Rootkits All Around: Universal Music Has It Too

from the no-surprise-there dept

I doubt this is surprising to anyone. But, following all the talk about Sony’s rootkit-style copy protection found on some music CDs, people are looking to see who else the copy protection company works with. Riley turned up a press release, showing that the company is also outfitting certain Universal Music Group CDs with their special brand of malware copy protection — even highlighting in the announcement that it’s the same as found on SonyBMG CDs. Of course, given Universal Music’s CEO Edgar Bronfman’s history of believing he must control everything, it’s no surprise at all that they’d be using this too. Given the lawsuits against adware firms for sneaky installs (and, recognizing that this rootkit stuff is actually much more dangerous by opening up additional holes in your computer), doesn’t it seem like these record companies have just opened themselves up to a serious legal liability? They installed something on computers without asking or alerting you. They make it very, very, very difficult to remove. They break certain features of your computer and they open up a major security vulnerability that others can exploit. And then they call all their customers criminals. Can’t imagine why they’re having trouble with their existing business model.

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Comments on “Rootkits All Around: Universal Music Has It Too”

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SV says:

Re: Re: Rootkits All Around

I’m getting slightly tired of comments that switching to Linux, OSx or whatever is a solution. It’s a temporary solution simply since the DRM doesn’t target those OS (since the majority is on Windows). <br><br>If we all switch to Linux, next thing we know is we’ll have F4I working on a Linux version of their crapware.

Y Pennog Coch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Rootkits All Around

It’s not a temporary solution, because on Linux and OSX you normally run as a limited user. The malware can’t install itself unless the current user has admin rights.
But you’re right to be tired. The simplest answer is to (upgrade to WinXP if you’re still using 9x/ME and) learn how to work with limited user accounts.
OTOH, if Big Music’s next step is to add privilege escalation exploits to the malware, then yes, it was a temporary solution :-O

Weebit (user link) says:

Re: Rootkits All Around

You can’t trust anyone. It’s getting worse each year that passes. It’s like no one thinks the computer user has any rights. They forgot that users paid money for these machines and they are not going to tolerate software companies turning their computers into drones. I really suggest a boycott of the whole music industry. Force them into setting up some rules that will benefit the public and they can live with. I am not purchasing another CD till something is done. This includes a very large fine placed on Sony and BMG for the harm they have caused. Don’t forget the misuse of their DRM. Or for the fact that Rootkits doesn’t belong in a legit software. Maybe that was our first clue that Sony BMG was up to no good?

Don Phillips says:


This goes way beyond simply setting a cookie in someone’s internet files. Rootkit’s are a violation of a user’s OS. The system techs at Sony are trying to sell us on an illegal hijack program. Say I pay good money for my Operating System. I can tweak it, modify it or change it any way I please. This person comes along and corrupts it. Their software runs without my permission and removing it might destroy the product I purchased. I would consider this illegal, yes?
Found a reply website to Sony:

Mike says:

Any other offenders?

Does anyone know if KODAK EasyShare Picture CD software uses the same type technology?
I had a great deal of difficulty deleting their software after it installed and changed some of my settings without permission, particularly, loading itself into my startmenu without permission.
While the EasyShare software is sitting in the faststart tray, the system runs at sub-286 speeds. When EasyShare is closed, the system returns to it’s previous zippy self. My skillz are lacking, but it appears to use a lot of resources.
KODAK EasyShare Picture CD software came with both a Kodak Picture CD received as a result of Kodak film processing, and a Kodak camera that we purchased recently, so there is the potential for it to be installed on a lot of systems.
Nikon also distributes software with their digital cameras, but I haven’t tried to remove it yet.

C C says:

How many rootkits are there?

3.??? “Specific Harm/Aware”
4.??? ??? ???
I got #3. It’s rootkit installed AOL to get internet access. AOL or it’s logo was not anywhere on the CD label. I have verified that the CD installs AOL and hides files but does not make $SYS$ files like XCP. It also wrecked the PC.

Viruses make great copy protection.
If you don’t have one, you don’t want a copy.
But they don’t sell very well.


Da_ALC says:

Re: How many rootkits are there?

Haha fair comment! If you have a PC and are online why would you be wanting to buy Sony published music anyway?.. They lock their artists into terrible contracts, exploit every step along the way, from factory to consumer… Sony deserves no money.

On the AOL note.. I have seen a few things that come with “free AOL” bundled but not labelled.. Usually its just an install exe and a shortcut to, but I wasent digging about so might have been more.
In thit case its prob legal as its not actually installing, but placing an installer. Besides after the whole IE vs Netscape ordeal, isnt anybody allowed to stick what they want anywhere?

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