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BioShock Installs a Rootkit

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the drm-even-in-the-demo dept.

Security 529

An anonymous reader writes "Sony (the owner of SecureROM copy protection) is still up to its old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco, which cost them millions. However, they have now started infesting PC gaming with their invasive DRM. Facts have surfaced that show that the recently released PC game BioShock installs a rootkit, which embeds itself into Explorer, as part of its SecureROM copy-protection scheme. Not only that, but just installing the demo infects your system with the rootkit. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"

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Oh great (2)

yamamushi (903955) | about 7 years ago | (#20349755)

Here we go again. *sigh*

But why do they need to install spyware/rootkits? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349787)

I though to play BioShock you already had to have Windows Vista?

Re:But why do they need to install spyware/rootkit (2, Insightful)

deftcoder (1090261) | about 7 years ago | (#20349853)

No.

It would probably be an unwise business decision to automatically exclude over half of your potential customers at this juncture.

Re:But why do they need to install spyware/rootkit (1)

Spokehedz (599285) | about 7 years ago | (#20350051)

They did it with ShadowRun...

Re:Oh great (4, Informative)

click2005 (921437) | about 7 years ago | (#20349799)

From the author's comments...

I don't care if it is one or not. My point of this article is that the SecuROM service doesn't need to be included in the demo if we don't have to activate it.

Using "rootkit" brings the traffic. It's all about the SEO, and is why this article is on top in Google.

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349815)

d'you mean with the Sony thing, or with people commenting on improper use of "begging the question"?

Re:Oh great (1)

buddyjr7 (1147313) | about 7 years ago | (#20349979)

i won't buy sony anymore! their quality has gone down and they have been pulling this sh!t for a while. they used to be at the top.

Actually, these rootkits are good... (5, Insightful)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | about 7 years ago | (#20350043)

Good for certain uses anyway. I've participated in Iowa State University's Cyber Defense competitions as a red team hacker, and I've found they really help to take out the defending teams. Every team is required to run a regular Windows desktop that any user can access (the teams often play the part of universities or other facilities trying to secure a public lab), and it's fun to just walk up like a normal user, put in a "normal" music CD or game (courtesy of Sony), and then BOOM, rootkited. From there on, of course, things get easier... it's hard to remove malicious files when the OS won't let you know they are there :D.

Re:Oh great (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20350147)

I'm not sure of the specifics of how these rootkits work, but if every piece of software we buy starts installing a rootkit, What is the probably they will conflict with each other and make the system less stable, and/or break the system completely? What kind of support or compensation is available once this starts happening. I find it very disturbing that they will install rootkits, or use non-standard CDs that don't work in a lot of CD drives (which used to happen a lot), making a terrible experience for the end users, while the pirates just modify the machine code, so it doesn't do any checks, and use the software without paying.

Re:Oh great (4, Informative)

sanosuke76 (887630) | about 7 years ago | (#20350181)

Ok, reading the early comments on this article made me laugh my rear off with how quickly the anti-Sony-fanboys jump to conclusions.

You guys do realize that Bioshock is NOT a Sony game, right? It's been stated that it won't appear on the PS3 (some .ini files have made folks question this, however the publisher officially denies it... no telling what the reality is, but it's at the bare minimum a timed exclusive for the PC and X360).

If it's not a Sony game, and it's not even going to be AVAILABLE for the PS3, then who do you think decided to use a rootkit-ish (even if it's not a rootkit) technology? Hint: it wouldn't have been Sony.

If Sony came up with the technology, and then the other guys decided to license it and use it, does this mean Sony had much to do with it? Nope.

I am still laughing at how easily the anti-Sony-fanboy types disengage their brains when reading articles, on totally non-Sony, not-even-Sony-friendly titles. At the very most, if Sony's the one that the technology was licensed from, one could complain that Sony is still providing it. But the folks who decided to USE it, i.e. the Bioshock publishers, are the folks you ought to be mad at.

Yet another game (3, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 7 years ago | (#20349763)

I won't be buying. I was looking forward to this one, too.

Re:Yet another game (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349775)

Me either. And they wonder why people download games, its because they've been stripped of this invasive drm.

Re:Yet another game (5, Informative)

sodul (833177) | about 7 years ago | (#20349797)

So does that mean I'll have to get the cracked version from BittTorrent in order to NOT infect my machine ?

It is very sad that the underground world is nicer than the official one. It's Demolition Man [wikipedia.org] all over again.

Re:Yet another game (4, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | about 7 years ago | (#20349803)

I was about to buy it through Steam. I only waited because I had next to no disk space left on the partition that the Steam games are on, and Steam is too brain dead to let you use more than one partition. I was going to delete some other game and then download Steam, but now I think I'll wait. Especially since judging by Steam's web site, even the non-CD downloadable version comes with Securom (why??).

