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367 comments

It's like sun on your wedding day? (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322128)

"It's pretty ingenious," said Patrick Hinojasa, chief technical officer at Panda Software. "To take an anti-piracy feature and use it to feed spyware is extremely ironic."

Not quite ingenious but certainly not ironic. Perhaps if they were loading copyrighted materials such as movies and music onto your machine while you were attempting to download the license for DRM *then* it would be ironic.

The sad thing is that 99% of Windows users are likely telling WMP to install these licenses automatically when they try to play a media file. It's the "popup addiction" at work. People can't stand popups and anything to get them out of the way for good is they way they want to go.

This is going to become yet another excuse for trusted computing and single codec repositories. "Look! You are being infected by those bad sites on the Internet! Want protection? Use trusted computing and you'll never have a problem again! Just sign here, here and here. Pay here and connect here. Ahh, isn't that better?"

Re:It's like sun on your wedding day? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322215)

Awww, did the Garcia haters get some mod points? You are a bunch of worthless fucktards.

Can't handle the fact that garcia owns the shit out of your gay little attempts at lame and worthless firstposts?

Re:It's like sun on your wedding day? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322289)

d0wn with GARCIA the f00l!!!!!

Re:It's like sun on your wedding day? (2, Insightful)

Squatchman (844798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322301)

I can't remember WMP ever asking me for a license before. Maybe I'm just not using the right features, but it plays just about any media file I throw at it without any bitching(codecs being installed). Something like this could REALLY wreck hell if it was written to work with iTunes. A good number of those people buy their music from the service.

Re:It's like sun on your wedding day? (4, Interesting)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322437)

All WMP versions that I've encountered through the current one have given a choice on whether to enable DRM at install. I've never tried installing with DRM enabled, so I don't know if it would request DRM on all files, or just makes sure to verify DRM on protected files, but with DRM turned off, I've not had a problem with playback of other files or portability of WMP-created media (e.g. CDs I've ripped to WMA. Yeah, I know, I should have used MP3 or Ogg, but CDex wasn't working for me at the time, and I was lazy; I've since rectified the transgressions).

I wonder how long until you're no longer given the choice to opt out of DRM at install, though.

Re:It's like sun on your wedding day? (3, Funny)

Sardak (773761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322377)

..to install spyware, adware, dialers and computer viruses on unsuspecting PC users. I think I'd be unsuspecting too if some program tried to install a virus on me.

True, but sad. (4, Insightful)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322398)

I agree with your trusted computing satement, if Microsoft does acknowlege this incident there will only be more problems. Microsoft has been doing this kind of thing for years, so I dont expect their announcements to suddenly be more honest. I'd be even more surprised if the mass media found the real story instead of propogating microsoft garbage speak. Microsoft has been loosing credibility for several years now, in the future I look for "non-trusted computing" to be EASIER, and more trusted. When consumers see a open market that meets these requirements (and it's already impressive), they'll seriously consider a new platform.

Re:It's like sun on your wedding day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322515)

You might check this [slashdot.org] out.

Trusted Computing Will Make It Worse (5, Insightful)

ftzdomino (555670) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322548)

Trusted computing will make current spyware and worm problems a lot worse.

As soon as a bug is found in a trusted computing architecture, which WILL happen, things will get a whole lot worse for the average user. Spyware will be created which your hardware refuses to allow you to remove, even with a boot disk or safe mode. Your computer will refuse allow you to install anti-virus and spyware cleaning tools. The spyware will install a certificate with high trust levels for spyware vendors.

Even if no bug is found, companies like AOL have proven they're willing to sell out their customers by bundling adware with AIM without disclosure. This will likely create an initial hole which can be opened up much wider.

Issues like this are killing Windows. I learned my lesson a few years ago that almost no shareware or freeware can be trusted. This makes Windows a lot less useful and is one of the many reasons why I usually run linux on my desktop.

IMHO, trusted computing will only hurt Windows' usability by the average user.

Unsuspecting??? (-1, Offtopic)

spywarearcata.com (841806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322132)

By now it should hardly be "unsuspecting."

For those who still don't suspect, you might try Firefox [mozilla.org] .

And for those of you who think that the new Microsoft Anitspyware product will make everything happy again, they are already buckling under to demands to remove spyware signatures [eweek.com] .

Re:Unsuspecting??? (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322172)

For those who still don't suspect, you might try Firefox.

