[clug] Sony music CDs hack PCs

Michael James clug at james.st
Thu Nov 3 04:03:25 GMT 2005

To summarise a thread on suse-OT at suse.com:

Sysinternals' Mark Russinovich received/ found a rootkit on his machine.
Since he is the developer of Root Kit Revealer
 and certainly knows the dangers of running code
 from suspicious sources it was a most unwelcome surprise.
He did what few of us would have the knowledge/ability to do.
 He thoroughly investigated it, including debugging
 and disassembling it
And what he found was pretty shocking.
 The root kit was installed by a Sony music CD he had 
purchased and played weeks before. 
The DRM enforced certain rules,
 such as restrictions on playing and copying
 (you can only play the CD on a computer
 via their bundled player, not a player of your choice
 such as WinAmp or Windows Media Player). 
Not only was the player invasive
 (being hidden in the registry and the filesystem)
 but as Mark points out, it wasn't even good programming,
 stealing excessive CPU cycles,
 and leaving your computer open to blue screening
 through a race condition the root kit's authors didn't handle. 
And, removing the rootkit is hardly something a novice user
 could or should do, as it would leave them
 with a non-functioning CD ROM drive
 (since simply removing the root kit files/processes
 won't remove its entry as a CD ROM filter,
 which will make your CD ROM drive unusable,
 unless/until you remove that filter,
 something there is no admin interface for,
 but can be done via registry editing
 if you know that's the problem and you know where to look).



Now Sony Unit is about to Distribute a Software Patch

After a chorus of criticism, Sony Corp. (SNE)'s music division said
Wednesday it is distributing a free software patch to reveal hidden
files that automatically installed to hard drives when some of its
music CDs were played on personal computers. 


Michael James			michael at james.st
Network Programmer		work:   02 6246 5040
8 Brennan St			home:   02 6247 2556
Hackett, ACT 2602		mobile: 04 1747 4065

Give the people control of media, they will use it.
Don't give people control of media, and you will lose them.
Jeff Jarvis

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