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On the Sony DRM rootkit issue and OS X security implications

David Chartier

I'm certainly not a guru of the inner workings of OS X, nor am I a six-figure security analyst, but I'm starting to wonder if this whole Sony DRM rootkit situation has become the elephant in a room filled with enthusiastic OS X users and security evangelists alike. Don't get me wrong: just because Sony slipped one past us doesn't mean I'm renouncing my OS, but think about it: Sony - a company that isn't exactly known for being that OS X friendly or aware (yes, many of their products either work with OS X or can be made to), was able to sneak OS X kernel extensions into the wild, and one report I've seen said some of these rootkit-ridden discs are up to a year old.

That's big, and the ramifications could be too. What does this mean for OS X security? Do we need some rootkit-revealer-like apps? Could this turn into a significant mar on OS X's reputation for a virus and malware-free experience? I hate to bring up these questions, but they beg to be explored. Conversely, I don't see a whole lot of chatter on the net about any of this, so maybe it means the OS X community just isn't that worried. I personally didn't switch to OS X based solely on the selling point of security - I did it more for the superior functionality, thought-out design and those killer stickers you get in the box.

Honestly, I hope this whole situation gets written in the books as a speed bump in OS X's adolescence. If there is something more serious to be discussed, I'm sure experts and analysts far more knowledgeable than I will either get right to it or are already knee-deep in the debate. I guess only time will tell. There is one thing I'm sure of though: the iTMS doesn't have to worry about losing sales from me anytime soon. My physical CD collection disappeared a long time ago and I have no plans to the contrary.


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