Posted by Andrew Brandt
Wednesday, November 02, 2005, 04:32 PM (PST)
By now, you’ve probably heard the news that Sony, the media giant, has been quietly installing hidden software on PCs, when people buy music albums published by Sony BMG Music, and try to play them on their computers. The software, called Extended Copy Protection (or XCP) uses rootkit techniques similar to those used by viruses, Trojan horse programs, and spyware to hide the fact that it is installed from the user.
The discovery, by security expert Mark Russinovich (whose outfit, Sysinternals.com, makes several free Windows utilities I find invaluable in diagnosing spyware infestations), details how Sony uses commercial software that automatically installs itself when you put a music CD in a Windows PC’s CD drive.
Russinovich’s own anti-rootkit software, Rootkit Revealer (a free download), as well as the Blacklight rootkit detection utility (made by F-Secure, an antivirus company, free until the end of the year), now detect the software used by Sony, which was licensed from a British firm called First 4 Internet. (more…)