Re:Yet another game (5, Informative)

stg (43177) | about 7 years ago | (#20349931)

AFAIK, the Steam version really comes with Securom. I bought and pre-loaded it as a pre-release, and after the regular Steam decryption (and also regular re-downloading of content - EVERY single game I pre-loaded through Steam always had to download more stuff on release!), it needs to activate. The first time I tried it failed (for obvious reasons - the server should be overloaded as it was 2-3 hours after the release), but after that it worked fine.

BTW, the graphics are very impressive and the atmosphere too, but from the first few levels it seemed good but not all that revolutionary as I kept hearing it was...

As others mention and the FA clearly says, it's not a rootkit, just a regular service. This is a case where I wouldn't mind someone being sued for libel - they really deserve it.

Re:Yet another game (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 7 years ago | (#20349999)

The first time I tried it failed (for obvious reasons - the server should be overloaded as it was 2-3 hours after the release), but after that it worked fine.

Somewhat off-topic, but if this isn't a sign of the times I don't know what is. You shelled out $50-60 of hard-earned money to buy a game immediately after it's released and what's your reward? You sit and wait for hours while the moron publisher's servers get overloaded with "activation" requests. And here in this comment, instead of showing irritation or annoyance, you just accept this as normal (not saying you weren't pissed then of course :)

Funny, I remember when you would buy a game and could take it home and play it right away. Of course technology has progressed since then - now companies can alienate honest customers while adding a few hours to the time it takes to crack the copy protection. Steam is one of the worst things to happen to computer gaming in a long time.

If that's not progress, I don't know what is.

Re:Yet another game (2, Insightful)

moo083 (716213) | about 7 years ago | (#20350081)

I think your forgetting the time it took to get the game shipped to stores, find a store that has it, and then buy it, and drive home. Thats measured in days, not hours, like steam.

Re:Yet another game (5, Interesting)

stg (43177) | about 7 years ago | (#20350165)

I wouldn't be okay with it, except for the detail that 30 seconds after my first attempt on activation I ran it again and it went through fine.

I was really ready to get angry (I had pre-loaded days before and it had the gall to make me wait another 2 hours since download speeds were awful - but that isn't activation related, AFAIK), but it's hard to make much of an issue of a 30 seconds delay.

Also, I live in Brazil. Sometimes games would take months, sometimes years and on occasion, they would never be available here in a legal form. Buying from the USA is of course possible, but even then it would something like US$20+80% customs taxes. And sometimes it would be translated (poorly) - argh! Prices are about the same as the US, sometimes a bit higher, sometimes a bit lower.

So I consider being able to download major releases (instead of just indie games) and play at the same time as anyone else major progress.

Steam could improve their download client a lot, though. I get 460K/s routinely on Getright with multiple connections, but sub-100K/s is the norm on Steam.

Re:Yet another game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349819)

Me too...Good job guys, you just lost a customer that was actaully going to by based on one of your tv commercials.

Re:Yet another game (1)

deftcoder (1090261) | about 7 years ago | (#20349879)

I was walking through the family room at a friend's house yesterday when I saw something crazy on TV. I actually stopped in my tracks and watched for a few seconds before realizing it was a commercial.

It was the commercial for BioShock. I was actually drawn in by it... that hasn't happened in a long time.

I was actually considering buying this game through Steam after looking at the Wikipedia article earlier today. I'm not rootkitting my Windows machine to play a game though.

Re:Yet another game (1)

kjart (941720) | about 7 years ago | (#20349887)

It's a ridiculously good game (I have the Xbox version), so this kind of news saddens me. I hate seeing masterpiece level games brought down by details like this (albeit pretty major, horrible details).

In any case, if you have a Xbox 360 or have thought about getting one, this game is well worth it (imho, though there are plenty of supporting reviews out there).

Re:Yet another game... same here (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 7 years ago | (#20350049)

You said it... I was actually looking forward, but not if they do this kind of sh....crap.

Demos and protection (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 7 years ago | (#20349765)

Demos require protection since the day that someone found out that if they hacked the demo and compared it to the original, they could simply replace some parts of the original from the same parts of the demo and have a free-for-all.

(That doesn't mean that I endorse Sony's approach here -- far from it)

HTH, HAND

Re:Demos and protection (1)

dunezone (899268) | about 7 years ago | (#20349837)

That trick doesn't really work on the big titles anymore. Usually they release a different build of the game as the demo with most of the game stripped. I mean with the Battle Field 2 demo you could unlock the extra weapons but you couldn't unlock extra maps because they simply didn't put the other maps in the demo.

Re:Demos and protection (1)

shird (566377) | about 7 years ago | (#20350095)

No they didn't put the other maps in the demo, but they did put them in the full release. So combining the demo and the full release gives you a full release without the copy protection. As the OP mentioned. So they just take the .exe from the demo, and the resources from the full release to create a quick cracked release.

