Friday, November 04, 2005

Snoop Crazy!

(Hat Tip to Sojourner for this one)

After Criticism, Sony Issues Fix for Hidden Rootkits

Sony (NYSE: SNE - news) has admitted that it included a stealth rootkit on some music CDs shipped in 2005 and has issued an update to remove the hidden software one day after it was discovered. The company had drawn criticism from security experts who warned that the technology could serve as a tool for hackers.

The nearly undetectable monitoring utility, part of the company's digital-rights management (DRM) technology, was aimed at preventing consumers from producing illegal copies of CDs. The software installed itself automatically in Windows systems whenever a CD was inserted. Any files contained in the rootkit are invisible and almost impossible to remove.

Security expert Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals discovered the hidden rootkit and posted his findings on the company blog on November 1st. Russinovich wrote that although he checked in his system's Add or Remove Programs list, as well as on the vendor's site and on the CD itself, he could not find uninstall instructions. Nor, he says, could he find any mention of it in the End User License Agreement (EULA).

(Rest of the story, plus Sony's "fix," here)

Quoted from Sojourner's blog:

"At the end of this article, is a web address that you can go to get an update, which will remove the rootkit from your computer. One problem I see with it is that it's on the Sony website and Sony will probably be monitoring who is using it.

"Another problem I see is that if you ever put those CDs (or the copies for that matter) back into your computer, you will re-introduce this program to your computer. Who's to say that Sony will stop monitoring this program even if we, the public, know about it? They probably won't."

Excellent points, those... And although I don't play CDs on my computer (I like better sound than you can get from these tiny speakers), I thought this article well worth passing along.

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