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More on Sony's "DRM Rootkit"

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the to-much-to-believe dept.

Sony 608

A couple of days ago we posted a story about Sony DRM installing a rootkit. Since then we have seen many more stories on the subject that I thought were worth sharing. manno gave us a link to the inquirer and salemnic sent us a page from the washington post. smallfries gave us one from PC Pro. It's nice to see this story not getting lost in the cracks since the implications are gigantic.

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Sue (1)

alecks (473298) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931885)

So is it or isn't it enough for a lawsuit? Anyone know of any developments in this area?

Re:Sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931913)

It isn't enough for you to sue, because Sony can afford to drag the case out forever and you can't handle that amount of lawyer fees.

Re:Sue (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931914)

So is it or isn't it enough for a lawsuit? Anyone know of any developments in this area?

A lawsuit on what grounds? That you agreed to something and then they installed their software based on your agreement? I have a feeling that the "oh, no one reads those things" isn't really going to work all that well against Sony's legal team.

Here [f-secure.com] is a link to F-secure's "detailed" writeup about what the DRM installer puts on your machine.

Don't buy DRM'd CDs as they don't allow you to exercise fair-use. Sadly, most people don't care anymore.

Re:Sue (5, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931958)

Based on the grounds that it re-routes the windows instructions on how to play *all* audio CDs. If you remove the DRM by force, you lose the ability to play other music as well.

Re:Sue (5, Informative)

Celt (125318) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931966)

Nice that you've read up on the matter,
It is not stated in the EULA that this rootkit will be installed, plus there's no way to uninstall it through add.remove programs

Re:Sue (4, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932052)

As soon as you have agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions of the EULA, this CD will automatically install a small proprietary software program (the "SOFTWARE") onto YOUR COMPUTER. The SOFTWARE is intended to protect the audio files embodied on the CD, and it may also facilitate your use of the DIGITAL CONTENT. Once installed, the SOFTWARE will reside on YOUR COMPUTER until removed or deleted. However, the SOFTWARE will not be used at any time to collect any personal information from you, whether stored on YOUR COMPUTER or otherwise.


Umm, nice to see that you didn't read the EULA either.

Re:Sue (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932104)

this EULA was MODIFIED after the story has surfaced - so if you are going to claim reading the documents - at least try to get the right ones.

Re:Sue (0, Troll)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932179)

this EULA was MODIFIED after the story has surfaced - so if you are going to claim reading the documents - at least try to get the right ones.

Well, the research that we were able to do came from a site that has been highly regarded as one of the most well researched and documented about this issue. If their copy of the EULA is what we have displayed, then I would father that it's the "correct" copy. Perhaps Mark Russinovich isn't really the guru and expert on this issue that Slashdot and multiple posters claim he is?

Re:Sue (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932115)

The EULA is expected to be limited in scope to restrict access to the specific tracks purchased on the CD.

The GP was stating that it affects ALL cd activity from that point onwards.

Re:Sue (5, Interesting)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932151)

There is no way for a normal user to remove the software. It comes with no uninstall program, nor is it listed in the windows add-remove programs.

If you can manage to find the hidden software files and do delete tehm as suggested in the EULA, you will no longer be able to access your CD drive.

Funny how no mention of those points are made in the agreement.

Re:Sue (3, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932175)

Yes, it says "software", but it doesn't say "I agree to allow Sony to install software commonly associated with hackers that may infringe upon my computer's security". And I think that'll make a bit of a difference.

Re:Sue (4, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932063)

It is not stated in the EULA that this rootkit will be installed, plus there's no way to uninstall it through add.remove programs

I assume that you were trying to somehow infer that I didn't read the EULA [sysinternals.com] ? Well, I did, but I'll post the important part of it here because it's fairly apparent that you did not, or at least didn't fully comprehend what it said:

As soon as you have agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions of the EULA, this CD will automatically install a small proprietary software program (the "SOFTWARE") onto YOUR COMPUTER. The SOFTWARE is intended to protect the audio files embodied on the CD, and it may also facilitate your use of the DIGITAL CONTENT. Once installed, the SOFTWARE will reside on YOUR COMPUTER until removed or deleted. However, the SOFTWARE will not be used at any time to collect any personal information from you, whether stored on YOUR COMPUTER or otherwise.

