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Author Topic: After Criticism, Sony Issues Fix for Hidden Rootkits
SkyeTisTheSeasonWynters
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Story Here
quote:
Sony has admitted that it included a stealth rootkit on some music CDs shipped in 2005 and has issued an update to remove the hidden software one day after it was discovered. The company had drawn criticism from security experts who warned that the technology could serve as a tool for hackers.
quote:
Although industry analysts said they cannot fault Sony's motives, some saw the company's initial failure to disclose the hidden technology as a violation of U.S. copyright laws. According to Jared Carleton, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, Sony is overstepping the fair-use clause that gives consumers the right to make backup copies.

I find it irritating that the information about the program wasn't in the EULA or stated anywhere. It's nothing more than spyware/malware/crap and users should have the ability to get rid of the program if they want (not if the parent company decides you should be able to)

Skye

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interupt
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Also be aware that the patch doesnt remove the rootkit, just makes the files visible.

Damn and I had a spate of people at work wanting to play their music CDs on their workstations... and dumbo here let them run it.

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chillas
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The security vulnerabilities introduced by the Sony rootkit have already been exploited by World of Warcraft players.
Full story

This is far from over.

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Bug Muldoon
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This is why the first thing you do with a new PC is disable autorun.

Sony seems to betrying really hard to drive people into piracy. If legitimate CD's cripple your computer, what's to stop you from downloading ?

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Sara at home
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I don't even pretend to know a whole lot about this but I have read a few articles over the past few days. Be aware that there are reputable techies out there saying that the patch can make your computer unstable and cause a loss of data. Attempting to remove the software could fry your CD-ROM.

This guy tried to remove it using the uninstaller you can get from Sony (after jumping through a bunch of hoops). Even using the uninstaller things can be dicey.

Yahoo has a series of articles about it.

I've seen it said that the software is on about 20 CDs. Anyone find a list of which ones?

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abbubmah
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
I've seen it said that the software is on about 20 CDs. Anyone find a list of which ones?

Great Googly-Moogly.

Add "label: Sony" to get the 151 Sony titles only. Link was too long.

[Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!]

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abbubmah
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I have one of these CDs. I loaded it in my PC, and something installed. I couldn't rip the CD; it won't present as an audio CD, just a data CD with no audio tracks.

Crapware.

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Bug Muldoon
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quote:
I couldn't rip the CD; it won't present as an audio CD, just a data CD with no audio tracks.

What were the names of the files present ?

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abbubmah
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I can't remember, and I don't have the CD. There wasn't much.

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e^pi_i
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Hmph. According to Sony, you're all just panicking over nothing. After all, "most people, I think, do not even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" (Click the "Listen" button to hear the interview)

Myself, I hope the mass media continues with this story, and exposes Sony to the wrath of public boycotting (and hopefully, a big fat lawsuit).

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Nion
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This all brings something to mind that's slight OT but also significant.

"According to Jared Carleton, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, Sony is overstepping the fair-use clause that gives consumers the right to make backup copies."

Is that true of video games as well? I remember seeing blabs about "It is illegal to make a copy of this game, blah blah we'll eat you" on virtually every Nintendo . . . anything really . . . that I've ever owned. Does that mean Nintendo has been doing something illegal forever, or what?

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Wizard of Yendor
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quote:
Originally posted by chillas:
The security vulnerabilities introduced by the Sony rootkit have already been exploited by World of Warcraft players.
Full story

Well that's different then, if they're distributing useful hacking tools free with their CDs what's not to like. [Wink]

But I wonder. What if you add $sys$ to nero.exe? Can their software defeat itself?

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Jaeger
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by e^pi_i:
Myself, I hope the mass media continues with this story, and exposes Sony to the wrath of public boycotting (and hopefully, a big fat lawsuit).

It's started. One lawsuit has already been filed , in Italy of all places. I don't think it will be the last.

I'm impressed by the way the mainstream computer press has been joining in on the general disgust on this. I don't think I've seen a single article that doesn't blast Sony for their stupidity and arrogance.

