Sony DRM installing a rootkit

There quite a shockwave going through the blogosphere about rootkit like software that is installed when you try to run certain Sony CCCDs on your Windows machine. Sysinternals has the technical details, and good insights can be found in the Slashdot comments. I especially liked this one, as it hits the nail right on the head:

My refrain to the copyright holders: The people being hurt by this DRM software are people who have already communicated their intent to do the right thing by purchasing the CD. Sony has just guaranteed that a lot of people will never make that mistake again.

Note that Japanese consumers do not seem to be affected by this problem: last year, Sony stopped distributing CCCDs on the Japanese market.

Update: Sony has released an uninstaller for the rootkit discussed above – in order to get it, you have to go to the website of the company who created the rootkit and then run their ActiveX control on your system. Oh-oh… (via Slashdot)

Update 2: Ed Felten: “SonyBMG ‘Protection’ is Spyware”. Worth a read.

Update 3: The story continues. Gen reports that Microsoft has classified Sony’s rootkit as malware and will be removing it through its Malicious Software Removal Tool. Via Digg then comes the news that Sony’s rootkit may contain parts of the LGPLed LAME mp3 encoder. Expect another update soon.

Update 4: Sony’s uninstaller suffered from a big security hole and is offline again. As for Sony’s OSS infringements, Jon Johansen reports on his blog that some of the code Sony ripped off is the FairPlay code he wrote for VLC.

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