What does Firefox have to do with ending Spyware via WMP? Absolutely nothing. Last time I checked Firefox opened WMP on Windows machines when you attempted to play a media file.

Hmm.

Now maybe if you had suggested some little known media player that didn't automatically install codecs after you clicked "don't ask me again, just install" then maybe your post would have been worth something.

At least RTFA.

Re:Unsuspecting??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322259)

spywarearcata.com just got pwned!

Re:Unsuspecting??? (2, Interesting)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322342)

Now maybe if you had suggested some little known media player that didn't automatically install codecs after you clicked "don't ask me again, just install" then maybe your post would have been worth something.

I'll go for one, mplayer. There's been beta builds on mplayers site for a while now, but I don't usually hear about anyone using it. While a lot of the port isn't as nice as in linux, and it seems to choke on most real player content even with the codec pack, it's still fairly nice. I keep it on a usb drive and it really comes in handy every now and again.

Re:Unsuspecting??? (2, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322399)

Last time I checked Firefox opened WMP on Windows machines

Well, to be precise it opens which ever media player is associated with the media file you are trying to open. You can also override this on a per-filetype basis by specifiying a different handler for the file under the "Downloads" section of the Options box - the section titled "File Types". Whether your motivation for switching to Firefox was security, features, web standards or because it's FOSS, then the same motivation should apply to WMP too. Certainly on my Windows boxes none of the primary media types are associated with the DRM and security hole infested WMP.

Re:Unsuspecting??? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322432)

Well, to be precise it opens which ever media player is associated with the media file you are trying to open. You can also override this on a per-filetype basis by specifiying a different handler for the file under the "Downloads" section of the Options box - the section titled "File Types". Whether your motivation for switching to Firefox was security, features, web standards or because it's FOSS, then the same motivation should apply to WMP too. Certainly on my Windows boxes none of the primary media types are associated with the DRM and security hole infested WMP.

By default, unless you remove it or change the media player in the browser setup, every recent Windows machine has WMP and thus regardless of browser, is vunerable.

Re:Unsuspecting??? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322551)

Firefox users sound like brainwashed religious zealots.

"Use Firefox". "Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox"."Use Firefox".

Re:Unsuspecting??? (2, Informative)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322564)

Why use WMP at all ? why not use Media Player Classic [sourceforge.net]

Seriously I haven't felt the need to install any AV player after MP Classic and mega codec pack from kazza-lite. Also use real player alternative and quicktime alternative much less resouce use and no phoning back to home.

Re:Unsuspecting??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322224)

You mean Weatherbug isn't spyware?!? I guess I've been wrong for the past 3 years. I always pegged it as 'not much better than gator'.

...so, when did Firefox become... (5, Insightful)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322294)

...a media player? It's a flaw in Windows Media Player, not (unusual as it is) Internet Explorer.

So, in other words - use VideoLAN :)

Re:Unsuspecting??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322331)

It serves ads (the weatherbug) therefore it belongs in an antispyware (and adware)application.

i hope MS doesnt remove it.

I have a deep rooted hatred for that shitty program to begin with, but it still serves ad's and therefore should be includeed.

Re:Unsuspecting??? (1)

wernercd (837757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322531)

However, officials at AOL and WeatherBug did not take too kindly to the classification. "The vast majority of anti-spyware providers do not consider WeatherBug to be spyware, including Aluria, our own anti-spyware provider," said AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein.

I love that part of the eweek article in the grandparents post. God forbid AOL's own anti-spyware division peg it's own spyware as spyware.

Genius. Anyone know if Webroots SpySweeper removes WeatherBug? or AdAware? I'd like to know what REAL spy removal ap's think.

This is why I would only use MicroCraps AntiSpy/Virus crap with other more traditional methods like AdAware and SpySweeper. Atleast AdAware stays true to their roots without kissing other companies asses. The inhumanity that most people won't ever know about the shit that goes behind the scenes.

Re:Unsuspecting??? (2, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322433)

Firefox is a browser not a media player.


If you want a decent open source media player, choose VLC [videolan.org] . It works great on Win32, Linux & OS X. Works well supporting CDs, DVDs, AVI, DiVX, MP3, Ogg and just about every other media format known to man - except protected WMA.


So if the exploit relies on dangling a "carrot" in the shape of some free pr0n if you download some licence into WMP, VLC won't protect you from yourself and doesn't offer comparable functionality.