Its rarely this simple, but sometimes they would at least have similar start up code - but one with copy protection, one without. It gives the crackers something to work with to put together an unprotected executable.

This is why fucking capitialism needs to be (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349773)

fucking destroyed. Communisim is the only way to utopia.

Businesses are only around to fuck the little guy/gal, and Sony-Fucking-Bony is proving it right now just as Pretendo and Micro$hit. They will destroy you any means possible, including rootkits. COMMUNISM FTW, FUCK CAPITALISM!

Re:This is why fucking capitialism needs to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349823)

Cue the "in soviet russia" jokes...

Re:This is why fucking capitialism needs to be (3, Funny)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | about 7 years ago | (#20349881)

In Soviet Russia, Capitalism destroys YOU!

Erm. Wait...

Re:This is why fucking capitialism needs to be (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350159)

In Soviet Russia ... Sony boycotts you!

Re:This is why fucking capitialism needs to be (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#20349977)

Yea because the communists are known for their vibrant game publishing industry.

Vote with your dollar and don't buy this shit!

Re:This is why fucking capitialism needs to be (4, Insightful)

fred fleenblat (463628) | about 7 years ago | (#20350031)

One word: TETRIS!

It does not (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349777)

The author even admits that he's just trying to get search engine traffic in the comments. It uses SecureROM, which regardless of your feelings on it, is mis-detected by Microsoft's Rootkit detection program. He even says in the main article it's not malware.

Begs the question. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349779)

Hey look everyone! Another kdawson posting written by "an anonymous reader" that incorrectly uses the phrase "Begs the question". Whats that make, a dozen in the last month?

Since when did demos need copy protection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349783)

Answer: Since demoss can be cracked... IE, a very long time.

Would be nice (1)

WillRobinson (159226) | about 7 years ago | (#20349789)

Not that I would play this game, but it would be nice to have some links to detectors and removal of this type program.

Re:Would be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349941)

um... yeah i already installed it. How do I get rid of it?

Not QUITE a rootkit (5, Informative)

Robotech_Master (14247) | about 7 years ago | (#20349791)

If you RTFA, or specifically its comments, you find that it's not technically a rootkit that it installs, it's just a registry directory that contains a * and so a rootkit detector tags it. It's just a very hard to remove registry directory, and not necessarily an actual rootkit qua rootkit.

Re:Not QUITE a rootkit (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349841)

This is pure FUD. The twat who wrote it even admits it in the comments:

Using "rootkit" brings the traffic. It's all about the SEO, and is why this article is on top in Google.

Re:Not QUITE a rootkit (1)

KillzoneNET (958068) | about 7 years ago | (#20349907)

Yea, I call shenanigans on this article. He goes on to even say that all he did was report what was being said in forums. Basically he ran a story for generating himself money.

I am the one who wrote "This is due to the * character at the end," so I am clearly aware of why RR thinks it is a rootkit. I don't care if it is one or not. My point of this article is that the SecuROM service doesn't need to be included in the demo if we don't have to activate it.

Using "rootkit" brings the traffic. It's all about the SEO, and is why this article is on top in Google.

I am simply stating what is being said across the internet in several forums. Run the RootkitRevealer program, and the SecuROM service shows up. It's about letting people know what is being installed with the demo, unsuspectingly.

Rootkit Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit [wikipedia.org]

I will let the readers decide for themselves if this is a true rootkit. If 2K clarifies the situations I will publish that as well.
And here it is on Slashdot. An article that doesn't really report a concrete truth.

Re:Not QUITE a rootkit (1)

stinerman (812158) | about 7 years ago | (#20349925)

Indeed. To boot the story was submitted anonymously.

If I was a betting man, I'd bet even money that the blogger himself submitted the story to make a few bucks.

Re:Not QUITE a rootkit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350079)

He knowingly stated false, malicious things about a business? He's going to be on the wrong end of a libel lawsuit pretty quickly.

Re:Not QUITE a rootkit (2, Interesting)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 7 years ago | (#20350111)

Articles like this should have their link removed from the Slashdot summary to punish the author.

Re:Not QUITE a rootkit (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 7 years ago | (#20349861)

If you RTFA, or specifically its comments, you find that it's not technically a rootkit that it installs, it's just a registry directory that contains a * and so a rootkit detector tags it. It's just a very hard to remove registry directory, and not necessarily an actual rootkit qua rootkit.


if (compare(&securom,&duck,LOCOMOTION)
|| compare(&securom,&duck,DIALOGUE)) then { ...
}

Re:Not QUITE a rootkit (2, Insightful)

Robotech_Master (14247) | about 7 years ago | (#20349873)

Thing is, that if statement is false. As one of the other commenters put it more eloquently than I, the fellow's just claiming it's a "rootkit" to bring in traffic. There's no evidence it demonstrates any rootkitlike behavior, other than being detected by a detector that also detects rootkits.

raising vs begging the question (0, Offtopic)

big_paul76 (1123489) | about 7 years ago | (#20349805)

"This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"

I think you mean, "poses the question", or "raises the question".

I think you confused "raising the question" with the well-known logical fallacy, "begging the question"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question [wikipedia.org]

*Sighs*

Re:raising vs begging the question (2, Informative)

darkhitman (939662) | about 7 years ago | (#20349831)

Pretty sure its a common slang phrase -- the situation is just 'begging' for a question to be asked - in this case "Since when did demos need copy protection?".

Re:raising vs begging the question (0, Flamebait)

Skreems (598317) | about 7 years ago | (#20350139)

It's a common slang phrase among people who don't know what they're talking about. Someone heard it used in the correct sense, appropriated it for incorrect usage, and it's been downhill ever since.

Re:raising vs begging the question (1)

Grim Beefer (946632) | about 7 years ago | (#20350151)

Who cares? I'm glad that you can prove to everyone that you were privileged enough to get a nice education, but I think everyone knew what meaning was intended. I find petty nitpickers like yourself to be far more obnoxious than the occasional grammatical error. Hell, if everyone communicated in perfect proper English, we'd have a pretty boring English speaking world.

Re:raising vs begging the question (1)

deftcoder (1090261) | about 7 years ago | (#20349903)

This mistake will probably stop occurring around the same time that people realize "it's" isn't a possessive.

Re:raising vs begging the question (1)

thrash242 (697169) | about 7 years ago | (#20349937)

Thank you. That bugged me to and I was considering writing a reply stating why it was wrong.

I get tired of people using phrases they don't understand. "Slippery slope" is another misused phrase that actually refers to a logical fallacy. People regularly commit a "slippery slope" fallacy by using the phrase "slippery slope" the way they use it.

While we're on the subject of grammar... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350023)

to --> too

Re:raising vs begging the question (2, Insightful)

DeeKayWon (155842) | about 7 years ago | (#20350047)

I get tired of people using phrases they don't understand.

Considering that the meaning of "begs the question" that you say is wrong may very well be the more common understanding, I'd say they understand it perfectly well. Common understanding of words and phrases are what define a language.

Honestly, I think people keep using the phrase "begs the question" in their summaries for the express purpose of annoying people like you.

Re:raising vs begging the question (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350137)

That begs the question, when will language nazis learn that their little standards and rulebooks are fairly meaningless when it comes to the evolution of language?

We, the people, control the future of our language; not a bunch of nerds who thought English was an easy degree to take in college. I caution Slashdotters not to go down that slippery slope of rote book fascism.

Its a damned shame, than, that these people get their panties in such a not over phrases that everyone understands.

Re:raising vs begging the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350109)

Thank you. That bugged me to and I was considering writing a reply stating why it was wrong.
What really bugs me is people who can't spell 'too'.

Re:raising vs begging the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349981)

Sigh yourself. The english word "beg" has meant EXACTLY what the sentence says it meant long before some dweeb decided to dust off some ancient latin book and translate it.

And no, your logical fallacy is not "well known". Nor does it have anything to do with begging, much less with questions, since the fallacy is due to assuming your conclusion is true and arguing that since your conclusion is an assumption, it is therefore true. So I say to you that it is your translation that is incorrect and in need of change, rather than the literal use of the English language.

Re:raising vs begging the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350019)

Oooh, don't you get clever points! Extra bonus for saying the same thing three times, as though I haven't been reading this same post over and over again since 2004! And that sigh at the end! Genius! You must have a fucking Master's Degree!

True Story... (-1, Flamebait)

ZiakII (829432) | about 7 years ago | (#20349811)

I downloaded the demo, and thought wow what an awesome game, I need to get this game. I was at work the next day surfing slashdot/digg. When I saw about this, I was not pleased to learn the fact that not only does the game install a root kit but the steam version does as well, even with steam's copyright system. I was furthered outraged when I learned that the demo does the same f***ing thing. You know what I am thinking now 2kgames is that maybe I'll just skip the game now. The fact that companies fell the urge to force DRM down our throat makes me close to just downloading it illegally, after all its the same product just without the root kit.

Re:True Story... (1)

abigor (540274) | about 7 years ago | (#20349911)

Then you can relax, because it doesn't install a rootkit - the story is false.

Re:True Story... (1, Informative)

ZiakII (829432) | about 7 years ago | (#20350039)

Then you can relax, because it doesn't install a rootkit - the story is false.

Thats not my only reason your forgetting the limit on installs, every time you install the game it sends a message to a server after 2 of these notices the game doesn't run unless you uninstall it a computer you had it installed in (This is also in the Steam version). Now that doesn't seem bad at all except, lets say your hard drive crashes, laptop gets stolen or you just say eh screw it I'm reformatting my computer. Now that is one install (out of 2) completely gone. People are already posting responses from both of the companies handling it. 2k tells you to contact Securom, and Securom tells you to contact 2k. The fact that if I get another computer or my hard drive crashes I have to put up this is ridiculous. Now what happens if 2k games goes under and the server is no longer there to activate it, they haven't made a comment yet about that either.

It's not a rootkit... (5, Informative)

g051051 (71145) | about 7 years ago | (#20349813)

The article author seemed to base his conclusion on the fact that the SecureROM software installs a registry key that can't be deleted by normal means. This pops up on the Microsoft Rootkit Revealer (since that's a technique used by rootkits as well.) That's like saying that because rootkits use Windows APIs, any program that uses a Windows API is a rootkit.

As for why it's in the demo, modern copy protection is embedded throughout games. It's too difficult to remove the protection just for a demo that contains so much of the full game engine.

ugh... (1, Funny)

PJ1216 (1063738) | about 7 years ago | (#20349817)

This sucks. Sony BMG was a different branch of Sony so I was able to look upon other branches and hope maybe they knew better, however, that appears to not be the case. Don't they realize Sony BMG got sued because of this? I'm guessing some guys told them they fixed the holes with the other rootkit and that this one was ok and Sony went for it. I'm of the opinion that the people making these decisions don't understand the technology because I can't see someone who understands what's going on allowing this to happen.

Shame on /. for linking to this (5, Insightful)

BertieBaggio (944287) | about 7 years ago | (#20349825)

Okay, I was getting myself good and riled up over this piece of news. I was even ready to return the game first thing tomorrow despite it being a lot of fun. Then I did the unthinkable - I RTFA.

Seems this is a big load of nothing. SecureROM installs a service to let those running without admin privileges run the SecureROM stuff. This is kinda bitterweet - yes, SecureROM is bad etc but running as a restricted user is good. This is assuming you trust SecureROM's website which says (from TFA):

SecuROM(TM) will install a Windows(TM) service module called "User Access Service" (UAService) on your system. This is a standard interface commonly used by several other applications as well. It is no spyware or rootkit at all. This module has been developed to enable users without Windows(TM) administrator rights the ability to access all SecuROM(TM) features. Please be assured that this service is installed only for security and convenience purposes. Since it is a standard Windows(TM) service, you can stop and delete this service, like any other Windows(TM) service. If deleted, the access for non-administrator users to SecuROM(TM) protected applications will be affected.
As opposed to TFA which makes it sound something sinister. However, I don't trust GamingBOB due to his own admission:

Using "rootkit" brings the traffic. It's all about the SEO, and is why this article is on top in Google.
I would add my own emphasis, but I don't think it needs it. Someone finds out a service is installed along with a game and demo and calls it a rootkit to gain traffic / links / ad revenue. Slashdot should not link to crap like this. It would be newsworthy if it were true: I think many people here - myself included - would return the game if it had a true rootkit installed along with it. But this...?

I don't see the issue here.

Re:Shame on /. for linking to this (1, Flamebait)

Endymion (12816) | about 7 years ago | (#20349885)

SecureROM installs a service to let those running without admin privileges run the SecureROM stuff.

So it's installing a privilege-escalation bug for you? That would nicely remove the benefits of running as a non-root user, but I suppose this is typical for windows junk...

Re:Shame on /. for linking to this (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 7 years ago | (#20349891)

It's even more ridiculous that the article submitter blames Sony, when they should be blaming the distributer of Bioshock for including the copy protection in the first place.

Oh, but I forgot, anything bashing Sony automatically gets approved for display here, so...

Re:Shame on /. for linking to this (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 7 years ago | (#20349919)

This is a standard interface commonly used by several other applications as well. It is no spyware or rootkit at all. This module has been developed to enable users without Windows(TM) administrator rights the ability to access all SecuROM(TM) features.


I don't care if it's a rootkit or not, this quote is absolutely obnoxious. I have a return quote.

"this (car boot) is a standard interface commonly used by several other parking proprietors as well, there is no impediment to the vehicle at all. This module has been developed to enable users without access to their brake pedal the ability to access all parking features."

Re:Shame on /. for linking to this (1)

WarlockD (623872) | about 7 years ago | (#20349943)

My biggest problem is the draconian copy protection though. First it downloads and updates SecureRom. Then it Authenticates with an internet server. So this means you can't even PLAY the damn thing without internet access. Then I heard a roomer that you could only register the software twice, THEN have to call this number to get a new key.