- Jaeger

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abbubmah
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I'm still waiting for a good removal tool. All instructions are "the patch just makes it visible", and "don't delete the files manually". I want it GONE.

Sony has made it nearly impossible to actually remove. Also, if it doesn get removed, what's to keep the next copy protected CD I buy (not likely) from reinstalling the crap?

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Jaeger
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Ole Pappy:
I'm still waiting for a good removal tool. All instructions are "the patch just makes it visible", and "don't delete the files manually". I want it GONE.

Sony has made it nearly impossible to actually remove. Also, if it doesn get removed, what's to keep the next copy protected CD I buy (not likely) from reinstalling the crap?

Even worse, the next CD you buy may install completely different crap, even if its another Sony one. At best, it will mean that your PC gets gradually filled up with this stuff, each running all of the time and using resources, each reporting home, and each opening up security holes. The more likely result is that they start fighting each other and your PC stops working completely.

I think there is only one thing that people can sensibly do. Stop playing CD's on your PC. Which means either that you stop using your PC for playing music, or you get your music from alternative sources.

Incidentally, Computer Associates and Symantec have now officially defined the Sony DRM products as trojans and spyware. Kaspersky and F-Secure had already commented heavily and negatively. The only one of the big antivirus companies that I haven't seen a response from yet is McAfee.

Sony seems to have really shot itself in the foot this time. I wonder how many feet they still have left?

- Jaeger

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abbubmah
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SpySweeper finds it, I did find out that "rootkit" detection is not turned on by default. However, the only removal option is deletion, and that seems to have its own possible problems.

As for playing CDs on the PC - how the heck am I supposed to transfer to my MP3 player? It's bad enough that you have to use Windows Media Player to get the license installed to enable you to copy, now this in addition.

It's going to be a war, you watch.

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Jaeger
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quote:
Originally posted by Ole Pappy:
SpySweeper finds it, I did find out that "rootkit" detection is not turned on by default. However, the only removal option is deletion, and that seems to have its own possible problems.

As for playing CDs on the PC - how the heck am I supposed to transfer to my MP3 player? It's bad enough that you have to use Windows Media Player to get the license installed to enable you to copy, now this in addition.

It's going to be a war, you watch.

Well, you could possibly find an online source, but that would mean paying a second time for something you already legally own the right to listen too. And it may be a little difficult with a Sony album, since I gather they refuse to let iTunes have their content.

Most of the other methods, such as making use of a friend's Linux or Mac computer to rip it, or finding it from a non-paying online source are, of course, totally illegal. I'm sure that Sony don't want this to push their legitimate customers into such activities.

At the moment, I don't think it's illegal in the US to rip it using a line connection to a non-computer audio player, but I believe they're currently trying to put through the legislation to close that loophole too.

- Jaeger

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The Amazing Rando
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slightly OT but,
is it illegal to use a file-sharing program to download copyrighted music you own the CD of? How is that any different than ripping it to the computer?

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Salamander
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Sony DRM hides hackers
Correspondents in Amsterdam
NOVEMBER 11, 2005

THE first virus that uses Sony BMG's controversial CD copy-protection software to hide on PCs has been discovered.

Continued story here...

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abbubmah
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The more I read about this, the madder it makes me. Sony seems, to all outward appearances, to be totally apathetic to what they have done.

I suspect there are high level board meetings, however, where people in nice suits are yelling "WTF! OMG!" at each other repeatedly.

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Jaeger
We Three Blings


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I saw unrelated news articles that said that Bertelsmann (the other half of the joint venture) are less than happy with the Sony-appointed CEO. I bet there are a lot of WTF comments going on right now, but more than half are probably in German.

I find Sony's refusal to even try to mitigate this totally outrageous. Keeping quiet is one thing, but they should be at least release the list of affected albums and make the uninstall more easily available.