See that part about "the SOFTWARE will reside on YOUR COMPUTER until removed or deleted"? That's what people agree to when they click "I agree" on the EULA screen.

As far as being able to uninstall it via "add/remove programs", I wasn't aware that this made software dismissable via legal grounds. I thought it just meant that you could proudly wear the "Made for Microsoft Windows" on your retail box.

Re:Sue (1)

Nic-o-demus (169477) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932155)

Ditto. From TFA

" I checked the EULA and saw no mention of the fact that I was agreeing to have software put on my system that I couldn't uninstall. Now I was mad."

Re:Sue (4, Informative)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932209)

It is not stated in the EULA that this rootkit will be installed, plus there's no way to uninstall it through add.remove programs.

You can contact Sony directly [sonybmg.com] and they will send you tools to remove the DRM software.

The F-Secure blog [f-secure.com] talks a little about this. It appears their removal software installs ActiveX controls.. just really messed up.

Re:Sue (4, Insightful)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932012)

"A lawsuit on what grounds? That you agreed to something and then they installed their software based on your agreement? "

I think the issue here is that Sony does not tell you that they are installing the software ANYWHERE. In addition to them adding the software without your permission, its software that can create a "safe haven for viruses" (the software makes everything that has "$SYS$" in the filename turn invisible), according to the PcPro writeup.

Grounds for suit (3, Insightful)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932059)

I believe the doctrine of trespass to chattels would apply here.

Of course, IANAL, IAAEE.

Re:Sue (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932106)

I don't even understand how this is any different than what Windows already does. Its just autorun all over again.

Re:Sue (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932107)

"Sadly, most people don't care anymore. "

You have got that backwards. Those who know what DRM is cares.
The problem is that not many people know about it.

Re:Sue (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932110)

From the PCPro article: "Once a CD protected by Sony's DRM is played in a PC, an End User Licence Agreement is presented to the user which defines the terms of use of the CD and must be accepted. But it fails include details of the rootkit, and the installation of this code which subsequently occurs happens without the user's permission."

Interesting that in light of this you loudly say, "That you agreed to something and then they installed their software based on your agreement?"

Before you get all high and mighty, you might want to figure out what is actually going on.

How in the world did parent get mod'd +5? (1)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932208)

That you agreed to something and then they installed their software based on your agreement?

You either work for Sony or you didn't read any of the several articles on this topic. From TFA:

I checked the EULA and saw no mention of the fact that I was agreeing to have software put on my system that I couldn't uninstall.

Further down...

Getting rid of the rootkit proved nigh impossible and caused further problems, according to Russinovich.

This isn't a simple matter of not having read the EULA and having buyer's remorse. This is a matter of a company deliberately misleading you. If still not convinced, read the article a little further:

Russinovich noticed that the rootkit's 'cloaking code hides any file, directory, Registry key or process whose name begins with "$sys$". To verify that I made a copy of Notepad.exe named $sys$notepad.exe and it disappeared from view.'

Hmmm... A program that not only hides itself, a la rootkit but also gives a convenient way for any virus, trojan or malware to hide itself as well!

For some icing on the cake - no uninstall is made available.

Re:Sue (2, Interesting)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932117)

Some lawyers seem to think so.
On Mark Russinovich's Blog, at least one guy claimed to be a lawyer and he asked California residents who were affected to contact him about a lawsuit.

Regardless of where this goes... (5, Insightful)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931897)

Even if this doesn't go to court, at least this is getting some attention... and ANY bad attention for DRM makes me happy.

