Wednesday, November 2

Sony CDs and Spyware

There has been a number of attempts to make CDs copyproof. So far without success. the most well known failure needed only a black magic marker to defeat. Now Sony has resorted to a new tactic to prevent your computer from copying their music, spyware.

This spyware does not sneak into your computer through the internet, it is hidden in the CD waiting for you to place it into your computer's CD drive. To be 'fair' to Sony, there is a prompt stating that the CD will install a small program that will remain in the computer until removed or deleted. the joke is that if you try to delete it, there is a good chance that you'll end up disabling your CD drive.

Privacy and security experts charged that the technology built into many of Sony's music CDs since March is unnecessarily invasive and exposes users to threats from hackers and virus writers.

"Here you have one of the biggest name-brand corporations on the planet getting into what many people in other circumstances would consider hacking," said Richard Smith, a security and privacy consultant based in Boston. "That's just not acceptable." - Washington Post

Did I mention that the software the CD installs can be used by hackers to hijack your computer? Read the following entry which goes into detail what this 'small program' does to your computer and how impossible it is for normal people to remove the software once it's been installed.

Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far - Mark Russinovich

But don't worry, there is a way to get the program off your computer:

But according to Mikko Hypponen, director of research for Finnish antivirus company F-Secure Corp., users who want to remove the program may not do so directly, but must fill out a form on Sony's Web site, download additional software, wait for a phone call from a technical support specialist, and then download and install yet another program that removes the files.

I suggest you fill out the form and get your computer cleaned. After all, if you have no clue that this is operating on your computer, you never be sure that it is the reason it is acting strange. Oh, if you can't find the form mentioned above, you can find it here or the Uninstall request here.

It was only a week or two ago that I read that there are also copy protection issues with Sony's Playstation and PSP. Apparently Sony uses region coding in the PSP so that only games purchased in the same region as the Playstation will work. So if you happen to buy the playstation in the US and move to Australia, the games sold in Australia will not work in your Playstation. I have been told that the games have yet to be coded by region, yet.

Whatever damage this software might be doing to computers, it probably is nothing compared to the damage to Sony's reputation. So now in addition to not buying Sony electronics, now I need to avoid their CDs too. Not that I play CDs in my computer now, but I might want to in the future.

Study of Sony Anti-Piracy Software Triggers Uproar - Washington Post

Read here for my comments on Sony Stupidity concerning their new DVD standard:

Those who cannot learn, Prologue: SONY Blue-Ray DVD Stupidity - FFI

No comments: