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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sony/BMG Rootkit Fiasco

The Sony/BMG rootkit fiasco continues, from a computer security standpoint I am pissed off.

If you haven't been following the story, two weeks ago one of the staff over at www.sysinternals.com were testing the latest build of their great Rootkit Revealer program. It discovered a rootkit hidden on their test Windows computer. Rootkitting technology patches the operating system to hide files, a rootkitted file will not appear in Windows, it is impossible for you to see it because the operating system can't even see it.

Sony/BMG used this technology to install and hide "Digital Rights Management" software. The rootkit files were made to look like a system application called "Plug and Play Devices Manager". This badly coded piece of software was supposed to protect Sony music CD's from being pirated. What it actually did was record your system configuration, make a log of which Sony/BMG music CD's you used, which tracks you listened to, record your IP address and ISP and then send this information to Sony. It gets worse, it even scans your entire hard drive, up to 8 times a day, sending this information to Sony as well. It was so badly coded it causes system hangs, crashes, slowdowns you name it, it messed it up.
The rootkit is installed when you put the CD in your computer, an end user license agreement appears asking you to install software so you can use the enhanced features of the CD, music videos etc. It says nothing about a rootkitted DRM program.

The Tech industry went nuts and so did many consumers and Sony/BMG has attempted to gloss over the subject. Here are some interesting facts:

The Sony/BMG rootkit is harmful, Microsoft have already added it to the definition files for the Microsoft Anti-Spyware program.

The rootkit replaces your CD driver, if you remove it your CD drive will disappear from your computer.

It is a so called form of Digital Rights Management software, under the DMCA removing it is called "circumventing copyright protection" which is illegal. So uninstalling this piece of crap software from YOUR computer is technically illegal!

Sony/BMG said it does not interface with their servers or send any information out to the Internet. This is a lie!

Sony/BMG said it was only present on 20 music CD's. It has been found on 49 and counting!

The Sony/BMG rootkit is designed specifically to not be uninstallable.

A Mac version of the software exists on a smaller number of CD's.

Sony/BMG said the CD's containing the rootkit are not locally made and are not intended for sale in the US. Another lie!

You have to request a tool to remove it from Sony. Would you trust that tool? HELL NO!

Two Trojan horse programs have emerged in the past week using code from the Sony/BMG rootkit. Virus writers are using it to their advantage to hide stuff on your computer!

Sony/BMG have stopped production of rootkit CD's in the US and have begun production in the UK.

The Sony/BMG President said , "Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" Because it's messing up OUR computers!

I think I speak for most consumers when I say "I do not want programs installed on my computer without my permission because IT IS MY COMPUTER NOT YOURS!!!!!!!"

If I find this program on my computer I will uninstall it and commit a crime under the DMCA because I have a RIGHT to uninstall software from MY OWN COMPUTER AND SONY/BMG CAN KISS MY ASS!

I will not buy a Sony/BMG music CD, I would rather buy music from iTunes because it is safer!

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