Re:Regardless of where this goes... (2, Interesting)

Scoria (264473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932046)

People seem amazed when they learn what DRM technology is capable of. Interestingly, I'm afraid that most casual readers wouldn't understand the implications of DRM, even if it actually received a substantial amount of press. I know that "rootkit" isn't the most commonly used term.

In fact, to a casual reader, it would almost seem as though anything with an acronym such as "Digital Rights Management" would be designed to protect your digital rights. It's entirely misleading.

If all else fails, Sony can always use a scapegoat and proclaim that the managers had no idea any of this was happening. An unknown malicious programmer must have done it all!

Re:Regardless of where this goes... (4, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932205)

You may be interested in my signature... and my XCP affected Album list [slashdot.org] .

Hope this helps!

Maybe Sony Should Print This On Their CD's.... (5, Funny)

8127972 (73495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931901)

We Got Root

Re:Maybe Sony Should Print This On Their CD's.... (1)

sremick (91371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932021)

It's just the beginning of a new product line from Sony [thinkgeek.com]

Standard acronyms (1)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932108)

Looks to me like this could be abbreviated so the typeface could be bigger:

AYRABTU

Two Things (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931904)

1. I can't believe this could be really true and 2. if it is true then I really don't know what else to write.

Hope it catches on (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931911)

"infected with DRM"

Love it. Great phrase. Maybe it'll catch on.

Russinovich's Take (0, Redundant)

sp1nl0ck (241836) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931912)

Mark Russinovich's blog [sysinternals.com] has a lot of detail about this particular package, including some info on how to get rid of it...

Re:Russinovich's Take (2, Informative)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931986)

how to get rid of it...

Except that he put a link to a form, and not to a way to get rid of it. Looking further into the sony website the code used seems to originate from http://www.xcp-aurora.com/ [xcp-aurora.com] . Maybe that is the root of all problems.
Sue Sony -> Sony sue Aurora -> Lawyers will get rich and happy.

Re:Russinovich's Take (1)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932030)

Hey, lawyers have gotta make an extravigant living too.

Re:Russinovich's Take (3, Funny)

calbanese (169547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932080)

Or maybe they get their money because they know how to spell.

Re:Russinovich's Take (5, Funny)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932210)

Hahaha.
  1. complain to editors about posting dupes
  2. editors start to link to their previous stories
  3. posters visit those previous stories, and copy links FROM THE previous FREAKING ARTICLE itself [slashdot.org]
  4. ???
  5. profit!!
How does this stuff get modded up?

DUPE? (-1, Redundant)

b100dian (771163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931918)

What's this? A self-described DUPE?

Re:DUPE? (2, Informative)

kyouteki (835576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931941)

Not a dupe, an update. Surely additional viewpoints on an issue as large as this warrants additional coverage.

Hrm... (3, Funny)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931924)

So they're gonna root all my cds? Yet another reason to switch to KaZaa/Grokster/Mule/DC++

*sigh* Silly executives, rape is for kids.

Never fear, Slashdot is here! (5, Funny)

NerdBuster (831349) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931925)

"It's nice to see this story not getting lost in the cracks since the implications are gigantic."

With Slashdot reporting this 10 times a day I doubt it will get lost :)

Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (5, Interesting)

snotclot (836055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931927)

Ok sure, so boycotting Sony is not realistic. Or is it...? We can really do without them. Screw their stupid DRM'ed Memorysticks, we have our SD and CompactFlash. Screw their VAIO's, we have Dell and Taiwanese laptops.. Screw their TV's, we have better ones from other brands. Screw PS3, we have XBOX2 and Nintendo Revolution. Screw PSP, we have Nintendo DS. Once they get the collective shaft, well, other companies will think twice before pulling shit like this.

Re:Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931988)

i dont think anyone considers memorysticks to be anything but a useless dead format....

