Sony Caught In Yet Another Rootkit Mess?

from the don't-they-know-to-check-for-these-things? dept

Sony is a big company, and various parts and subsidiaries are pretty much totally disconnected from other areas of the company, but given the disastrous PR that Sony had to deal with following the original rootkit debacle (which really was more of a BMG issue than a Sony one) you would think that perhaps someone higher up at Sony corporate would have sent around a memo or something to all the rest of Sony, suggesting that they check around and make sure that none of their products had rootkit-like functionality. Either that didn’t happen… or someone didn’t get the memo. It appears that a line of USB flash drive sticks that Sony sold have been discovered to install rootkit-like functionality that hides a folder on users’ computers. And, of course, just like the original Sony rootkit, this hidden folder is perfect for malware writers to use as hiding places for their malware. While this one probably isn’t as big a deal as last time around, let’s see if Sony figured out that brushing it off because no one knows what rootkits are isn’t exactly the best response to such a discovery. In the meantime, this highlights (once again) how weak many security programs are that they don’t automatically look for this type of action in order to prevent it from happening in the first place.

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Companies: f-secure, sony

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Comments on “Sony Caught In Yet Another Rootkit Mess?”

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Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: not quite 100%

Your absolutely right. it installs “rootkit-like functionality” (Copied directly from this article). The problem isn’t the folder itself but the fact that there is already malware out there that use this folder to hide itself and not able to be scanned by certain anti-malware programs. (and sony won’t respond on this issue)

Overcast says:

And from what I read there – doesn’t matter if it’s technically a rootkit or not, they are going out of their way – once again, to hide stuff from users.

That’s just unacceptable, in any event. Too many companies try to pull this BS now, with so much competition, it’s easy to just avoid them.

Oh and the LG DVD recorder had been working flawlessly.

Joel Coehoorn says:

@MATT: This is more than just a standard hidden folder. This folder is specifically hidden even if you show hidden files, view hidden system folders, and all the rest of the little tricks you can do that normally show hidden folders.

@Mike: This is actually much worse than the previous breach, because it’s much easier to take advantage of. I can’t browse the folder in windows, but a simple line like this on the console will hide some malicious software:
copy myevilprogram.exe c:windowssonyhiddenfolder

I understand the other article I read correctly, not only is the program file now hidden from virus scanners and the like, but if it starts running the process won’t show up either in places like task manager either.

Griffon says:

It's in the demo's too

That’s nothing you can root kit your computer just be installing a popular demo like Bioshock on your PC, it’s part of the secure rom crap sony uses to (not really) protect it’s games. Why this crap is included in free demo that doesn’t need to be protected is totally beyond me. Talk about not getting the memo, it’s just business as usual and the customers be dammed.

Anti-SONY says:


I will never buy or use another Sony device, even if it is free. My family is not allowed to bring Sony crap in the house either. Last week one of my kids brought home a free ps2 from their cousin and I immediately sent it back. Their execs will learn one day when sitting under a bridge with the rest of the homeless, but maybe that’s even too good for them.

BTW their movies rip great. LOL

InSoMnIaC says:

The point of the “hidden” folder is to hide the biometric data from the finger print reader. I can honestly say from a programmers perspective this was piss poor planning. Why not store it in the flash drives memory rather than compromise a system. Yeah the malware can detect if the drive is inserted but a scanner should have picked up the malware by that point.

Anon-i-mouse says:


Just some more of the same garbage from Sony. I started boycotting them with the original root-kit fiasco, and so far everything they have done is just reinforcing my opinion that this is the right course of action – voting with my (not too shallow) pocketbook. I recently purchased a new HD TV (not Sony – NS), a new DVD player (NS), 10’s of new DVDs (NS), a new auto stereo (NS), etc. If it says Sony or BMG on the label, I will not buy it, no matter how much I want it. As far as I’m concerned, Sony will never get another voluntary nickel from me. I’m even checking movies as they are released and will not pay to see one of them either if Sony is involved in any concrete way. Too bad, they lose…

reed says:

Why do we need sony and the other big electronics

With micronization reaching the levels it has why do we need big centralized companies to disseminate all of our electronics?