Sadly, I agree with these draconian systems. So far the game hasn't been cracked (or atleast a crack posted on the torrent sites) in the all important week of release. Lets face it, this is a single player game and it would suffer the same fate as Dreamfall (lackluster sales; rampent piracy) when it was released.

Re:Shame on /. for linking to this (1)

BertieBaggio (944287) | about 7 years ago | (#20350063)

I quite agree, but it would be a shame to undermine your comment with potentially incorrect information,

Then I heard a roomer that you could only register the software twice, THEN have to call this number to get a new key.
Isn't correct as far as I know. As much as I abhor quoting TFA:

Consumers are now allowed to activate their copy of BioShock a total of five times via the SecuROM network.
(my emphasis)

So it would seem you get five shots at it, although your source is actually probably just as trustworthy as GamerBOB. I really dislike that a single player game has to be activated online (and yet it still checks for the DVD, hmph!), but then I'm part of the problem - I think the goodness of the game outweighs the DRM. Not by much though.

Re:Shame on /. for linking to this (1)

turnipsatemybaby (648996) | about 7 years ago | (#20350191)

Actually it DID used to be 2. But Y2K games got such an onslaught of angry calls that they upped it to 5.

I still say the whole thing stinks. What happens if/when they go out of business? Ha ha to you! You can't play the game no more!

That is NOT acceptable.

Re:Shame on /. for linking to this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350091)

Then I heard a roomer

Oh the pain, the pain of it all!

Re:Shame on /. for linking to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350003)

Mmm. Pretty standard for copy protections these days. I smell privilege escalation exploits, though. I suppose we should hold the backlash until after we get reports of instability and exploitability. It's not that far-fetched either. Copy protections use many rootkit techniques to be undebuggable and uncircumventable, and all it would take to make it a real rootkit would be a security bug, in a program intentially written to obscure its inner workings.

What?!? (0, Redundant)

akkarin (1117245) | about 7 years ago | (#20349829)

What sort of logic is this?
'Oh, it failed last time, costed us millions, AND hurt our reputation. Let's do it again!!!"
Oh, how history repeats itself.

Not a real rootkit (2, Informative)

jfroot (455025) | about 7 years ago | (#20349835)

The author himself has said that he is only calling it a rootkit for SEO reasons.

From the comments:

"Using "rootkit" brings the traffic. It's all about the SEO, and is why this article is on top in Google."

Although I believe this is nastyware.. It surely does not meet the definition or rootkit [wikipedia.org] .

Awesome game (1)

kjart (941720) | about 7 years ago | (#20349847)

This is still an awesome game and definitely worth the purchase. This news only makes me glad that I got it for the Xbox 360 rather than PC. If you have a Xbox 360 and don't have this game yet - shame on you.

Re:Awesome game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350145)

Take to the room where they dissect Marketing Toads....Let me show you your own spleen...

A Rootkit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349851)

No rootkit there. Move along. Don't bother reading the article. The author only wants some traffic.

Ooo, that Mr Sony. He so crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349855)

yes

SEO bait (4, Insightful)

agendi (684385) | about 7 years ago | (#20349863)

Whether it is a rootkit or not, I'll let others more knowledgeable than me decide that but the comments in the article basically has the author admit that he ties the word rootkit and the game together to get better SEO. Not only is the article light on actual technical detail it declares fire where there may be a hint of smoke for the purpose of driving traffic. I know I must be new here..

Tagging Suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20349893)

Not a rootkit. Story should be tagged badjournalism.

Inaccurate. (2, Insightful)

Ahnteis (746045) | about 7 years ago | (#20349899)

Although this "protection" scheme is horrible, crappy, the spawn of Satan himself, etc -- I don't believe it qualifies as a rootkit since it is not hidden. It IS resistant to removal, which warrants complaint, but accuracy is important in making such a complaint / discussion.

I *really* wish we could force (through consumer pressure rather than legislation if possible) publishers to acknowledge copy protection on the OUTSIDE of boxes (or other appropriate pre-purchase manner).

It's hard to boycott something that you don't hear about until AFTER purchase. (Especially since it's very difficult to return an opened game.)

I type too slowly?! (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | about 7 years ago | (#20349915)

Wow, apparently I type far too slowly. While I was typing, not only have several other people posted the same thing... there's even a post modded +5 already! O_o

I guess I lose at teh interwebs.

Not a rootkit (5, Informative)

Torodung (31985) | about 7 years ago | (#20349927)

The reason for the !CAUTION! key is to keep an ignorant user from wiping out his key tokens in the SecuROM subkey. That's why there's an "!" at the beginning; it sorts first in the subkey. So if a user stupidly tries to delete the entire SecuROM key (not realizing that it's his DRM) while his game is installed, or even after he's uninstalled, the first attempted deleted subkey will be the !CAUTION! key and Windows will abort.

