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Sony DRM hacks your PC

Marc Perton
November 1, 2005
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You probably already know that Sony BMG has started selling at least some CDs that include built-in copy-protection, making it difficult to play the CDs on a computer using any media player other than the one bundled on the CD, and limiting the number of copies you can make. But it turns out that, behind the scenes, Sony may also be installing invisible services in the form of a hidden directory containing cloaked files, which run when you use that media player. Mark Russinovich of SysInternals did a detailed analysis of a "rootkit" (their word, not ours) he found on his PC, and discovered that, not only was it surreptitiously installed when he played a protected CD, but it also hogged system resources and integrated itself into Windows so deeply that uninstalling it disabled his CD drive. Mark's conclusion? Choice words such as "frustrating and irritating," "malware," and "the software is poorly written and provides no means for uninstall." Yowch. Sony, you want to respond? (Though, Mark, seriously: Van Zant?)

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