It seems the time for these mammoth corporations that produce more waste than anything else need to go the way of the dinosaurs. Economically their model just doesn’t make good sense and they only survive because of all their intense lobbying and political favors.

I for one am sick of enormous businesses and all their crapware. Show me a good product that MS or SONY makes and I will show you and independent small company that has a better solution. The big guys need to go away and let the market start working again. Time to bring out the big stick IMHO.

Just Me says:

Post #14

“Economically their model just doesn’t make good sense and they only survive because of all their intense lobbying and political favors.”

But how will all of the smaller companies buy political favours??

I know – they’ll form together and make one large entity. That way they can still buy politicians…oh wait, that already happened.

Red says:

Re: Post #14

“But how will all of the smaller companies buy political favours??”

They won’t buy any real favors because they are too small to have the lobbying power of a major corporation. The idea is to keep our country representing the people not some disembodied perversion of capitalism known as modern corporations.

“I know – they’ll form together and make one large entity. That way they can still buy politicians…oh wait, that already happened.”

Then we take out the big stick and beat them back again. It is all part of balancing our country’s interest. Despite what many people believe nowadays breaking up large coporations is a good thing for the little guy (Which is in the majority last time I checked).

(reply to this comment) (link to this comment

Protoplasm says:


Proletariat Pigs, Sarasin Swine!

I have a SONY DVD drive and whenever I load a gaming application, I run a 50% chance of getting the dreaded “Conflict with disk emulation software” message. If I run the games on the Yamaha or a Generic drive, no such problem.

I have not used any emulation software ever. More proof, that Bill Gates *is* the anti-Christ.

FreakUnique says:

Whoops they did it again. I will advise dad to not buy Sony but he won’t listen.

Anyways Sony are actively boycotted by me also. I only allow current Sony products in the house because my parents will moan to Hell and that drives me potty. I won’t touch the Sony products if I can help it. Mother’s Sony mini stereo doesn’t want to read many of my legit CDs despite the fact that they work on everything else. Very suspicious

Jimbob says:

Who knows what garbage will on the Spiderman 3 DVD when it comes out. As for my personal experience with Sony, they sold laptops the had MAC addresses the began with 99 instead of the industry standard of 00. My friend’s ISP wouldn’t let his NIC obtain an IP address because it saw the 99 as illegal granted my friends ISP is crappy but he had to use USB to hook to his cable modem. Sony is always trying to do it their way and Blu-ray is just latest because the don’t want to pay royalties to the inventors of HD-DVD. Sony go to hell in a handbag.

John (profile) says:

Microsoft to blame?

I know it’s “cool” to bash Microsoft, but why haven’t they been blamed for any of this?
Who the **** thought it was a good idea to allow software to tell the operating system to create hidden folders?

The meeting probably went something like this:
“Hey, Joe, wouldn’t it be cool if applications could create folders that were hidden from the user and that could hidden from virus-scanners and anti-spyware programs?”

“Man, that would be awesome. Just think about all the legitimate reasons why companies would want to hide their files. Nah, who are we kidding. Let’s open as many backdoors as possible. We’ll let the ‘patch department’ issue a security HotFix five years from now to fix it.”

Joe Smith says:


Problems with BioShock might be worth a little more attention from TechDirt. My teenager has been looking forward to it for months and ran out to buy it as soon as it came out. First he hits the installation hassle and then it turns out that the video card I bought last year for him (Radeon 850 with 512 meg of video ram) is not up to the job of running BioShock because the game needs Pixel Shader 3.0 and the card only supports Pixel Shader 2.0.

So my advice to any other dads out there is F**K ATI and F**K BioShock – go spend your money on something else for the kids.

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