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Mark on Sony

A different kind of trick or treat.


It reads like a detective novel; it reads better than a detective novel.

On 31 October 2005 Mark Russinovich published a curious and exciting tale. The short is he bought the CD 'Get Right With The Man' by Van Zant. He didn't think to check what was on it; he didn't hold down shift when he inserted it into his computer; he runs Windows.

Using his own RootkitRevealer on a routine inspection, he was amazed to find out his own system was compromised. He had a 'rootkit' on his box, rootkit in this context being a 'cloaking device' that hides the presence of important (evil) code.

Mark was able to trace this curious piece of naively written software back to SonyBMG and a UK company that had provided it for them.

The cloaking system was just too simple: any file or directory with a '$sys$' prefix was automatically hidden from view. It didn't take hackers long to realise they'd found the perfect backdoor to infect anyone's Windows system.

Sony are taking a nonchalant stance on the whole thing, which has irked customers even more. Already boycott sites and online petitions have been set up. When Sony - or any company - can do things like this to one's personal property, it's time to pull the plug.


http://sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights.html
http://sysinternals.com/blog/2005/11/more-on-sony-dangerous-decloaking.html
http://sysinternals.com/blog/2005/11/sonys-rootkit-first-4-internet.html
http://sysinternals.com/blog/2005/11/sony-you-dont-reeeeaaaally-want-to_09.html

http://www.sonybmg.com/
http://www.first4internet.com/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4427606.stm
http://boycottsony.us/

Postscript: A Week Later

The fallout around the world for this, the third bungle of SonyBMG, has not been good and is only getting worse.

http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/
http://www.upsrow.com/sonybmg/
http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/english/faq.html
http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/english/titles.html
http://blog.sonymusic.com/sonybmg/archives/111505.html

http://news.com.com/2100-1002_3-5961560.html
http://news.com.com/2100-7350_3-5964995.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4456970.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4459620.stm
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/22/technology/22sony.html

http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=931

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