Re:Unsuspecting??? (1)

JaffaKREE (766802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322476)

However, officials at AOL and WeatherBug did not take too kindly to the classification. "The vast majority of anti-spyware providers do not consider WeatherBug to be spyware, including Aluria, our own anti-spyware provider," said AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein.

Is this guy serious ? Because the company's own software doesn't consider its other software bad, this is supposed to make us feel better ?

Re:Unsuspecting??? (1)

BlizzyMadden (814008) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322593)

I use FireFox, but the problem here is Media Player that I sure is using IE components. I've noticed this problem too and it's gotten to where I just don't download WMV files. Long live MP3 and MPEG! I haven't found a good WMP open-source replacement yet; otherwise, I would get rid of it like I did MS Office (replaced with OpenOffice.org) and IE (replaced with FireFox).

Crackers? You mean. . . (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322135)

. . .like trailer park dwelling white folks?

Now now.... (-1, Troll)

NarrMaster (760073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322141)

... we shouldn't have to be using racist talk like that one slashd..... oh. That kind of cracker. My bad.

/Didn't RTFA.

It's a bit like IE and activeX except.. (5, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322143)

this time.. we probably wont have the ability to turn it off.

This will become the new ActiveX.. I can see it already..

Simon.

Re:It's a bit like IE and activeX except.. (4, Informative)

RpiMatty (834853) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322336)

No, in this case WMP asked to go download and install the codec needed to play the video file.
When the user clicks yes, then their system becomes infected.
So if you don't trust the video source, or set WMP to not download codec you will be safe

Re:It's a bit like IE and activeX except.. (4, Informative)

dewke (44893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322390)

You can turn the "feature" off. The spyware is installed when the player claims it needs a license. The settings for this are on the privacy tab.

Happy (1, Flamebait)

bustersnyvel (562862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322151)

I'm so happy that I've got a system that doesn't integrate every little bit into the OS! Too bad Mickeysoft still doesn't understand that more features don't make their system any better.

No logic (5, Insightful)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322153)

One has to wonder why an application whose primary purpose it is to just display data is such a huge vector for infection. What was Microsoft thinking when they made it possible for movies to automatically open URL's and install stuff? Perhaps someone can explain the logic to me.

Re:No logic (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322262)

What was Microsoft thinking when they made it possible for movies to automatically open URL's and install stuff?

To make it easier for users to watch movies. Codecs to watch movies are available all over the place but a generally dumb Windows user wouldn't have the faintest idea where to get that.

Microsoft was attempting to make their media viewing a bit easier by telling them the codec wasn't installed (rather than displaying their famous acid-trip screen saver) and that WMP could attempt to install it for them.

It's partly the users' fault for clicking on "stop bugging me about this in the future and just install everything known to man without asking."

Re:No logic (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322304)

Marketing. Think about it if everything you saw instantly connected you to the products page? not saying it is a good idea, but microsoft probably was thinking that they can use it to sell stuff. See something you like in a movie click and voila your at the website to buy it.

Re:No logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322328)

One has to wonder why an application whose primary purpose it is to just display data is such a huge vector for infection. What was Microsoft thinking when they made it possible for movies to automatically open URL's and install stuff? Perhaps someone can explain the logic to me.

It's because they're Microsoft and we're Slashdot.

On a more serious note : Automatically downloading codecs/drm schemes allow both users not to worry about downloading new codecs and RIAA/MPAA supporting companies to lock users without their consentment (well, you're consentant, didn't you agree some license to allow them/MS to do that ?).

Re:No logic (1, Interesting)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322400)

Unfortunately, in order to display the data correctly you need to know how to read it, and that typically requires codecs and plugins... unless you want to recompile/redownload the program each and every time a new format for video/audio/features (subtitles, etc) comes out. (And sometimes it seems everyone and their grandmother has their own codec...)

Is that a good enough explaination?

As for what they were thinking, probably something along the lines of: "Our target user has little or no in-depth knowledge of computers, so we will automate everything as much as possible with default settings that will work 99% of the time." Considering the market share Windows has, that's obviously pretty sound logic.

