TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Sony CD Protection Sparks Security Concerns

Sony CD Protection Sparks Security Concerns

Monty Solomon (
Wed, 2 Nov 2005 00:25:11 -0500

By John Borland

Story last modified Tue Nov 01 14:15:00 PST 2005

Mark Russinovich was doing a routine test this week of computer
security software he'd co-written, when he made a surprising
discovery: Something new was hiding itself deep inside his PC's guts.

It took some time for Russinovich, an experienced programmer who has
written a book on the Windows operating system for Microsoft, to track
down exactly what was happening, but he ultimately traced it to code
left behind by a recent CD he'd bought and played on his computer.

The SonyBMG-produced Van Zant album had been advertised as
copy-protected when he'd bought it on, and he'd clicked
through an installation agreement when he put the disc in his
computer. What he later found is that the software had used a
sophisticated cloaking technique that involves a "rootkit"--something
not dangerous in itself, but a tool often used by virus writers to
hide all traces of their work on a computer.

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