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NEWS: Sony Music CDs Install Hidden Anti-piracy Malware

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posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 06:34 PM
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Shown in a washington Post blog is a new anti-piracy tool Sony has introduced to the retail CD market. According to the articles, from the washington post site, and others, Sony's new CD software prevents users from burning audio files to CD through hidden methods.
 



blogs.washingtonpost.com
New research from Mark Russinovich over at Sysinternals (the company I've blogged about before as the source a ton of excellent and free software utilities) indicates that Sony BMG has configured some of its music CDs to install antipiracy software that uses techniques typically employed by hackers and virus writers to hide the program from users and to prevent them from ever uninstalling it


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Sony may have the right idea for anti-piracy but probably the wrong methodology. Putting unwanted software on users' computers without properly describing what is being installed, does't sound very legitimate. What if they do more than just keep you from burning the files? Since they aren't mentioning what the software does exactly, it could do more than just anti-piracy, since the software being installed is known as a hacker tool.

From what I've read, Sony Music CDs are installing a toolkit called a rootkit that hides itself from users and makes sure they do not Burn their music onto CD. If the toolkit is uninstalled it may render the CD-ROM drive useless, or perhaps even the whole computer.

A "rootkit" is known in the hacking world as being capable of taking control of a users computer without the user ever knowing, or being able to detect with anti-virus/anti-spyware.

More information on a rootkit can be found at : en.wikipedia.org...

If this is what sony is doing to Retail CDs, I don't see why downloaders are going to switch over anytime soon.

The F-Secure Link even has a picture of the dialog box that appears, it doesn't even mention an installation in the "Please Read" part.

www.f-secure.com...

Related News Links:
www.sysinternals.com
www.f-secure.com

[edit on 11/1/2005 by Kalapadea]

[edit on 11/1/2005 by Kalapadea]




posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:49 PM
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Brought to you by the friendly people who brought you Pearl Harbor. This is not what I expect when I buy a CD (and I buy a lot of them). Hopefully, a fix will be published on the Internet shortly.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 10:35 PM
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Or better yet, Sony gets hauled infront of a judge to explain why they are installing illegal software on their customers computer without warning them. I'm inclined to go buy a Sony cd with this on just so I can sue them.

[edit on 1/11/05 by subz]



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 10:44 PM
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Yeah its a real shame when they want to protect a product from being illegally copied.

What do you have to worry about if you are not illegally making copies?

Huh?



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:07 PM
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Originally posted by Dulcimer
Yeah its a real shame when they want to protect a product from being illegally copied.

What do you have to worry about if you are not illegally making copies?

Huh?


I think you're missing the point. Sony is installing something without the user's knowledge. Which is illegal. Which has the ability to render your CD drive useless.
I dunno about you but I don't like the idea of my cd drive (or any other part of my comp) being under the control of an illegally, uncontrollable program.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:11 PM
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easiest way around cd protection is not to buy the cd, just download the rip for free.
cd protection schemes encourage piracy.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:18 PM
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Originally posted by Dulcimer
Yeah its a real shame when they want to protect a product from being illegally copied.

What do you have to worry about if you are not illegally making copies?

Huh?

Too bad programs like this prevent burning of CD's, period. Also it is not against the law to copy (rip) CD's from a CD you lawfully purchased. What are iPod's for if you cannot do this? Then to stop you from burning them on a CD? Well unless they can embed something in the mp3 file they cannot stop you from burning them unless they cripple your CD burner. Either way it is illegal.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 11:37 PM
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It's all a load of crap, they are forcing Mp3s onto the public so they can cut their production costs but they fail to realise that encouraging people to the Mp3 market also encourages piracy, plus ensues an oncoming digital price war as other companies start compeating with iTunes and such, which will revert artists back to pushing hard copies of their art because they are only getting a shaving of royalties from Mp3 distributors who are in a price war with competitors. Mp3 distribution will kill artist royalities but will cut corporate production costs - again, the one providing the art is getting screwed.

Personally, my CD collection would be half it's size if i didn't download albums first. I always buy an album that's worthy of the money because i value owning a kick-ass record collection, those that just download and don't buy albums are not factors anyway because they most likely would never have bought the album BUT they may just end up at gigs and buying merchandise which supports the artist anyway.

It's hard to feel sorry for a monopoly which is still clearing billions a year in profit.





[edit on 1-11-2005 by TheShroudOfMemphis]



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 02:48 AM
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My current music library has 8497 songs in it by actual count and I add about 100 per month to that total--all songs were purchased. I see no point in using CD's when you have access to all of them on the computer. I cut CD's for use in my car, but I would prefer to just pipe them over if I could. So far that hasn't been possible, but soon.....



