DRM Software Going Too Far

Mark Russinovich tells the frightening tale of the rootkit-style software he found on his machine, installed without his knowledge (or permission) by the DRM software on a Sony music CD.

If the technical details in his write-up are all a bit much, I’ll summarise: When Mark played the Sony CD in his Windows computer, it quietly installed some software onto his computer that used special techniques to make it appear as if no such software was there (the files were hidden from most Windows programs including explorer). Not only this, but the software provided no way to remove it (should you discover its presence) and manual attempts to remove it by one of the more talented Windows hackers in the industry were fraught with problems.

It seems that not only are music lovers treated as criminals by the music industry, but that the music industry themselves are resorting to criminal methods to try and prevent fair use! Let us be very clear here - the people that this will affect are not those that are ripping enormous quantities of music and making them available online (who disabled autorun on their cd-rom drives many years ago), it affects the average home legal music user in an underhanded, undocumented and unwarranted way.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this stuff makes me mad!

Update 1: The software phones home too! Update 2: Mark receives a response from First 4 Internet, creators of this rootkit. Mark then trashes said response.