Sony Finally Stops Producing Rootkits… Temporarily

from the let-the-whole-thing-blow-over dept

You can already see the case studies being written about how badly Sony-BMG has handled this whole rootkit mess. First they absolutely denied it was a problem. Then, when the attention didn’t die down immediately, they offered a “patch” and assumed that as long as they announced they had a patch, everyone would stop paying attention. Unfortunately, enough people kept paying attention and noticed that the patch didn’t help much, and in some cases made the situation worse. Following that, they pulled out the desperation card of basically saying what you don’t know can’t hurt you, which just made things even worse for them and resulted in at least one, and possibly more, lawsuits. So, now, two weeks after this was brought to their attention, and days after virus writers started using the rootkit to hide malware (which everyone told Sony was bound to happen), Sony BMG has finally agreed to stop using the rootkit technology… temporarily. Not only that, but they do so defiantly, without an apology, saying there’s really no risk and they still have the right to use such technology, but they’ll stop temporarily as a “precautionary measure.” Precautionary against what? It seems mostly like precautionary against bad press, which they hope will finally die down.

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Comments on “Sony Finally Stops Producing Rootkits… Temporarily”

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Joshua says:

Too little, too late...

I just cancelled an order for a new Vaio and pretty much plan on boycotting Sony products from here on out.. I know they’re different divisions but it’s a shame when a company makes such a mess of things that their own consumers revolt.. scew ’em. In this day and age of competing products and the next best gadget around the corner, my loyalties can easily be placed elsewhere.

Andrew Fernie (user link) says:

Re: Re: Too little, too late...

No offence, but this is a silly comparison. A teacher who does something wrong is an individual. Sony is a corporate entity and contributing to the profits of one division contributes to the profits of the individuals who were responsible. There is nothing immature about boycotting products from the same company to make a point, and believe me it will hurt them.

Incidentally, how great a product the Sony Vaio is or is not has nothing to do with whether individuals should boycott Sony for their behaviour. You’re telling the poster to grow up, but you need to try some joined-up thinking.

Thoughtful (user link) says:

Re: Save Energy - Don't Buy Sony.

I think Sony have lost the idea of providing value to customers. They used do a great job of it.
So the best action is “Do not buy Sony”.
They appear to be liable for willfully spreading rootkit that allows your PC to be put at risk.
I think that they should be held liable for all and any loss of data and the cost to recover it.
Since Sony will not guarantee (See EULA) to
compensate for the damage AND ESPECIALLY the time
lost by the user I think that the correct action is ‘SAY NO TO SONY!! (Just like Drugs!)
Since the rootkit stops the PC from going to sleep
mode think of increase in energy demand – will
SONY be made pay extra energy cost?
If a PC is left all the time it will consume
about 200W – about 2 kilowatt-hours/day.
At 10 cents/kilowatt-hr this adds up to
$36/year for EACH PC.
It all the PC users, about 1 billion now, in the world bought the SONY CD – which is Sony’s goal and Intention, the cost of the extra electricity would be about $70 Billion each year.

(This would power about 100 million homes!!)

So practice energy conservation and don’t buy Sony !

Gee! It looks like Sony will need to pay all its
REVENUE to Consumer who buy CD to compensate them for the electricity used!
The Japenese are making great efforts to reduce energy demand at home. Why is Sony trying to get
everyone else to waste more power?
So in summary – if you buy the CD and you want, you can, with difficulty and waste of your time and money and energy,
get the software removed – but you can’t play the CD.
Better not to buy it in the first place
— save yourself the frustration!

dorpus says:

A rootkit for your brain

While governments around the world are buying vast stockpiles of Tamiflu and in some cases forcing citizens to take them, there are reports of kids going crazy and committing suicide after taking the medicine. In addition to an 8-y.o. girl who chirped like a bird and tried to jump out of a 4th-floor hospital window last year, a new report describes 2 boys who suddenly commited suicide after their doses. One 17-y.o. boy took the pill at home, after which he suddenly ran out of the house barefoot through the snow in his pajamas, climbed over the fence, ran out into the highway, and got run over by a truck. Another 14-y.o. boy suddenly jumped out of a 9th floor window.

LoneWolf (user link) says:

Not impressed

I am anything but impressed in which the Sony has handled this situation. The worst is the fact of trying to deny it. It may be news to Sony but we aren’t totally naive morons.

I think Sony has some really great products but if they can just turn a blind eye or shrug their shoulders at a situation like this I rather not deal with them or their products anytime in the near future. It’s a real pity.

SV says:

Too little too late

sorry for the liche but it’s so true.

so sony stops producing XCP CD’s and the following issues remains:

– what about those XCP CD-s in the stores, or all people who bought such CD-s already

– how about still lacking easily accessible safe uninstaller

– how about they still use the SunComm technology which also affects Mac computers

– how about they deny they’ll stop working with F4I and will probably resume with a later version of XCP

– last but not least how about BluRay which also includes ridiculous DRM technologies. Sony, waiting for the shit to hit the fan again or you’ll act quicker this time?

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

I’m not a big Microsoft fan, but one of the reasons that MS is supporting HD-DVD rather than Blu-Ray is because the former has slightly less draconian DRM than the latter.

I can’t help but think this whole fiasco may really backlash against Sony when they introduce their PS3, and consumers are exposed to content that is designed from the ground up to be managed (i.e., licensed by the consumer, not owned). This could be a selling point for the 360. Has Microsoft made any public statement about Sony’s rootkit? They have to be cackling and rubbing their hands in glee.

Russ says:

Re: No Subject Given

I’m not a big Microsoft fan, but one of the reasons that MS is supporting HD-DVD rather than Blu-Ray is because the former has slightly less draconian DRM than the latter.
I don’t think MS really cares whether the DRM is draconian – what bothers them is that the DRM is out of their control and will leave someone other than MS in charge of deciding how it will be abused.

Unknown says:

Can we say spy/mal ware

Some other articles about this issue also report that once a user removes the sony drm software and uses some form of an antivirus/spayware tool that blocks it, the cd cannot be played in the cd rive, which makes sense but will end up in a loss for sony, especially for those that had systems comprimised due to their idiocy…They just can’t get any form of media security right. Back a few years ago they tried to do somthing of this sort except rather that installing a program, the cdrom would confuse the system with a file that didn’t exist. User soon found out that taking a sharper or other marker and drawing over it or covering it worked around this “security”. They also blocked the number 1 selling digital media player brand, the iPod, from being able to play the new cds…All that would do is raise the profit apple makes off the songs being on itunes.

I’d personally rather have m$ controlling my drm, then doing searches to overcome the security become easier, heh he he.

Michael (profile) says:

I Think It's Something Else...

This annoucement seems to come right after the Department of Tyranny…uh…Homeland Security issues a statement saying “its your intelectual property but not your computers”. Sounds like Sony is looking to keep those guys off their backs. All the Department of Homeland Security has to do is declare their rootkit DRM a National Security Risk and Sony will have remove CPX infected discs from the market perminently or they’ll be in violation of the Patriot Act.

My thinking is, they want to avoid this because then they really be in trouble. It would also spell trouble for a lot of other companies who are looking at using similar technology or have different types of DRM. Also, why hasn’t the ACLU gotten involved in this? I’m sure they will eventaully, this is the sort of thing they exist for.

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