Unfortunately it backfires a lot, because this makes the users trust the computer to make the right decisions for them, and trust that the default settings are an adequate balance of function and security. The only fault I can find in MS on this one is doing too good a job at making it easy for Joe Public.
=Smidge=

Re:No logic (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322411)

Why do web pages need the ability to launch programs and install things? It's long been Microsoft's design philosophy to hook every one of their apps to the OS and to each other, and give each the ability to do as much as possible. The idea is that this makes productive computer use easier and more transparent.

And it does. Unfortunately, it also makes malicious computer use easier and more transparent. Microsoft has ignored that aspect to their design philosophy, and it's become the source of many highly-publicized security issues.

Re:No logic (1)

m2bord (781676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322413)

it gives microsoft the potential for additional revenue.

by using their drm and codecs, the authorized distributor could run ads, announcements, or other multimedia on the end user's pc.

i'm not wild about wmp but it is far less clunky than my musicmatch jukebox player.

Re:No logic (5, Informative)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322436)

If you RTFA, you'd understand that Windows Media Player attemps to connect to the Internet when a file is played that it doesn't have a valid license for.

In theory, if you download an MP3 with DRM enabled, Windows Media Player will search your computer for the license. If it doesn't find it, it will go to the URL specified in the MP3. This is part of the DRM spec.

"Hackers" are just taking advantage of this, creating fake MP3s/MOVs and making those URLs go to junk-infested sites.

In WMP's defense, it *does* ask you first if you want to go out and hit the site for the DRM license. And once you get there, if you're running SP2 then security is no different than any other mailious website you may visit.

SP2 should block the popups, and give you a much more informative warning if the site tries to push software onto your computer.

So tired... (0, Redundant)

Virtualtaco (848235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322157)

At a glance i thought this was an arcticle about white people and spyware...

Crackers like... (5, Interesting)

NetNifty (796376) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322158)

Crackers like the RIAA/MPAA contractor Overpeer [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Crackers like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322465)

By now everybody should be clear about who pees over whom...
There's still MPlayer, The Core Media Player, and loads of other players around for windoze. If it has to be windoze at all.

Hackers, not Crackers. (1)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322160)

Really, the article says Hackers. Crackers break software.

I mean if you're going to rip the first line 'summary' from the article itself, why skimp on one word?

Re:Hackers, not Crackers. (5, Insightful)

DrinkingIllini (842502) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322236)

Because as /.ers we know the difference, and these are most certainly crackers, not hackers.

Re:Hackers, not Crackers. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322367)

speak for yourself dork-man. You wouldn't know a cracker if he had his white pointy hood on.

Re:Hackers, not Crackers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322563)

Shut up and get off the Internet, punk.

Re:Hackers, not Crackers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322448)

I totally agree. Crackers break software, hackers write broken software ;)

What's with /. running months old news? (4, Funny)

funkdid (780888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322163)

Ok I'll admit it. I did a search on Limewire for some "adult" type content. Every single movie I grabbed up tried to get me to install some piece of software in order to watch the movie. 1800fastsearch, etc. I was annoyed that the spyware companies had gotten their tentacles this deep in porn. Those bastards, is nothing sacred?

Yep, nothing is sacred. (1)

Dana P'Simer (530866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322309)

Especially not porn.

Re:What's with /. running months old news? (4, Funny)

drafalski (232178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322464)

tentacles this deep in porn

Seems like a "5, Funny" joke is lurking in there somewhere...

Re:What's with /. running months old news? (3, Funny)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322477)

Hey man, lay off the tentacle porn - some of us LIKE that!

No no no, all wrong (2, Funny)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322165)

You people have it all WRONG, DRM was meant to Stand for Digital Rights Manipulation, it's actually a Microsoft feature.

Re:No no no, all wrong (4, Insightful)

RPoet (20693) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322382)

I like the variant term Richard Stallman likes to promote: Digital Restrictions Management.

Well, it's Microsoft, but here's the rub (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322173)

*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_
g_______________________________________________g_ _
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o_ _
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/RUB_MY\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)HOLE_WITH_(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)YOUR_COCK_//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

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Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Good for the crackers (-1, Flamebait)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322181)

If it's bad for M$, it's good for the country.

I love to see M$ in the news these days

Cheers

This is news? (0, Offtopic)

outz (448278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322192)

Download porn from kazaa lately?

Re:This is news? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322272)

Download porn from kazaa lately?

Many of us stopped downloading any .wmv files _years_ ago, because they frequently require a licence to play which is a PITA for offline viewing.

