I'm a Human Inbox

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sony's Rootkit

[Media: Articles]

Sony has released a pretty interesting Digital Rights Management (DRM) on its customers. Van Zant's CD Get Right with the Man (I Love the name of the CD, it's so appropriate. And check out the user reviews, people are angry) will install a Rootkit on your computer if you try to play the CD.

Last week when I was testing the latest version of RootkitRevealer (RKR) I ran a scan on one of my systems and was shocked to see evidence of a rootkit. Rootkits are cloaking technologies that hide files, Registry keys, and other system objects from diagnostic and security software, and they are usually employed by malware attempting to keep their implementation hidden (see my “Unearthing Rootkits” article from thre June issue of Windows IT Pro Magazine for more information on rootkits). The RKR results window reported a hidden directory, several hidden device drivers, and a hidden application.

After getting heat for installing a Rootkit onto people's computers Sony released a patch which apparently removes the Rootkit.

This Service Pack removes the cloaking technology component that has been recently discussed in a number of articles published regarding the XCP Technology used on SONY BMG content protected CDs. This component is not malicious and does not compromise security. However to alleviate any concerns that users may have about the program posing potential security vulnerabilities, this update has been released to enable users to remove this component from their computers.

I love how they deny that what they did was wrong, deny that it poses a security risk, and fore go an apology to their customers. Freedom to Tinker has this to say about the patch:

The update is more than 3.5 megabytes in size, and it appears to contain new versions of almost all the files included in the initial installation of the entire DRM system, as well as creating some new files. In short, they’re not just taking away the rootkit-like function — they’re almost certainly adding things to the system as well. And once again, they’re not disclosing what they’re doing.

Doesn't seem like they actually "fixed" the Rootkit does it? Infact, it sounds like they improved it so that people will have a harder time finding it. This is my problem with DRM, and with companies which impose DRM on their content. DRM is extremely anti-consumer and it does nothing to actually prevent piracy. The people who steal the content illegally are actually getting a better deal here, a freedom with the content while the people who actually pay money are getting screwed and restricted. They're getting malware and spyware installed onto their personal property, without their knowledge or consent. I've been realizing that Sony is quite bad for this sort of thing, they're extremely untrusting of PC users, as is evidenced by how they handle the PSP.