators who violate YouTube's guidelines and more consistent penalties for further violations.

An experimental feature could help reduce memory usage in Google Chrome

Google Chrome might be the most popular web browser, but it also is a resource hog. Google is currently working on an experimental feature for Chrome which sets out to reduce its overall memory usage. 

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or OS.