Sony installing rootkits?

Web watchers were abuzz this morning on word that Sony has been installing rootkit software on its CDs, as part of its copy-protection technology.

A rootkit is a tool used to hide other software from diagnostic and security applications. They're commonly used by writers of malicious software to hide evidence of viruses and spyware.

cdcopy

At least two sites reported this week that they had found evidence that Sony had installed rootkits with its digital rights management technology on some of its music CDs.

While many bloggers expressed annoyance at what they saw as overkill in terms of copy protection, several pointed to a potentially bigger problem: The rootkit software installed by Sony could be used by other, more malicious, technology to hide its presence.

Blog community response:

"While I believe in the media industry's right to use copy protection mechanisms to prevent illegal copying, I don't think that we've found the right balance of fair use and copy protection, yet. This is a clear case of Sony taking DRM too far."
--SysInternals

"Music labels, in a desperate attempt to save the dying CD format, are doing ugly things in the name of protecting their content. Of course, consumers can respond with their own ugliness -- don't buy CDs with this type of DRM. There are other ways to acquire these CDs, including downloading them from a source such as Napster or iTunes."
--TechBlog

" Basically, Sony puts the sort of malware on its customers' PCs that the rest of the world spends alot of money fighting."
--Boing Boing

 

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