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NEWS: Sony Music CDs Install Hidden Anti-piracy Malware

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posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 05:30 PM

Originally posted by mrmonsoon
How would u feel when it hoses your ipod?
Think about it.

i would be pissed...

but, i highly doubt there is a way to stop what i (and many many others) are doing...

posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 05:33 PM
The way I see it, Sony has every right in the world to sell their crappy music with their crappy software riders attached.

And I have every right in the world to not buy their products.

Consumer restraint goes a long way in curbing the abuses of corporations.

[edit on 2-11-2005 by WyrdeOne]

posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 05:36 PM
Actually, I am kind of surprised that there has NOT been a virus released to target the IPods. It did not take the virus writters long to distribute a worm for the PsP.

posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 07:15 PM
PC Mag article: Sony DRM Uses Rootkit Techniques

New digital rights management technology shipping on music CDs by Sony Corp. of America/Bertelsmann AG artists employs stealthy, rootkit-style techniques to hide from users, according to a security expert.

The new technology, which Sony has dubbed "sterile burning," manipulates the Windows core processing center, or "kernel," to make the DRM almost totally undetectable on Windows systems.

ZDNet Blog on Sony DRM

According to the Wikipedia's definition," a rootkit is often used to hide utilities used to abuse a compromised system."

Mark Russinovich is the author/software developer who first discovered the Sony DRM. His work developing system tools, enabled him to directly find the cause of his computer's problems.
Quotes below are from Mark Russinovich's original blog article on his findings:

The entire experience was frustrating and irritating. Not only had Sony put software on my system that uses techniques commonly used by malware to mask its presence, the software is poorly written and provides no means for uninstall. Worse, most users that stumble across the cloaked files with a RKR scan will cripple their computer if they attempt the obvious step of deleting the cloaked files.

Notes on the Sony DRM rootkit:

1. This rootkit is completely hidden, it can't be found. The files used, the drivers used, and the registry keys are hidden from view.

2. It can't be easily removed. There is no "uninstall" as used on most programs. Deleting the files can make the CD player not function.

3. It is, in fact, by definition; a Trojan Horse backdoor program. A virus or trojan can use the Sony DRM to attack your computer.
Example from
Trojan.Wimad is a Trojan that downloads remote files from remote Web sites by exploiting the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology available in Windows. The Trojan arrives on the compromised computer as a license-protected multimedia file.

4. It could be used by any skilled hacker, who wants to attack your computer.

5. The possibilities of removing it cleanly, are yet unknown. Damages to the computer system and CD drive are considered. Using a Sony removal tool is believed to create yet another hidden rootkit.

When I logged in again I discovered that the CD drive was missing from Explorer. Deleting the drivers had disabled the CD.

6. Rumours that the programmers that wrote the rootkit aren't experts at what they do. Potentials for errors are high.

...they load even in Safe Mode, making system recovery extremely difficult if any of them have a bug that prevents the system from booting.

7. The Sony program watchs everything you do on your computer.

...Filemon trace showed that it scans the executables corresponding to the running processes on the system every two seconds, querying basic information about the files, including their size, eight times each scan.

8. Once started, the illegal Sony program uses about 2% of your computer system resources continuously till you re-boot.

9. What is a "rootkit"?

The term rootkit is used to describe the mechanisms and techniques whereby malware, including viruses, spyware, and trojans, attempt to hide their presence from spyware blockers, antivirus, and system management utilities. There are several rootkit classifications depending on whether the malware survives reboot and whether it executes in user mode or kernel mode.

Kernel-mode Rootkits
Kernel-mode rootkits can be even more powerful since, not only can they intercept the native API in kernel-mode, but they can also directly manipulate kernel-mode data structures. A common technique for hiding the presence of a malware process is to remove the process from the kernel's list of active processes. Since process management APIs rely on the contents of the list, the malware process will not display in process management tools like Task Manager or Process Explorer.

10. Is this as bad as the news says? Yes, it is. This one is really pushing the limits of good behaviour.

Me says: I'm often called upon to remove spyware from computers. Some of the most devious problems, the ones that are the hardest to remove, are outright shady and borderline illegal. What you read in the news, about companies receiving federal charges for their corrupt practices, are the ones I'm talking about. What Sony has done, ranks right up there with the worse of those spyware/malware programs.

Stopping just short of actually stealing your money, these programs manipulate you and your computer, to influence their own profits.

The actual effects on computer systems in large companies, or schools, is horrible to think about. The financial losses of having to deal with this, to repair or replace equipment damaged, and the time spent doing that, is potentially huge.

I'm sure that Sony would notice a drop in profits, so I do hope that people annoyed by this issue:
A. Refrain from buying Sony products.
B. If effected by their illegal software, join in the protest against the practice.
C. Consider being part of a class action lawsuit, if and when one arises.

posted on Nov, 2 2005 @ 10:18 PM

Originally posted by WyrdeOne
The way I see it, Sony has every right in the world to sell their crappy music with their crappy software riders attached.