Re:Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (2, Insightful)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932199)

i dont think anyone considers memorysticks to be anything but a useless dead format....


there's nothing wrong with memory sticks! sure they're proprietary - but sony's consumer-grade cameras are currently the best on the market,* simply because their AF system has made several advances in the past three years which make their cameras solidly faster in-use than the competition. canon's following closely; hopefully the situation will reverse in the next year or so (the market was even 3 years ago, such leads rarely last).....but all to say, memory stick, while a dead end, perhaps, is certainly not dead, as most of the best and most popular cameras still demand it. furthermore, with moore's law, EVERY format you buy is dead in two years. my first digicam (kodak) was given a 64 meg card (compact flash), my second (sony - memory stick) a 128, then later a 256, my third (canon - compact flash) a 512, and my fourth (canon) 1 gig. i anticipate a 4 gig card for my next camera.

all to say - people that waste time whining about proprietary memory that-they-can't-take-with-them need to realize that they can't take it with them *anyway*, at least until the megapixel war subsides. storage for serious photographers is more analogous to RAM than floppies - it's just part of the camera system. even if the format is compliant with subsequent models, they'll likely consider it prohibitively small, and they're better off selling it off to pay for half a new one.


ps: and before you say "b4t m1n3z d4 b0mbz!" realize i'm not dissing your camera, i'm just saying that, at this point in time, when you take a consumer down the line in a camera store that carries all brands of cameras, and make them play with each camera uninfluenced by sales rhetoric or concerns for proprietary formats or brand preference, a significant majority gravitate to the Sony's...not all, but most (like 5/6, among people that consult with me). doesn't mean the others aren't good, or don't have specific features that make them more desireable to other people, just means their user interface and general operation speed is slightly less eye-catching. natch?

pps: OT? sorry. just a pet peeve of mine. you can say it's proprietary and we should resist proprietary formats on principle, but don't mix "proprietary" with "technically bad," or underestimate Sony's ability to keep its CompactBetamax in very active use for years to come.

Re:Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931997)

XBOX2 is just as DRM'ed as the PS3, probably ditto for the revolution.

Re:Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932031)

Yeah, but those are all unincorporated arms that ahve nothing to do with the music making arm.

I'd just rather not buy Sony CDs and let them get bad press for fucking up people's computers.

OH wait, I already don't.

and they're already getting bad press. *yawn*

Re:Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (2, Insightful)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932041)

Honestly, I wish we COULD start a mass boycot against Sony... not even for this, really, but more because of the RIAA. The problem is, most people don't think that it's worth not having the latest crap music, if that's what it takes to send these guys a message :(

Re:Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (2, Interesting)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932126)

What really sucks though, is boycotting a company you don't buy anything from anyway. Honestly I haven't purchased shit of theirs since my last pair of headphones. I'm not really brand conscious though, more of an impulse buyer. I suppose they somewhat rely on the impulse buyer as well, so maybe I'll make a dent if I keep their underhanded tactics in mind before I make it to the register with anything with their logo on it in hand.

Re:Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932182)

You forgot to list Blu-Ray. Sony has more pattens on Blu-Ray than anyone else.

Re:Simple Solution: Boycott Sony to Death (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932211)

"Screw their stupid DRM'ed Memorysticks"

Proprietary != DRM.

They make very nice cameras, so I don't have any issues in using their media cards. It'd be nice if they were more universal and therefor cheaper, but anyone who believes that they're OMGSOHORRIBLE doesn't have a need for them.

I don't understand the fuss. (-1, Troll)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931928)

This is part of what you need if you want to listen to Sony's music legally. It's not like it's suddenly allowing a bunch of crackers on some IRC network to turn you into a spam zombie, you've got a piece of code in your computer that only gives Sony access. nobody else. All they're going to use it for is making sure you abide by the terms of the license of the music you're using. Nothing more.

Nothing to see here people, move along etc. Making a mountain out of a molehill with this one.

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931952)

-1, Troll in 3... 2....

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931959)

Wrong on almost every count.

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931971)

You are kidding, right?

You think it is ok when someone installs undetectable junk on your computer?

Can I have your IP then?