- Jaeger

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Wizard of Yendor
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quote:
Originally posted by Jaeger:
Even worse, the next CD you buy may install completely different crap, even if its another Sony one. At best, it will mean that your PC gets gradually filled up with this stuff, each running all of the time and using resources, each reporting home, and each opening up security holes. The more likely result is that they start fighting each other and your PC stops working completely.

I think there is only one thing that people can sensibly do. Stop playing CD's on your PC. Which means either that you stop using your PC for playing music, or you get your music from alternative sources.

Incidentally, Computer Associates and Symantec have now officially defined the Sony DRM products as trojans and spyware. Kaspersky and F-Secure had already commented heavily and negatively. The only one of the big antivirus companies that I haven't seen a response from yet is McAfee.

Sony seems to have really shot itself in the foot this time. I wonder how many feet they still have left?

- Jaeger

Unless this software is radically different from earlier CD protection schemes, all you need to do is what Bug Muldoon said, disable autoplay.

That can be done with Tweak UI or temporarily by holding shift while you insert a CD.

Myself, I'm perfectly happy with having it completely disabled. I find it more annoying than helpful even when dealing with software I trust.

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abbubmah
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Disabling autoplay is all fine and good. But when you pop in a CD and it installs without warning... which is what this one did. If there was a EULA, I never saw it.

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snopes
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Sony Halts Production of Music CDs With Copy-Protection Scheme

Stung by continuing criticism, the world's second-largest music label, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, promised to temporarily suspend making music CDs with antipiracy technology that can leave computers vulnerable to hackers.

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBZ7D5VWFE.html

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Jaeger
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quote:
Originally posted by Wizard of Yendor:
Unless this software is radically different from earlier CD protection schemes, all you need to do is what Bug Muldoon said, disable autoplay.

That can be done with Tweak UI or temporarily by holding shift while you insert a CD.

Myself, I'm perfectly happy with having it completely disabled. I find it more annoying than helpful even when dealing with software I trust.

I have seen some news sites saying that disabling autoplay works, but if you check the source articles for these stories, they all say that all it does in this case is prevent the software from installing. You still can't play the CD.
- Jaeger

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abbubmah
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Microsoft issues fix in weekly antispyware update.

Finally. Somebody with some sense.

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Jaeger
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Kudos to Microsoft for finally coming off the fence on this, although I wish they had done it earlier.

- Jaeger

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Wizard of Yendor
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quote:
Originally posted by Jaeger:
I have seen some news sites saying that disabling autoplay works, but if you check the source articles for these stories, they all say that all it does in this case is prevent the software from installing. You still can't play the CD.
- Jaeger

Interesting. I wonder how they do that exactly. They still have to contain normal CD data or CD Players couldn't play them.
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FuzzDuckie
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Here is a partial list of the ones that Sony halted productions of:

  • Trey Anastasio Shine
  • Celine Dion On Ne Change Pas
  • Neil Diamon 12 Songs
  • Our Lady Peace Healthy in Paranoid Times
  • Chris Botti To Love Again
  • Van Zandt Get Right with the Man
  • SwitchFoot Nothing is Sound
  • The Coral The Invisible Invasion
  • Acceptance Phantoms
  • Sonic Suh Sonic Suh
  • America Touch
  • Life of Agony Broken Valley
  • Horace Silver Quintet Silver's Blue
  • Gerry Mulligan Jera
  • Dexter Gordon Manhattan Symphonie
  • The Bad Plus Suspicious Activity
  • The Dead 60s The Dead 60s
  • Dion The Essential Dion
  • Natasha Bedingfield Unwritten

All of them are still on shelves though- the ones that already made it out.

The Foo Fighters als have a CD ( In Your Honor) that was put out with the DRM stuff and they are NOT happy. The Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters and Switchfoot have all posted notes against the DRM trend on their websites

*List taken from an article in USA TODAY 11/14/2005

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Sara at home
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Another list from Electronic Frontier Foundation.

