A hacker claims to have written code to break Windows Vista encryption within hours of the operating system’s consumer launch.

Canadian programmer, Alex Ionescu claims on his blog that he’s managed to unlock Vista’s Protected Media Path (PMP) encryption feature to enable high-def DVDs to be copied. Microsoft’s system is designed to degrade the quality of video and audio playback with hardware components not approved by Microsoft.

The DRM was bypassed by breaking the Driver Signing/PatchGuard protection. Due to concerns over violating US law, Ionescu has not released the source code. He would “really love to release this tool to the public” and is currently looking into options such as emphasising the research aspect.

He said that in the first 24 hours after blogging about his achievement, his site received over 60,000 visitors, but claims that he never intended to publicise the crack on the day of Vista’s release.

“I never expected that it would get the kind of attention it has; to be fair, I had completely forgotten that today was Vista’s launch date (being a beta tester, I’ve had RTM for months now),” he claims.