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (4, Informative)

klubar (591384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931973)

It's software like Sony's that makes windows unstable. A clean install of Windows with only "certfied for windows XP" software is rock solid. It's once you start added badly written drivers and other code the mucks into the OS that it becomes unstable. As the systeminternals article indicated, the driver doesn't follow the rules for unloading itself and other violations that can lead to the blue screen of death. Perhaps MS should increase the level of warnings about non-certified code, but users would still click-thru and blame the OS when it crashes.

It's not a Windows-specific problem, it's just that Sony has only implemented it for windows.

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931979)

You're getting modded down, cunny, because you're wrong. What part of the "the rootkit is not mentioned in the EULA" did you not understand? This can be used to hide just about anything. You dope.

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (1)

caddisfly (722422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931985)

....OK. so you will let any corporation or other entity enter your computer, house, car, body, etc to modify what is found there, without your knowledge, under the guise that *they* need to protect *their* property rights?

Welcome to 1984 and the birth of facism is America....

keep with the herd, please and "Baaa" only when spoken to

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932001)

On the off chance that you're not a troll:

Sony has the key to your computer.
The key is digital, thus an infinite number of copys can be made of the key.
The key is digital, so anyone with enough time can make a copy even if they aren't from sony.

Once someone besides Sony has the key, they can distribute it on the internet, and now EVERYONE will have the key to your computer.

Is it scary now? Do you think your bank plays music from sony CDs? Do you want everyone in the world having keys to your bank?

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (5, Funny)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932002)

I don't understand the fuss.


That's because you are an idiot. No, really.

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (2, Informative)

vegardh (831486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932034)

It burned 1-2% CPU _when the player was not running_, for starters... Read the article.

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932039)

If you RTFA, you'd know that Sony's DRM allows anyone else to use the hole they have created to put files on your system that will not be detected by antivirus software. That's not a big deal to you?

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932047)

Suuuuure, that's what they WANT you to think. The next thing you know the FBI will come crashing thru every window in your house perfectly syncronized, and haul you and all your crap off. When you beg and plead to find out what you did wrong, they'll slap you and tell you corporate spies have the right to remain silent.

They'll run amok with your computers and then let you take the fall.

Genius.

All hail the root-overlords.

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932125)

Nothing to see here people, move along etc. Making a mountain out of a molehill with this one.

Just because you don't care what gets surreptitiously installed on your e-Mac, doesn't mean real users are going to stand for this.

Re:I don't understand the fuss. (2, Insightful)

CoderBob (858156) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932198)

You don't perchance work for Sony, do you?

That aside, anything that hooks into the internals of an OS without my clear and informed authorization is a problem.

you've got a piece of code in your computer that only gives Sony access. nobody else.

Please tell me you don't really believe that. Considering how many of MS's products have opened backdoors for people, you're going to trust Sony to "do it better" and leave this software completely secure? It might not suddenly allow crackers "on some IRC network" to get in, but it sure opens up a lucrative bit of research for them- finding the security holes in a DRM rootkit that people don't even know is installed.

Imagine the trouble in fixing that with a patch.

Let us hope: (4, Interesting)

Winckle (870180) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931940)

That this sets a precedent, and that Sony don't wriggle out of this, at the very best it could point out some of the absurdities of the DMCA.

Re:Let us hope: (5, Informative)

n0dalus (807994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932003)

Unfortunately Sony may be able to claim that they offer an uninstaller.

From TFA:
Hypponen said the only way to uninstall the program in the conventional sense (without running the risk of hosing your system or CD-ROM drive) is to contact Sony BMG directly via a Web form and request removal.

At that point, a real, live person will call you back and ask for all kinds of information about your system, and your reason for wanting to remove the software. You're then directed to a Web page that downloads an ActiveX program (yes, you must be using Microsoft's Internet Explorer to do this), which determines what version is installed and reports that back to First4Internet. Then you get an e-mail containing a link to another site that downloads something that finally uninstalls the Sony program.


So, although they make you sell your firstborn to get it, they apparently do offer an uninstaller. IANAL, but maybe someone can still argue that the uninstaller needs to be bundled with the CD. Sony might also be liable if the installation damages your computer.