I think it's the same list except for Ricky Martin.

quote:
Trey Anastasio, Shine (Columbia)
Celine Dion, On ne Change Pas (Epic)
Neil Diamond, 12 Songs (Columbia)
Our Lady Peace, Healthy in Paranoid Times (Columbia)
Chris Botti, To Love Again (Columbia)
Van Zant, Get Right with the Man (Columbia)
Switchfoot, Nothing is Sound (Columbia)
The Coral, The Invisible Invasion (Columbia)
Acceptance, Phantoms (Columbia)
Susie Suh, Susie Suh (Epic)
Amerie, Touch (Columbia)
Life of Agony, Broken Valley (Epic)
Horace Silver Quintet, Silver's Blue (Epic Legacy)
Gerry Mulligan, Jeru (Columbia Legacy)
Dexter Gordon, Manhattan Symphonie (Columbia Legacy)
The Bad Plus, Suspicious Activity (Columbia)
The Dead 60s, The Dead 60s (Epic)
Dion, The Essential Dion (Columbia Legacy)
Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten (Epic)
Ricky Martin, Life (Columbia) (labeled as XCP, but, oddly, our disc had no protection)

Several other Sony-BMG CDs are protected with a different copy-protection technology, sourced from SunnComm, including:

My Morning Jacket, Z
Santana, All That I Am
Sarah McLachlan, Bloom Remix Album

That site also tells you how to identify the CDs that have it.
quote:
This is not a complete list. So how do you recognize other XCP-laden CDs in the wild?

Tip-off #1: on the front of the CD, at the left-most edge, in the transparent "spine", you'll see "CONTENT PROTECTED" along with the IFPI copy-protection logo. A few photos make this clearer.
[Photos shown on the site]

Tip-off #2: on the back of the CD, on the bottom or right side, there will be a "Compatible with" disclosure box. Along with compatibility information, the box also includes a URL where you can get help. The URL has a telltale admission buried in it: cp.sonybmg.com/xcp. That lets you know that XCP is on this disc (discs protected with SunnComm have a different URL that includes "sunncomm"



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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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abbubmah
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HAH! Much to my immediate pain, I wouldn't let my wife buy the Neil Diamond CD the other day. I had to explain this situation to her, and to a couple of friends, who were horrified that something like this could happen.

I still haven't seen the Microsoft fix. The online scan is S-L-O-W.

Re: the way the disk works - it plays fine in an audio player. I'm not sticking it back in a computer to analyze it until the protection is working. I suspect if the software is not allowed to install you would see the audio tracks.

(Oh, BTW, mine was "Switchfoot", the members of whom are really, really upset by this as well.)

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abbubmah
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"Sony says 20 titles affected"

Liars.

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Niner
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quote:
Originally posted by Wizard of Yendor:
quote:
Originally posted by Jaeger:
I have seen some news sites saying that disabling autoplay works, but if you check the source articles for these stories, they all say that all it does in this case is prevent the software from installing. You still can't play the CD.
- Jaeger

Interesting. I wonder how they do that exactly. They still have to contain normal CD data or CD Players couldn't play them.
I don't know about this one, but one of the previous methods was to put scrambled data in the error check bits. Your average music-only CD player doesn't read these, since it's reading at 1x and it makes more sense to try and just keep up with the music, rather then stop, reread, and then replay the music. A data-capable CD will read those tracks, register an error, retry reading, find the same error, and eventually give up.

The problem is, more and more consumer level devices are using these data-capable devices. I believe any unit that supports MP3 playback is affected by this, as well as DVD players.

Henry

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diddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Ole Pappy:
"Sony says 20 titles affected"

Liars.

*wipes brow in relief*
Thank goodness I dont buy too many CD's nor do any of these artest hold much of an interest to me.

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Would a professional be able to force his computer to read the CD bit by bit and then use software to fix the error-check bits in the CD image, or is the error checking build into the hardware?

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Fools! You've over-estimated me!

Posts: 3745 | From: New York City | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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