You know my solution. (1, Redundant)

cgranade (702534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322194)

Besides the obvious troubles of Windows, and of DRM, we now have the added issues of security? Well, at least I don't have to worry about it on my Linux desktop. Just on my Windows laptop. Really, I think that MS must try and leave these open so that they can sell subscriptions to their new AntiSpyware.

Re:You know my solution. (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322443)

Thing is, this is one of those cases that hits Windows more because of the monoculture than directly due to the inherent security flaws or the DRM problem.

In general "advanced" formats will require downloading software. The fact that the "advance" here is DRM is almost immaterial, except perhaps for the fact that some people believe they're downloading a license rather than software. But Windows asks explicitly if you want to download and install the software. You get a warning, you have to say, "Yeah, I want that piece of malware." The message may not be clear enough, and since there are cases where you do want it you're asking a naive user to make a fairly sophisticated security judgment, but it is there, and the malware can't bypass it. It doesn't need to.

To my knowledge Linux doesn't have a good solution to that problem, either. If you need software to play that movie/music, it's up to you to verify that the software isn't malware. Linux users escape this problem largely because there aren't enough of them to make it worth the malware writer's effort (as well as the fact that Linux users tend to be better educated and would answer "Hell no!" to the question if asked).

What's needed here is a security sandbox. Download the codec but don't give it permission to do anything except take stuff from one place in memory and dump it to another, or access a limited direct-to-video API. No network access, no disk access. I'm not aware of any particular Linux security sandbox.

Microsoft does have its own, in its C#/CLR, though clearly that hasn't made it to the point of writing codecs yet. And it may not, since these are performance-intensive apps and virtual machines impose overhead. I've seen codecs written in Java, and they're tolerable but not what you'd choose.

Re:You know my solution. (3, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322543)

On the other hand, so much of this could be avoided by at least not tying DRM into the lowest levels of the OS. Same issue as I have with MSIE. Comprimise Firefox, and you've comprimised an application. Comprimise MSIE, and you've comprimised Windows itself. Furthermore, since all lusers have admin privliges by default, any damage done by even an application can be severe. Hence, my reommendations. First, move the DRM layer out of the OS. Second, don't allow an admin to run the DRM-encrusted software.

Solution (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322213)

Use the excellent - and free - VLC media player [videolan.org]

cool (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322214)

I can't wait to have the latest toolbar delivered to me without worrying about how to get it!

Surprise surprise... (5, Insightful)

tommertron (640180) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322223)

Remember when media files used to be safe? When we only needed to worry about files with .exe and .zip and a few others containing viruses or malware? Even before the DRM stuff in Media Player, MS added the ability for video clips to launch web pages. Gee, great idea. Did they never think that people could have exploited that?

Is it really worth sacrificing the safety of media files so that video players could launch web pages and other code? Another example of Microsoft trying to add usability, whlile sacrificing security. There's no way they couldn't have known about this security flaw.

Re:Surprise surprise... (2, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322356)

Remember when media files used to be safe? When we only needed to worry about files with .exe and .zip and a few others containing viruses or malware?

Presumably that was before you learned things.

All data is safe, processing untrusted data is potentially dangerous, particularly if it is automatic.

Email is just plain text but look how many buffer overflows various email clients have had just parsing it

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=email+parsing+buf fer+overflow [google.co.uk]

and is has nothing to do with OSS/CSS they have all been vulnerable in various ways over time.

Re:Surprise surprise... (1)

VertigoAce (257771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322418)

By default it tells you this is a security risk and should only be allowed for trusted sources. I've seen the technique used for a streaming audio station where it opens a page containing details about the programming for the day, current song, etc. in the main window of WMP. Obviously it would be a bad idea to allow every file to do this without prompting you, but some users are just too clueless to realize that.

This is why I use Linux.. (3, Interesting)

Dana P'Simer (530866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322238)

very little danger of getting infected in this way. And we don't have any DRM mechanisms to get in our way.

But really, Windows XP does provide a way to keep users from installing just any software, that is by having a seperate administrator user and do you surfing and P2P downloading using a "limited" user account.

I went to visit some relatives a couple of weeks ago and I found 250 dialers, spyware and malware programs on thier computer using Spybot. It was unbelievable!

Someone's got to say it (5, Insightful)

Bronz (429622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322240)


They aren't using Windows Media Player to install spyware. They are using WMP to get users to click on a link that takes them to a webpage where, presumably, the user's browser is compromised.