Re:Let us hope: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932229)

it is important that the poor sap who jumped through these hoops put the uninstaller on a p2p network! seriously!

Re:Let us hope: (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932024)

I suppose one question I would have to ask is:

Is anyone trying to do anything to make sure they DON'T wriggle their way out of this?

The Solution is Simple Folks! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931948)

Just never buy a cd again.

Me, I think I'll just pirate all my music from now on. That way I don't have to worry about any of this DRM nonsense!

Dupe(s): with a purpose. (-1, Offtopic)

Nomihn0 (739701) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931953)

See? Duping can be a positive thing! Sure, it can get tiresome, but reviewing "old" stories can foster excellent debate. Every time a topic is re-posted, we /.ers look at it in a new light. That is, we have a different perspective now than we did when the article was first released. Why? Well, for two reasons. First, the story hsa matured. Second, our opinions on it have.
 
I, for one, welcome our intenionally-duping overlords.

Re:Dupe(s): with a purpose. (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932035)

<aol>Me too!</aol>

No seriously, I agree. Sony's inconceivably bad behavior has to be dragged, squealing and flailing, into the sunlight where it can be properly stomped to gory death with hobnailed boots. No mercy, no PR coverup, no plausible deniability. Corps have to understand, with visceral fear-of-agonizing-death understanding, that this kind of crap will not ever be tolerated. This is a trend which must be stopped cold dead. These shenanigans have to be punished with such finality that any observer centuries from now will intuitively know the immediate and unalterable consequences of this kind of crap.

Re:Dupe(s): with a purpose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932133)

*has
*intentionally
  sorry
 
That'll teach me to use a brighter screen setting.

First4Internet (5, Informative)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931972)

The malware installed is created by a company called First4Internet.

They're based in Banbury, Oxford and their CEO is Mathew Gilliant-Smith DBC.

6 South Bar Street
Banbury
Oxfordshire
OX16 9AA
United Kingdom

All info (and more) available on their website here http://www.first4internet.com/contact.aspx/ [first4internet.com]

That's about 20 minutes in the car for me, should I go pay them a visit - taking the best wishes of the /. community with me? ;)

Re:First4Internet (5, Funny)

TrueKonrads (580974) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932095)

I suggest you put blank keys together with some epoxytde in their locks, break of the keys and slap DRM sticker :)

Re:First4Internet (4, Funny)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932238)

that would actually be Analog Rights Management.

lovely idea, though.

Contains LAME code? (5, Interesting)

Sulka (4250) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931974)

Interesting.. Some reports Finnish reader of this news in Sektori.com [sektori.com] (in Finnish) reports Contents\GO.EXE file seems to contain parts of the LAME player. Can anyone verify this? Is Sony distributing LGPL software on the CDs?

Re:Contains LAME code? (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932109)

Oh, I hope it's so. The delicious, tasty, non-fattening irony. Using an embedded copyright violation to enforce copyrights. I shudder in ecstacy at the thought.

Who'll follow up on this thread? I'm sure we can find enough free-as-in-freedom warriors to do a tech analysis on the software and confirm the report in parent comment? C'mon, hoisting retards [sonymusic.com] on their own petards [wiktionary.org] is just too much fun!

Yes, this is bad (5, Informative)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931989)

Sony could be held liable in a class-action lawsuit. Anyone can design a virus and name it "$sys$" now, and AV software won't be able to detect it if this rootkit is installed. An IM worm could use this naming scheme, only infect a few thousand people, and the news would report, "SONY's DRM software used to hide latest virus". It'd be a horrible blow, and they'd totally deserve it. I still think we'll see a virus/worm that does this before the end of this month.

On a related note: World of Warcraft hackers are now using Sony's DRM rootkit to hide from "the Warden" [wowsharp.net] . I tried to submit this as a standalone story, but since I saw this DRM news update, I figured I'd post it here.

Is Sony aiding and abetting cheaters?

