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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Followup on Sony DRM Rootkit
I'm really not sure how this can get much worse for Sony.  I've been following Mark Russinovich's blog regarding this topic.  If you haven't followed his posts, you can read the series here.
First post: Sony Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far
Second post: More on Sony: Dangerous Decloaking Patch, EULAs and Phoning Home
Third post: Sony’s Rootkit: First 4 Internet Responds
Fourth post: Sony: You don’t reeeeaaaally want to uninstall, do you?
more to come???
Let's just say that his discovery has made a lot of folks look at DRM in a whole new light, especially the method that Sony is using.
As a result of the information that Mark discovered, several Antivirus vendors have already classified the hidden rootkit software as varying degrees of spyware.  On top of that, Microsoft is now "concerned", but hasn't decided yet whether to detect/remove the rootkit software or not.  Sony is also facing a potential criminal investigation by Italian Police (that can't be good).  You can read more about that here.  There is also a lawsuit that has been filed in California.  Now, admittedly, there are lots of lawsuits filed every day, and I'd suspect a fair amount of them simply get thrown out, but if this does end up going to court, not only could it hurt Sony, but also the artists whose CD's are protected by this DRM  technique.  I'm not sure I would want to be a musician on a Sony label right now...
Finally, Sony was quite adamant that their "rootkit" could not be used for malicious means.  To rebut that, BitDefender (among others) has detected the first Trojan that is using the Sony DRM to hide itself.  So much for that.  Read more about that here and here.
Obviously, Sony has a lot invested in DRM, but this is going way too far.  I'll be following the developments in this and I am very interested to see how things turn out.

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