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 03:12 AM
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well i have read that it uses system resources like 2 per cent or something all time almost which is illegal as its affecting the computer out right there by doing that, thats 1 reason why you might not want it..... let alone installing itself without permission invasion of privacy... and it does another thing too its on sysinternal site explains in great detail. i also read that Sony could be fined upto $1000 per computer it is installed on if it is bought before a Judge in court, as it is not mentioned at all in the EULA, and affect computer resources which is classed as spyware,malware illegal. Lets hope that if Sony is fined that the Judge looks at all Cd's with this bs on that were sold and class them as all computer users and installed on such computers that will stuff Sony nice an good.

[edit on 2-11-2005 by blobby]

[edit on 2-11-2005 by blobby]

[edit on 2-11-2005 by blobby]

[edit on 2-11-2005 by blobby]



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 03:23 AM
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Originally posted by Dulcimer
Yeah its a real shame when they want to protect a product from being illegally copied.
What do you have to worry about if you are not illegally making copies?
Huh?

Well imho...they should stop selling EMPTY CD/DVD's, CDwriters (which Sony also manufacture...) THEN but only THEN can they even start thinking about doing stuff like they have now...



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 07:05 AM
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I assume you would have to run the install that pops up when you stick the cd in to get the rootkit on your system. I remember buying a cd recently that I think may have had this on it. I hope I cancelled the install (I almost always do), but it seems like I remember having to use the player bundled on the disc. Need to check my system when I get home from work.



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 08:11 AM
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Gosh, I thought distributing hijack programs and viruses was illegal.



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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Kal,

ASSUME find-real heads up.

That is just wrong of Sony, Period. They should be sued sencless for putting hacking softwear on peoples computers. Furthermore, if anyones computers are damaged, Sony should be required to replace all damaged hardear and softwear.

It is my undersatanding that in the US, it has been deemed leggal to rip (burn a copy of the contents to a harddrive) cd/dvd music you legally purchased.

Furthermore, I know the law allows up to 2 copies of softwear to be made as backups.

I don't know for sure, but I believe this would apply to music also.

The logic behind making copies is to use the copies and if they wear out or get damaged/distroyed-you still have the orginal.

I do this with all my softwear and it has save me much money as cd'd/dvd's have been damaged/distroyed in naccidents by me.

Can anyone say class action lawsuite. I reallly hope that they stick it to Sony where it really hurts-their pocket book!

LOL-Subs, you and I are seeing eye to eye on this one.


[edit on 11/2/2005 by mrmonsoon]



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 09:26 AM
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what ticks me off is that regardless of this rootkit or whatever other software is out there; why cant i burn copies of CDs that I very legitimately purchased? what if i want a back up copy? i bought it. its mine! everyone knows cds get scratched up.

im a musician supporter. i go buy the cd. but i want it to own the music for life. not just 3 years or however long until the cd is so effed that it wont play anymore. heck, i can name 5 artists right now whos albums ive purchased, then re-purchased because the media (CD) got scratched. some albums THREE times. boo sony! sickens me.



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 09:36 AM
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He, he, they probably get away with it using the patriot act and the war on terror over misuse of private property and the fight against piracy.

Isn't our country great.

But as usual it will be a nice fix to take the bug away.



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 09:53 AM
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Even if you don't have anything to worry about as far as copyright infringement, whos to say that it wont get put on your system, just because you use your pc as a dvd player, or cd player. Im sorry, but If I wound up with something from this, I'm not only going to sue the panties off of them, but, I am also going to demand compensation for lost work, because my pc was too slow to do what I needed to.

[edit on 11/2/2005 by denial28]



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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Not a very smart move on Sony's part... I wonder if there is a disclamer buried deep down in some documentation, either on the album cover, the packaging, their web site etc. that mentions something about how purchasing their product will result in a program being installed on the purchasers computer?



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 10:19 AM
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I will now post a large sign next to my PC that reads: NO SONY CD'S !!!

I'm betting that before a class action suit could get off the ground, some ruling will be passed that 'protects' them from liability for any harm their product does ( like the protection for vacine makers ).

Our government will not likely protect us from this illegal type of invasion of privacy......they are all about protection for the large corporation, not the individual citizen.

Heck, they will probably think it's such a good idea that they will offer some sort of incentive for other companies to bundle some sort of 'spyware' to watch for any activity they think is illegal!! And if it disables the CD drive, or even the whole computer.......hey, that would just help the economy because we would all have to run out and buy another one!!



posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 10:27 AM
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Taken directly from the F-Secure page:

If you find this rootkit from your system, we recommend you don't remove it with our products. As this DRM system is implemented as a filter driver for the CD drive, just blindly removing it might result in an inaccessible CD drive letter. Instead, we recommend you contact Sony BMG directly via this web form and ask for directions on how to remove the software from your system. We've test driven this and they will provide you with tools to do this. However, they will install additional ActiveX components to your system while they are doing this so be adviced.

So basically, no matter how you go about it, it's sketchy. Personally I'll be avoiding sony Cd's from here on out.




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