Hackers break into Apple iTunes

Apple's plan to revamp its iTunes music store by offering an 'all you can download' monthly service has been shelved after the US giant was hacked on Friday.

The attack was alleged to have come from prominent hacker, Jon Johansen – dubbed 'DVD John' - after he was credited with breaking the software protection on DVDs.

According to reports, Johansen has created a quasi –legal programme that effectively strips DRM software from the existing software protecting iTunes.

As a result, those with the Windows-based programme can pass on songs from the iTunes music store to millions of other file-sharers, without cost or copy protection.

One of Johansen's colleagues, 17-year-old Cody Brocious, said the software started out as an accident and was not created to harm the technology company.

On the contrary, the rumoured creator of the software, Brocious, believes the program is "ethical" and can only benefit the internet community.

By removing digital rights management on the iTunes downloads, the hackers said through blogs that their actions are within the law and break no Apple agreements.

Yet given the company's appetite for legal cases and its desire to protect its own products, observers say it is just a matter of time until legal action will arise.

Any ruling in favour of Apple would clear the path for the beefed up iTunes service, which is reportedly due to charge on a monthly basis so users can expand their music collection.

The service is likely to cater for thousands of downloads at a time and would effectively wipe out the practice of single-track rentals.

It is also understood that any users refusing to pay their monthly bill would face the risk of having all their downloaded music wiped.

Despite this, hacking and copying software such as the programme created by Brocious would enable users to retain their music libraries.

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