Thus it is a poor way to keep stupid users from trashing their DRM, not a rootkit.

The reason it shows up in "Rootkit Revealer" is because true rootkits use the embedded null tactic to keep users from deleting keys registering malware dll's, startup settings, etc. That way, the user has no way to deregister the malware or stop its launch.

However, the Rootkit Revealer does not simply point out rootkits. It's not that simple. RR points out suspicious methods and/or hidden files, and requires the user to analyze whether those methods and files indicate an actual piece of malware.

Clearly, a key that simply warns you not to delete other keys is not malware.

It is annoying, however, and the only way to get rid of a key with embedded nulls is with DelRegNull. I didn't like that one bit.

My key was added with the install of Neverwinter Nights 2, however, which also uses SecuROM. This key has been around for a while, folks. Someone is crying "rootkit," when really all it is is a sloppy hack to keep users from eliminating their SecuROM keys.

What's really annoying about this method is that the malformed key is not removed when you uninstall the software that requires it. SecuROM also drops a few malformed files in the directory %userprofile%\Application Data\SecuROM\UserData. They won't delete either, because they are key files which the folks at Sony have deemed MUST NEVER be deleted. Great. The only way I could manage to clean out those was by mounting the partition with NTFS-3g and issuing an rm *.*. Otherwise, another hack keeps Windows from moving the key files, probably because if you could copy them, you could run a game on any machine with the keys.

This is definitely more arrogance, and completely annoying, but certainly not a rootkit. I would love to hear what the suits at Sony have to say about their crapware. I expect nothing less than a true SecuROM removal kit, since it doesn't get removed on uninstall.

--
Toro

UAService7 not on my system thank god (3, Informative)

Saint Stephen (19450) | about 7 years ago | (#20349955)

I have a laptop with a 7900gs, the thing burns disks. Thank god securerom doesn't think my machine is evil enough to install the DRM service. I don't mind having the unremovable keys and files on my PC as long as i'm playing the game.

By the way, there's an easier way to delete the files under appdata.

Type "at /next 9:02pm c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe /interactive" after looking at the clock and seeing it's 9:01am. Wait until 9:02 and you'll get a dos prompt running as the machine account. Go delete your files.

Re:UAService7 not on my system thank god (1)

deftcoder (1090261) | about 7 years ago | (#20350015)

What sort of performance do you get on the 7900gs? My laptop is a 2ghz Core 2 Duo, 2gb ddr2, 256mb 7900gs, and I'm interested to see how well this game will run.

Re:UAService7 not on my system thank god (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | about 7 years ago | (#20350021)

Downloading it now. Let you know in a few hours.

Re:UAService7 not on my system thank god (2, Informative)

Torodung (31985) | about 7 years ago | (#20350195)

Type "at /next 9:02pm c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe /interactive" after looking at the clock and seeing it's 9:01am. Wait until 9:02 and you'll get a dos prompt running as the machine account. Go delete your files.
Cool, but the correct syntax is:

at 9:02pm /interactive %systemroot%\system32\cmd.exe
If running as SYSTEM will delete these files, it is a lot easier than mounting with NTFS-3g. I couldn't test this method because the files are already gone. Thanks for the tip!

--
Toro

Semantics seem a tad irrelevant here (1)

urikkiru (801560) | about 7 years ago | (#20349961)

So, even if this *isn't* an actual root kit, it does install some software that is a little more 'gung ho' about the whole DRM thing, which I'm definitely not thrilled to hear about. Add this in with the widescreen FOV issues from before(or more specifically how the company handled those inquiries, re: badly) and we have a game I've totally lost interest in. I'm very, very glad I didn't buy it, and do not plan to. It could be the most awesome game on the planet, but I have other cool games. In the end, I'm tired of being treated in this fashion by game companies. I refuse to support them in these actions.

at least it does not F*** up your cd / dvd rom.... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 7 years ago | (#20349987)

at least it does not F*** up your cd / dvd rom.... STARFORCE did

So this is what windows gaming has turned into (0, Redundant)

Jastiv (958017) | about 7 years ago | (#20349989)

So this is what windows gaming has turned into. Is some content important enough to install rootkits for and pay for DRM that could just be deleted at anytime? Do yourself a favor people, learn to program and write your own games.

PC gaming (4, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | about 7 years ago | (#20349997)

This is why, after being a PC gamer for 20 years, I recently bought a console.

I got sick and tired of copy protection fucking up my machine, or refusing to run a valid copy because it didn't like my disk. (Medieval Total War and Diablo II being two games in particular that simply would not run on my hardware without a CD crack.)

Having to upgrade hardware every couple years was annoying, but it's all this crap heaped on me, who is trying to pay real money for games that pushed it over the edge. I'm sure I'm not alone. And yes, I know that Console games are protected too...but for console games, it's transparent to the user.

