Friday, November 11, 2005

Sony halts production of 'rootkit' CDs

Sony BMG Music Entertainment said Friday that it will suspend production of CDs with copy-protection technology that has been exploited by virus writers to try to hide their malicious code on PCs."

I'm not sure how many of you have been following this, but, in the event that you are unawares, here it is -- shall we say -- in a very small nutshell.

It was recently discovered that Sony/BMG has been releasing compact discs featuring a cryptic type of digital rights management (DRM) that employs rootkit technology. For a good explanation on rootkits, Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson in their Security Now! podcast, covered them quite thoroughly. Wikipedia defines them thusly:

A rootkit is a set of software tools frequently used by a third-party (usually an intruder) after gaining access to a computer system. These tools are intended to conceal running processes, files or system data, which helps an intruder maintain access to a system for purposes unbeknownst to the user."

So Sony/BMG has been installing hidden software on users computers to watch them. That in and of itself screams lawsuit, but the fact that writers of malware like trojans and viruses have began to exploiting it is cause for outright consumer mutiny.

By the way, did I mention this little nugget of wisdom? From the mouth of Sony/BMG's President:

Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?"

That's like asking "Why should you care if I put a camera in your bathroom and record you doing whatever you do in there, as long as you don't know about it?" Personally, I think we should all boycott Sony/BMG and begin looking over our shoulders when we wipe.

So it appears Sony/BMG has ceased production in fear of more impending suits. I do not doubt that, in the meantime, they have their thinktank hard at work on an even more clandestine DRM technique. Like a proctologist in the night, it seems Sony/BMG is on a mission to surreptitiously invade our privacy to the very core. I am positive that their journey will not end here.

read more | digg story


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