Virus Writers Take Advantage Of Sony's Rootkit

from the thanks! dept

As if things weren’t bad enough with Sony’s lovely rootkit DRM, what with it acting like spyware and everything, now virus writers are using it to cover up their work — just as was earlier predicted. The Sony software conceals filenames that start with “$sys$”, so a new variant of a trojan simply uses a similarly named file that becomes completely invisible on computers infected with the Sony rootkit. The Security Fix blog of The Washington Post points out a quote from Sony CEO Howard Stringer, made four years ago: “Right now it would be possible for us, and I’ve often thought it would cheer me up to do it, you could dispatch a virus to anybody whose files contain us or Columbia records and make them listen to four hours of Yanni … but in the end we’re going to have to get serious about encryption and digital-rights management and watermarking.” In light of that, and other efforts, like trying to get lawmakers to give record labels the right to destroy the computers of people that file-share, Sony’s rootkit isn’t surprising at all. But even though people may not know exactly what a rootkit is, they’re beginning to understand that Sony’s CDs can do some nasty stuff. The company’s original “trust us, it’s okay” defense was worn thin, and consumers’ distrust of Sony could have long-term effects on its business.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Virus Writers Take Advantage Of Sony's Rootkit”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
jszpila (user link) says:

No Subject Given

and yet, i’m still going to be surprised when Sony claim record sales drop due to piracy instead of realising that it’s their own dangerous DRM and its inherent security implications that are driving people away. i guess expecting corporations to take responsibility for their own actions is just asking a bit too much.

p jackson says:

Sony Rootkit

I have noticed that there is an assumption by people that the rest of the world sees things as they do. For instance, Sony assumes that no one will care about the rootkit and doesn’t know about them. Well, that may be vastly true for the over 45 crowd (I am 61) but I assure you that their primary and future customers both know and care about such stuff. It may not impact them today, but tomorrow is another story entirely.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: The Beginning of the End for DRM

This case in California is just the beginning of what I think will be start of something bigger. The software used in Sony’s rootkit DRM violates several state laws concerning intrusive software. Its certainly illegal in Great Britan where software that install itself without your permission and makes changes to your system witth permission is prohibited by law. Many antivirus software and antispyware makers are already classify Sony’s DRM as a malicious virus and are rushing to develop ways to remove it. A few already have.
This whole fiasco basically shows that the consumers will not take this sort of thing lying down. We will fight back, and fight hard. Mark my words, this is the beginning of the end for DRM.

The appearance of this trogan horse virus is just adding fuel to a fire that’s already burning out of control. If Sony was smart they’d drop that technology right now and campaign to make certain its never used again by anyone.

Andy says:

Re: Re: The Beginning of the End for DRM

I agree with Michael. The smart BUSINESS move for Sony would be to just flip, and start campaigning on the other side. Not easy to do, given it hurts their intellectual property rights (sort of). But it would be a huge PR bonus to them to counteract the huge PR nightmare they are working themselves into. Imagine what they could say “We were trying to protect our property, but made a mistake. Now we are listening to our customers, and taking heed of their wishes”. That would buy them some customer loyalty back. I suppose they just figure that since they own the label (and therefore the artists) that if someone wants to listen to one of those artists, they have no choice but to buy Sony. Well, watch out Sony, customers are fickle. We don’t like dirty pool. In fact, I’m wondering if I should go buy one of these protected CDs so that I can get in on the class action lawsuit that is bound to follow….

S Border (user link) says:

What devices?

Does anyone have a list of the devices? I have a DRU 710a DVD/CD burner. I’d hate to think that I’d have to send a nasty letter to those PC wreckin’ jerks at Sony. I’m always having to reformat because my wife likes to download and go to places she probably shouldn’t be going… and no not porn…or maybe she is!?!

S Border (user link) says:

Re: What devices?

What I mean by always having to reformat is; it is almost like something is running in the background all the time, even if I reformat. It runs good for a little while, but even with Norton, Ad-ware, and Spy-bot I seem to have issues with either my machine not wanting to shut down correctly, weird noises in the tower itself sounding like it is running too hard, even if I’m not running any apps on it. Do you think it could be my hardware devices? Specifically my DVD Burner??

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...