Note that I also paid for "Galactic Civilizations II", which was not protected, and the expansion will be the only PC game I purchase this year.

SecuROM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350037)

One thing to mention, although the article does call SecuROM a rootkit, when it technically isnt, there are other issues with SecuROM that can potentially cause exploits...

First, SecuROM service runs with admin privs...if its ever exploited...say buh-bye

Second, Windows has specific code to disable NX hardware (No Execute) for SecuROM. So if/when exploits are found for SecuROM, you can bet this will be taken advantage of.

Vote "NO" to SecuROM....

Mod Slashdot -1 Troll (2, Insightful)

Azure Khan (201396) | about 7 years ago | (#20350055)

Posting articles like this, which barely qualify as news and are INTENTIONALLY sensationalized, only serve to damage Slashdot's thin journalistic credibility. The author even admits that he injected the "rootkit" description in order to drive site/SEO traffic. I understand that it's a slow news day, but this is pure FUD. There's too much out there to post crap like this without doing legwork. The editor should have at least clarified the article in the summary so that we were aware of the content.

I will wait for Dopeman to crack it (1, Troll)

sbate (916441) | about 7 years ago | (#20350077)

Then I will buy it for the cool box. Dopeman takes all the crap out of games for you and leaves pure delight behind.

Gotta love mandatory activation (0, Flamebait)

bogie (31020) | about 7 years ago | (#20350083)

Especially for people who bought the game and then couldn't activate it. I can't wait until a year from now when 2k is out of business and users can no longer play the game they purchased.

Must everything digital now come with an expiration date?

Punish your users and they'll go away, or more likely warez it. This is going to be one of those games where most people run the cracked version to simply not have to deal with 2k game's bullshit DRM. Gotta love being stuck between the Securerom people and the Bioshock people both blaming each other while the users are stuck in the middle sans $50. Fu 2kgames.

SLASHDOT - A LAUGHING STOCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20350085)

This place is getting worse by the day.

pendantic linguistics (0, Offtopic)

FreeBSD evangelist (873412) | about 7 years ago | (#20350119)

This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"

I believe you meant "raises the question".

http://begthequestion.info/ [begthequestion.info]

Re:pendantic linguistics (0, Flamebait)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 7 years ago | (#20350205)

No one is impressed by your pedantry. It's a living language, get used to it.

(Not even going to post AC, I've got the karma to burn.)

I know it really isn't a rootkit, but... (1)

skogs (628589) | about 7 years ago | (#20350149)

I know it really isn't a rootkit, but seriously, why is a GAME putting information into the registry anyway? I know that all games pretty much do put things into the registry...but the actual reason for it is moronic.

The registry serves as a storage space for operating system values that can be loaded quickly and easily. It is not a space to pile in any old crap that might be useful to your game or other piece of software. For that you have - tada - config files.

Your config files can be plain ascii, they can be hex, they can be binary. I don't really care. Just keep your crap out of the registry so that windows doesn't need to load a 70Meg registry file at boot.

Secondly...did nobody in their companies try to install it and notice this? Really, something that shows up under any scan with your name on it can scare the less informed. Just not a good first impression I'd say.

Why is it possible to install into Explorer? (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 7 years ago | (#20350157)

I assume you mean the windows explorer, not the IE kind.... IE is IE, not E.

Any way, why in gods earth does MS make it so easy for apps to install 'plugin' type objects , active x or dlls or whatever extensions into Explorer so easily. And
why do they make it so hard to identify them and remove them!!

Too much intergration is just asking for trouble, give the user more power.

begging the question (0, Offtopic)

harlemjoe (304815) | about 7 years ago | (#20350185)

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_que stion">
In logic, <b>begging the question</b> describes a type of logical fallacy, petitio principii, in which the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises.[1] Stephen Barker explains the fallacy in The Elements of Logic: "If the premises are related to the conclusion in such an intimate way that the speaker and listeners could not have less reason to doubt the premise than they have to doubt the conclusion, then the argument is worthless as a proof, even though the link between premises and conclusion may have the most cast-iron rigor".[1] In other words, the argument fails to prove anything because it takes for granted what it is supposed to prove.

Begging the question is related to the fallacy known as circular argument, circulus in probando, vicious circle or circular reasoning. As a concept in logic the first known definition in the West is by the Greek philosopher Aristotle around 350 B.C., in the Prior Analytics.

<b>In non-standard usage, the phrase is commonly used to mean "suggests the question" or "raises the question".</b>
</a>

That said, the question is emphatically a valid one. This is just a plea to /.ers to cut their use of this two-faced phrase.

Re:begging the question (1)

harlemjoe (304815) | about 7 years ago | (#20350203)

while i'm dispensing free advice ...
always use the preview button b4 submitting a comment
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