Re:Yes, this is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932077)


On a related note: World of Warcraft hackers are now using Sony's DRM rootkit to hide from "the Warden". I tried to submit this as a standalone story, but since I saw this DRM news update, I figured I'd post it here.


Thats it!

Everquest is running rather slow...
Fill in the blanks.

Re:Yes, this is bad (3, Funny)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932086)

"Is Sony aiding and abetting cheaters?"

Doesn't Sony Entertainment develope (and produce) Everquest? Heh... I wonder what the media could do with THIS...

"Sony using rootkit to ruin WoW"

Reminds me of something I did (-1, Offtopic)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932004)

Kinda off topic, but somewhat related. Reading through the article it talks about how it hid complete folders from a directory listing. I accidently did that once when i was backing up a hard drive to another one, at first I thought I lost it, but magically I could open it directly. Was hidden to Explorer, dir, and ls -a through cygwin. No clue on how I did it in the first place, much less how to enable/disable it.

Any ideas from the /. crowd?

Re:Reminds me of something I did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932124)

On some windows versions you can do some crazy stuff by putting non-breaking spaces (ascii=255) characters into filenames.
The other way is to make them a hidden AND system file (you can do it using attrib from the command line). Under default explorer settings these files won't be listed anywhere. This is what windows uses for the Recycle bin and stuff.

Re:Reminds me of something I did (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932230)

I was searching for a file on my Windows box at work and it turned up in a hidden directory. I could view the folder if I typed in the path, but looking up one level it wasn't there. I dragged my file out and it was fine - how it got in there I'll never know. The path was:

C:\Documents and Setting\myname\Local Settings\Temp

If you go up to myname\ you won't see Local Settings. if you type it in, it magically appears even in the tree view. In the parent I could find no way to "show hidden folders" but once it was visible, I could uncheck "hidden" in its properties. I really don't care for these hidden things, but I do understand that a user doesn't want to see ALL the stuff on there (hence ls -la). I just wonder how a file I downloaded ended up in a directory I couldn't see on Windows.

Van Zant sux anyway (-1, Troll)

BigChigger (551094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932018)

who buys that crap?

BC

Not in Europe? (3, Informative)

Alphix (33559) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932028)

It might be interesting to note that in this newspaper article [aftonbladet.se] (sorry, only in Swedish), the Swedish CEO of Sony states that the copy protection is not used for CD:s sold in Europe and that "no copy protection will be introduced before it works well both for consumers and copyright owners" (which can of course be interpreted in many ways).

Re:Not in Europe? (2, Informative)

axolotl_farmer (465996) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932212)

The situation with Copy-Control CD is much worse in Sweden (and in the rest of Europe) than in the USA. Most major label CDs by scandinavian artists, as well as many international releases are protected/crippled.

I only have a few old crippled CDs, and I don't buy any new ones, so I can't tell if the rootkit is on anyone of them.

However, the Swedish Sony exec is blatantly lying in the article when he claims that Sony won't release any copy-controlled CDs until the protection works well for both the customers and the record labels.

Contact information for Sony (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932045)

Does anyone have a good contact address (email or phone) for Sony to register their dislike of this approach. Active, informed consumers should let companies know their likes or dislikes about product features. Voting with your dollars is always an option as is sending an email or giving a call to management.

In a quick inspection of the Sony and Sony/BMG website I could not find any e-mail address for management. Any suggestions?

Hacked by Sony. (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932057)

Nice going Sony. Hacking users PC's for profit and gain. That sounds like a crime to me. Sony you deserve every criminal indictment and you law suit brought again you.

Deal with the devil... (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932061)

...I did the responsible thing *cough*. I e-mailed Microsoft and expressed my concern about how this mucking about with the kernel stood in the relation to the EULA, support (who the hell wants to support a kernel patched with unknown code supplied by a third party) and future patches and upgrades. This could cause it to fail to validate like a warez'd install, cause breakage because a patch half-overwrites the hack and any other number of wierd things. I also expressed my concern of how this would reflect on the security and userfriendlyness of Windows (read: Windows has enough issues without Sony messing around). I really hope Microsoft comes out and tell Sony what they think.