Well sure, as long as they don't hide what they're doing, which means in need to be revealed at the point of sale, and the install program needs to warn the users that the software is more than just a player. If they're doing it secretly, they deserve to be sued out of business.

Has there been any independent confirmation of this story?

posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 12:52 AM
Folks who want to steal music are going to find ways to do it. That doesn't make it right, but they will find ways.

But the person who legally buys their music should not be punished for someone elses fault. I should be able to buy music, rip it, and put it where I want for my personal use. I bought the song and purchased the technology so I could do this.


posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 01:25 AM
Does that mean if I download shared files that were orignially on a sony CD I will get malware?

posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 02:36 AM
Stupidity personified by Sony. I'll put the CD into my computer and there's no way in hell the anti-piracy software will install. Presumably the thinking behind the incorrect theory is like Jeff Goldblum in Independance Day (which spoilt the film along with the presidents speech). Reminder : software be it anti-piracy or viruses only work under the OS they have been written for. DUH!!!!

Needless to say my computer is neither a PC nor a MAc nor a UNIX nor a Linux. Also, let's not forget bluetooth enabled CD drives linked to PDA's running Symbion or PalmOS.

posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 03:57 AM
I'll buy all the sony CDs I please.This malware only effects PCs, and not macs.

posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 04:07 AM
A mac is a PC. PC merely means "Personal Computer".

You mean Windows don't you?

posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 08:03 AM
Most of you know my feelings on any software installed without the user's knowledge. I just read a good article on the whole thing and the lack of control or ability to remove it even after your CD is long gone is illegal.

I have said it before and I will say it again, writing and dispersing any software which hides itself and and installs without the user's knowledge should be punishable by death.

Read this and tell me if they have the right to do this to protect their lousy whatever it is they are passing off as music these days.

Not only had Sony put software on my system that uses techniques commonly used by malware to mask its presence, the software is poorly written and provides no means for uninstall. Worse, most users that stumble across the cloaked files with a RKR scan will cripple their computer if they attempt the obvious step of deleting the cloaked files.

posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 08:22 AM
The first virus that takes advantage of this hole Sony has created will hopefully cause a big stir and wake a lot of people up.
It's all very well pretending theres not an issue at hand but this rootkit leaves you're machine a sitting duck and if u remove it say goodbye to your cd drives.
From what i've been reading it not only alters windows but also alters the installed drivers which will be rendered useless without it.
I have no dount virus writers are reading about this hole and rushing to exploit it.

posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 10:28 AM
So this malware opens a hole for others to hack your computer...

they done just FU...

the huge influx of lawsuits that will plague them for the next years, will bankrupt the company...
sell or buy short now...

this could cost them billions... and that is just for the settlements... wonder how much their lawyers make?

posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 11:09 AM
For the second time DO NOT USE THE SONY BRAND ROOTKIT REMOVER. Find some other way to remove this POS programs.

posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 03:06 PM
The powers that be at SONY don't seem to want you to know.

I have been trying to locate a list of Artists and CD's that were involved, to make sure I didn't have any of them, and if I did, to make sure that they are sent back to SONY in pieces in a little envelope. I'd also like to contact the artists to let them know that their personal credibility and marketability are at stake.

Bruce Springsteen is a SONY artist, and although I love some of his music, I refuse to support this sort of outright unethical behavior, so I guess no more 'Devils and Dust' for me... Sorry, Bruce.

I tried calling the number provided, and when I asked to be sent a list of the CD's containing this manipulative program, I was told they couldn't tell me and that it was available on the website. Well, I've already been there and if anyone else can find ANYTHING related to this issue, they are more patient than I am.

Their feedback form is currently disabled for some crazy reason... Hmmm.

If they are not held accountable, I'll be sick to my bile filled stomach.

Shouldn't they be required to release this information?!?

Am I just a boob and it's in some conspicuous place right under my nose?

Honestly, I haven't been this angry with a company since freaking Wal-Mart, and that was because I had the misfortune to have a peek behind the scenes.

I'd really like to know if I've got one of these corrupt pieces of junk, and treat it to the proper burial it deserves.

posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 08:55 PM
Dont buy Sony CDs people, download them off P2P, its safer.

posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 09:16 PM
Well that's what this article makes us think anyway. Now that we know it's there, its not like we could keep on buying them from sony...

posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 09:20 PM
Speaking of the artists invovled... I wonder if artists on Sony would be able to refuse having this malware placed on their CD's.

This doesn't have to be on the hands on the consumers alone.

Artists can (and should) refuse to sign with Sony and/or try to get off the label if already signed..

posted on Nov, 5 2005 @ 07:50 AM
well if they see their own album on amazon and read the customer comments i can't see the artist's being very happy i had fun reading them though
Links below if anyones intrested


posted on Nov, 5 2005 @ 12:19 PM
Very nice find, I went ahead and looked through similar cd's and found the same in their reviews. Looks like this is big.

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