Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sony Uses Rootkit For Copy Protection

Mark of Sysinternals posted one of the scariest Halloween true stories I have ever read. Sony is now installing rootkits on Windows to prevent copying of their CDs.

For those that don't know, a rootkit is software installed at a very low level that allows it to be hidden from the operating system so it can't be removed normally. This is just insane. This is the kind of stuff malware, trojans, and viruses do, not gigantic multinational corporations.

Lucky the little music I get now comes mostly from iTunes. Seems to me that this move will only push the end of CDs. We know the music industry doesn't like that idea, what are they thinking?

Update: Sony has released a "Service Pack" to remove it. They say it is "not malicious and does not compromise security," but how can they be sure it doesn't open up some security hole. Even though it can now be removed this is still wrong.

Update 2: Turns out it was a security problem, it could be used by viruses and other malicious software to hide from scans. Sony halted production of these CDs and a few days later said they would recall them.

Update 3: Sony is now being hit with a bunch of class action suits. Someone setup a blog at sonysuit.com so people can keep up to date on them. And it turns out that a small bit of tape in the right place will prevent the DRM program from being installed.

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