Sony is losing it (4, Interesting)

shanen (462549) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932073)

I still stand by my earlier comments on this topic [slashdot.org] , but at this point it's pretty clear it isn't just a /. rumor. I used to have a lot of respect for Sony, but it's been pretty well dissipated over the years. Their decision to dump PDAs greatly saddened and annoyed me, but I've also had too many problems with their hardware to buy any more... They just couldn't handle the pressure of needing to have ever higher profits and being squeezed between their one low-margin hardware-oriented parts of the company and the high-greed software-oriented parts. Now they've completely trashed their own reputation, and I do feel morally constrained to sell my stock, too.

I guess I'll send them a sharply worded letter first, but I really don't see any way that I can do any business with a company like this. Not even as a shareholder.

yes, but is it Mac compatible? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932082)

Apparently this rootkit does not run on Mac OSX. Yet another example of the vast library of software available only to Windows users. :-(

Look at Sony's FAQ,
http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/english/faq.html#listeni ng [sonybmg.com]

The protected CD looses all features and appears as a normal CD on a Macintosh. This really sucks!

Im switching to Windows!

Re:yes, but is it Mac compatible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932139)

So... how does it behave on *nix, then?...

Is this necessarily legal? (4, Interesting)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932137)

Even if you do agree to give Sony the rights to your first-born child in the EULA, wouldn't this violate laws in some states, such as the Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act in California?

This is called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932161)

I thought this is called a slashback?

The security industry (3, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932176)

Any news on how Symantec, Mcafee, and the other so called security firms are treating this? I'd certainly expect an up-to-date anti-virus software to stop this from installing.

Flash: GNU/Linux, BSD Immune To This Foolishness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932184)

What are *you* waiting for,
LOSER!
(caution: side effects of using proprietary software includes possible loss of freedom and data.)

Great new band name (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13932197)

Sony and the Rootkits...

A wild conspiracy theory: (2, Interesting)

merc (115854) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932201)

Could be that Sony and the major music labels are using this to create intentional fear, uncertainty and doubt. Who ever said the record labels want you to play music CD's on your computer, in fact wasn't there a genuine effort by the RIAA cartel to create CD's that wouldn't work at all on a PC? If they can't get the end user to cease this undesired activity they can always frighten the luser into submission.

Stick that music CD into my computer? No you don't, I'll become infected with malware.

Yes, perhaps it's as the subject suggests, a wild conspiracy theory. It's not as though this industry wanted to create laws to legalize hacking P2P users or anything.

Sony should immediately recall all XCP'd CDs (2, Informative)

yeremein (678037) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932203)

Any malware whose filename/registry keys start with $sys$ will be shielded from antivirus and antispyware software by XCP. This gaping security hole represents a great opportunity for script kiddies. Sony should do the responsible thing and immediately recall all rootkit-infested CDs.

How to beat this... (3, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932217)

As soon as you have agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions of the EULA, this CD will automatically install a small proprietary software program (the "SOFTWARE") onto YOUR COMPUTER. The SOFTWARE is intended to protect the audio files embodied on the CD, and it may also facilitate your use of the DIGITAL CONTENT. Once installed, the SOFTWARE will reside on YOUR COMPUTER until removed or deleted. However, the SOFTWARE will not be used at any time to collect any personal information from you, whether stored on YOUR COMPUTER or otherwise.

Emphasis is mine. Anyways, nothing is the EULA says that I can't just go and delete it. Sure, it may reinstall, but can't we delete it the minute we eject the CD? Can we write a script to do that?

Solution? (2, Insightful)

Wessler (204539) | more than 8 years ago | (#13932226)

Get a Mac? According to the FAQ [sonybmg.com] , the disc appears as a normal CD on a Mac. Anyone know if the content is the same, or are there extras that you get for enabling viruses on your PC?
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