Give the proliferation of spyware *without* this new fishing technique, I don't understand the significance of this. People find spyware all by themselves, they don't need any help.

Well, at the least the crackers... (-1, Offtopic)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322246)

aren't filthy communist sons of bitches.

Plays for sure (1)

MrLint (519792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322250)

so when Bill G was up hawking the MS 'plays for sure' market-speak, little did he suspect it was really infected for sure!

It's encouraging to know that the ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322251)

comprehensive Microsoft security effort is continuing to provide new opportunities to developers/commercial interests to offer system enhancements, needed pharmaceuticals and privacy adjustments. It's so much better then on FOS or OS X, where such efforts are impeded.

Not only hackers! (5, Interesting)

EvilCowzGoMoo (781227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322283)

Its not only hackers taking advantage of DRM vulnerabilities. This [virus.org] article at virus.org reports that the RIAA is also exploiting DRM!

"The contractor Overpeer who works solely for the MPAA and RIAA to polute Peer-to-Peer networks with corrupt and useless files has moved to a new low by using a loop hole within Windows Media DRM to launch popup adds and infect users PCs with Spyware, Viruses and Adware.

In what could be considered a quite blatent breach of computer crime laws the world over, Overpeer a company owned by Loudeye is making a lot of money seeding Peer-to-Peer networks with thousands of fake files. It's one of the entertainment industry's favourite, and most obnoxious, anti-p2p contractors.

The loophole in the Windows Media DRM process allows companies to create media files and link them to adware. When you normally download a protected Windows Media file, you also receive a license that lets you play it. If however Windows Media Player cannot find a valid license on your PC, it checks in with a remote system running Microsoft's Windows Media DRM Server.

You should rarely see that happen. Some files, however are set up to ask you for information before playing. They do this by displaying a URL in a dialog box labeled License Acquisition. Normally that dialog box is used to check for a user name or offer a chance to purchase the file that's being played. In a legitimate DRM-encrypted file the author may let you play it a few times, then bring up a window asking if you want to buy it.

Since the license dialog box is in essense an Internet Explorer window, it will display whatever is on the page it points to, in the cases that have been seen of this these trojaned Windows Media files, they all point to servers that load up unwanted ads, including windows that attempt install adware onto your PC surreptitiously, including adding items to your browser's Favorites list, attempting to change your home page and installing viral adware such as the 180search Assistant. "

Acording to the above article's date (December 31, 2004) Is it possible the RIAA inspired the hacker comunity?

Re:Not only hackers! (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322576)

I couldn't find in the article any support for the author's accusation that Overpeer is exploiting this vulnerability to compromise filesharer's computers...only some intentionally vague language written in the passive voice.

Did I miss something?

Crackers? (4, Funny)

deft (253558) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322286)

Has anyone told Chris Rock that crackers are doing this?
He'll be pissed.

Winamp TV had this problem too (4, Interesting)

British (51765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322305)

On the Beta Winamp TV stations, adult site operators quickly figured how to launch URLs on video streams. Needless to say, the support forums showed you how to turn off this feature about a day after the discovery.

Please, not every app in the known world needs to launch a freakin' web page, etc.

Incredible (1)

jholst (741983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322312)

How can it be possible for one company to make software with that many security flaws?!

Please clear this up for me... (3, Interesting)

go$$amer (218906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322334)

What is the difference between DRM and spyware?

How could DRM work without inherently 'spying' on the user/victim?

When will Microsoft learn... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322351)

That no good deed goes unpunished?

WMP-out (3)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322365)

If AOL would open the WinAmp source, after it was examined by a horde of cranky Slashdotters bent on porting it to Linux, it would be at least believed to be less buggy than WMP. It might whip WMP the way Firefox has whipped IE, Apache has whipped IIS, and all the other open source "utilities" are whipping unreliable MS software. Especially if the community could factor down only the essential WinAmp features, leaving the bloated full WinAmp available as #2, just like Mozilla.

won't work (2, Interesting)

tetromino (807969) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322500)

If AOL would open the WinAmp source

The problem is that Winamp (IIRC) uses DirectShow and standard Windows codecs for playing movies; WMP is also essentially a gui front-end for DirectShow. (It's just like Linux where you have xine-lib with its plugins, and all sorts of guis for it - xine-ui, kaffeine, totem etc). My guess is that the Windows Media DRM is implemented at the codec level or in the DirectShow pipeline, and not in the media player - otherwise, the DRM would be trivial to circumvent. The only real solution is a usable windows port of xine-lib or mplayer (even helixplayer would work, as long as it implements its own video pipeline).

