Sony Rootkit another reason to avoid using Windows

This post was written by marc on November 12, 2005
Posted Under: Technology

I’m a Windows user and it’s a hard habit to break. But Sony’s new rootkit installs is even more reason to move to Linux rather than use proprietary operating systems like Wondows and Macs.

Sony decided to out secret software on its music CDs that installed into the kernel of Windows so it can track and control what is copied. This software installs without your permission and without your knowledge. In fact, like a virus program it does everything it can to hide itself.

Sony seems to think it owns your computer and has the right to secretly install software on it to modify your operating system without you knowing about it. That’s pretty brazen if you ask me. I can tell you that Sony isn’t a brand that I will be buying anymore. From now on I’m going to avoid doing anything that make Sony money. It’s my computer and you don’t screw with it.

Here’s the EFF story about it.

* Are You Infected with Sony-BMG’s Rootkit?

EFF Confirms Secret Software on 19 CDs

San Francisco – News that some Sony-BMG music CDs install
secret rootkit software on their owners’ computers has
shocked and angered thousands of music fans in recent days.
Among the cause for concern is Sony’s refusal to publicly
list which CDs contain the infectious software and to
provide a way for music fans to remove it. Now, the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has confirmed that the
stealth program is deployed on at least 19 CDs in a variety
of genres.

The software, created by First 4 Internet and known as
XCP2, ostensibly “protects” the music from illegal copying.
But in fact, it blocks a number of legal uses–like
listening to songs on your iPod. The software also
reportedly slows down your computer and makes it more
susceptible to crashes and third-party attacks. And since
the program is designed to hide itself, users may have
trouble diagnosing the problem.

“Entertainment companies often complain that fans refuse to
respect their intellectual property rights. Yet tools like
this refuse to respect our own personal property rights,”
said EFF staff attorney Jason Schultz. “Sony’s tactics here
are hypocritical, in addition to being a security threat.”

If you listened to a CD with the XCP software on your
Windows PC, your computer is likely already infected. An
EFF investigation confirmed XCP software on 19 titles, but
it’s far from a complete list. Sony-BMG continues to refuse
to make such a list available to consumers.

Consumers can spot CDs with XCP by inspecting a CD closely,
checking the left transparent spine on the front of the
case for a label that says “CONTENT PROTECTED.” The back of
these CDs also mention XCP in fine print. You can find
pictures of these and other telltale labeling at
.

“Music fans should protect themselves from this stealth
attack on their computer system,” said EFF Senior Staff
Attorney Fred von Lohmann.

For EFF’s list of CDs with XCP:

The “legalese rootkit” – Sony-BMG’s EULA:

For this release:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Sony-BMG Rootkit: EFF Collecting Stories, Considering
Litigation

EFF is collecting stories from EFF members and supporters who
have purchased Sony-BMG CDs that contained the rootkit copy
protection software. We’re considering whether the effect on
the public, or on EFF members, is sufficiently serious to
merit EFF filing a lawsuit.

If you satisfy the following criteria, we would like to hear
from you:

1. You have a Windows computer;
2. First 4 Internet’s XCP copy protection has been installed
on your computer from a Sony CD (for more details, see our
blog post referenced above or the SysInternals blog,
http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-
digital-rights.html);
3. You reside in either California or New York; and
4. You are willing to participate in litigation.

We have not made a final decision about filing any legal
action, but we would like to hear from music fans who have
been harmed by the Sony-BMG rootkit copy protection
technology. Please contact allison@eff.org for more
information.

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