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DVD Jon, The Anti-DRM Hacker

The Fifteen Greatest Hacking Exploits

DVD Jon, also known as Jon Johansen, is part of a particular genre of hackers known as crackers. Their purpose is not to enter a system or network, but to study how computers work and get into their internals. Starting in 2001, he quickly made a name for himself on the Internet, particularly by discovering ways to circumvent data protection systems - used on CDs, DVDs and other digital files - commonly known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems.

One of the projects that significantly contributed to making DVD Jon famous was his QTFairUse program in 2003. This deceptive name hid a piece of software that was capable of stripping DRM data, the system that restricts the use of media files - mainly music files purchased from Apple's iTunes. In attacking Apple, Jon was challenging a brand that relied on DRM to insure the success of its powerful iPod and iTunes brands.

Seven Years of Hacktivism Against DRM

The QTFairUse program was able to access the raw data in a file purchased from iTunes and to extract it, bypassing the protection method. The first tests were not conclusive, because the output files were not always readable by any kind of player. Nevertheless, DVD Jon's project improved until it became a nightmare for Apple's business.

His other known projects revolve around DVDs, which also use DRM protection, especially to prevent copying. Recently, DVD Jon was noted for contributing several solutions to bypass the different protections included with the iPhone. In fact, this young man was the first to be able to use Apple's phone without having to subscribe to the mandatory carrier.

Despite two investigations in 2003, Jon Johansen has never been sentenced.

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