Re:WMP-out (2, Interesting)

Koyaanisqatsi (581196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322640)

Why? You already have VLC [videolan.org] , it's open source, multi-platform and plays a gazillion file formats

I know this is a very pro linux forum but (0, Troll)

chadamir (665725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322391)

It seems that people neglect to mention the fact that countless times a week announcements are made that some piece of Open source software has a security hole in it which will allow root access to some fat slob in a basement somewhere. Each OS has its problems and really you choose based on what you need, not the fact that 1 percent of the media out there might try to get you to install some search bar on your internet explorer.

Re:I know this is a very pro linux forum but (1)

E-Rock-23 (470500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322600)

Yes, holes are announced for Open Source OSs and Applications on a somewhat (but nowhere near just as) similar basis. But then again, consider this:

These holes are often patched within a short time frame in the Open Source world. Most times, a patch is released not long after the bug is discovered, and more often than not, some end users will write their own patches, resulting in not only timely but optional fixes.

Now, M$ took how long to release SP2? And it did what? Sure, fixed a few holes, but a Windows XP Home Edition computer is still as easy a target as ever thanks to all sorts of new and wonderful exploits, and some that have been known of for months, if not a year or two. And when are they going to fix these holes?

Well, a new major release for IE has been pushed back a few years, and Longhorn (aka LongWait, LongOff, TakingTooLonghorn) is quite a ways off itself. Microsoft has said that it won't release another patch until Longhorn is released.

Which means XP users are fucked until Microsoft decides to descend from the heavens with their miraculous new piece of ill-planned garbage that promises to make it all better.

Meanwhile, us Linux users wait maybe a few months for a good patch, which more often than not works, and continue about our business in a much safer environment.

heh (0, Troll)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322406)

I thought this was going to be an article on a huge surge in Molly Hatchet and Lynyrd Skynyrd downloads

I'm utterly surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322421)

that more people are not hopping on the Linux bandwagon. I grew tired of crap like this long ago.
Linux affords people an out, at least until Linux reaches critical mass with a large installed user base.
Common sense can prevent 99% of all crap like this for Windows users. A Linksys router coupled with a fully updated system coupled with Zone Alarm or other software firewall along with using a decent browser like Opera or Firefox stops crap like this cold.

Damn... (1)

Kyru (836008) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322430)

And here I was hoping this was a great new way to spice up my saltines.

Better replacement for WMP (5, Informative)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322451)

http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/ [sourceforge.net]

Windows media player like it should be. Low resource usage, plays dvds and any file you have the codecs for installed, without any network access at all. (Unless you're playing a stream or course)

My issues with Windows 2000 (-1, Offtopic)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322453)

Recently, my install of Windows 2000 has become very slow. I am running the AMD Sempron 2800+ with 256MB of RAM. I have defragemented the HD, optimized the registry with RegScrubXP, uninstalled all windows components I do not need, and changed to the FAT file system that I understand has less over head. That includes all useless programs I do not use.

What else can I do? And ohh, I have SpyBot and Ad-AwareSE Personal installed. I have heared that over time, all windows installations just become to slow. Any advice would be welcome.

On a side note, I also run Vidalinux http://desktop.vidalinux.com/ [vidalinux.com] which continues to work fine but I continue to have windows arround because none of my brokers will support Linux, and with Java, they claim it is too unstable.

Simple rule of thumb (4, Funny)

karnat10 (607738) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322466)

This has kept my computer safe and my mind happy for the last twenty years. I don't plan to change it:

Don't buy products from Microsoft!

There is one exception: The Microsoft Optical Wheel Mouse is a great product. You can't fuck up a mouse, though.

Wait, Apple's round one-button mouse.

Now, that's a deal: Apple could learn from M$ how to design mice, while Steve explains to Bill what an Operating System is.

Re:Simple rule of thumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322594)

I have done exactly the same as your first line... by using virtually nothing but Microsoft products.

The difference is, I have a tiny bit of a brain and I don't traverse warez sites and I don't install every program from every jackass on the planet. Lastly, I take the very minumin security requirements necessary (turn off Active X in IE, stay up to date) and I have never, ever, gotten a virus, trojan or spyware on my machine.

What I have gotten is a ton of work done using top of the line tools and software.

Re:Simple rule of thumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322601)

"Now, that's a deal: Apple could learn from M$ how to design mice, while Steve explains to Bill what an Operating System is."

Let's just hope there also some BSD hackers around to help Steve with the gorey details.

Glad to see DRM is protecting digital rights (3, Interesting)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322468)

When I first saw the story, I was afraid that hackers were somehow exploiting program flaws in media player that would give them unauthorised access, allowing them to install spyware.

Instead, it turns out that DRM is simply doing it's job - protecting the digital rights on content providers by punishing those people who attempt to gain access to unathorised media.

Here's my take, I'm pretty sure that I'll be safe wether I run linux or windows (I run both) since I am not ...wait for it... trying to leech other people's copyrighted material off of dodgy peer to peer networks!

If you engage in pirating, you deserve the cannonball to your vessel; I, for one, feel no pity.

Hastening The Death Of The PC (3, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322550)

It occurs to me that this sort of thing is just going to hasten the death of the home PC as a media device. We've already seen the decline in the PC as a gaming platform relative to dedicated consoles in part due to ease of use issues. If I'm Jane user and just watching downloaded videos opens the door to hundreds of spyware apps and other nonsense, I'm going to stop using the PC for stuff like that if there's an easier to use alternative.

The next generation gaming consoles may be ready to become the easy to use box in the living room that is easy to use and never gets infected by viruses or spyware. If this happens, home PC sales will plummet! Couple these boxes with HDTV and high quality sound systems and it's game over for the PC. Slashdotters may be able to cope with the nonsense, but most people are going to take the easy way out, especially if the price of admission is low. As for me, I'd love to see a really good web browser on Sony's PSP, then I could do my mindless surfing in the living room on a reasonably good display.

I guess that explains that (4, Interesting)

AssFace (118098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322552)

I was in NYC on business at the end of last week. The owner of our company had me swing by his apartment while I was in town and he wanted me to setup a wireless network there - which I did.
As part of the process I was tasked with fixing the 3 XP laptops that were "not working" or "too slow".

Sure enough, I found that they all had spyware - but one had 52 viruses on it.

The best part was that his wife (it was her laptop) said to me "oh that is odd because my IT person from work JUST scanned that two days ago - so I hardly think that I got 52 viruses in two days."

I tried to be polite but essentially told her that she might want to look into getting a better IT person.

One of the viruses that she had kept spawning instances of the media player and I couldn't figure out why... now I see why I guess.

(technically some of the viruses were trojans/worms/spyware, so I guess I should just say "malware")

Strike 3,475,493.08 for DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322555)

DRM may only be a functional annoyance for the average user in concept. Backlash from that alone could be interesting. Add the possiblity that MS's DRM implementation will very likely result in a $150 trip to the local electronics lease & fleece, your average user is going to be more then a little irritated.

This is good news I say, good news indeed. The more people get pissed at DRM, the better.

i can't believe what i just did (1)

virtualone (768392) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322575)

i clicked on a link that said: "install spyware"

It could be much worse (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322588)

Guys, it could be much worse. It's not like WMP is forcefully bundled into the world's most popular desktop OS or anything....

VIRUS ALERT!!!! (0, Offtopic)

killmenow (184444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322609)

Warning!!!

Do NOT DOWNLOAD BRITNEYSPEARSNUDE.WMV!!! It is not really a video of her stripping. It is a virus!!!

BTW, HURRY! WAREZ LIST ENDS SOON!!!

Re:VIRUS ALERT!!!! (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322638)

The warning would have been funnier if it said not to download britneyspearsnude.wmv because it really IS a video of her stripping.

Don't you think this is a little (0, Redundant)

xRelisH (647464) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322616)

racist?

I mean crackers? I'm sure asian people, black people and people of other races are doing it too :)

Crackers (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11322619)

"Crackers tune in to Windows Media Player"

Eh? Glad to read that hillbilly white trash have finally caught on to digital media. Course it may be some time before they can get Pay-per-view WWF matches streamed to their trailer.

This is good (1)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11322636)


The more WMA gets compromised the sooner we can dump it in favor of open standards.
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