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Trick or Treat from Sony Music - Manifestos of the Moon

About Trick or Treat from Sony Music

Previous Entry Trick or Treat from Sony Music Oct. 31st, 2005 @ 09:14 pm Next Entry
If you purchase a music CD from Sony and insert it in you computer, it may install a rootkit (user-level or kernel-level software designed to hide itself and its related files and registry keys--a common malware practice) which cloaks Sony's proprietary DRM software designed to limit copying of the music on the cd.

Sony's End User License Agreement does not mention the rootkit. Furthermore, no method is provided to uninstall it. Attempting to manually remove the rootkit can leave your cd-rom drive disabled, in fact, since the Sony software installs drivers that filter i/o to the cd-rom driver and the ide channel: a "lower filter" driver called $sys$crater to cover imapi, and an "upper filter" driver called $sys$cor.

$sys$crater and $sys$cor are hidden. Infact, the rootkit hides any files, folders, registry keys, and processes which begin with "$sys$". A quick way to find out if you have been "trick or treated" by Sony is to go to Device Manager and under the Details tab for your CD-ROM drive select "Device Lower Filters". If $sys$crater shows up it is indeed halloween. (Another way is to rename something so it starts with "$sys$" and watch it disappear.)

Mark Russinovich of SysInternals.com discovered this, and posted the details.

But the weirdest thing is that Sony is not even seriously trying to prevent illegal copying with their CD DRM scheme. Instead their target is Apple. At this point the story gets even more prankish and halloweenish, which you can read about here:

DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts
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[User Picture Icon]
Date:November 1st, 2005 10:14 am (UTC)
Wow. That IS pretty weird.

I'm not going to buy any more Sony products, ever. How can I trust that ANY of them will work correctly, now that I know how low Sony is willing to stoop?
[User Picture Icon]
Date:November 1st, 2005 10:55 am (UTC)
It's also pretty ironic that the CDs work on a Mac and not a PC. They're trying to compete with Apple, and so they make their CDs compatible with only Apple computers? Ooookay.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:November 1st, 2005 12:14 pm (UTC)
I think there logic is that since a majority of computer users own PCs that a majority of thier customers use PCs. Therefore, if they can convince their customers that Apple is to blame for the inability to play Sony CDs on a PC then those customers will lash out and boycott Apple products instead Sony products, thus forcing Apple to open up developer accees to iTunes and the iPod.

It's faulty and dishonest logic, but that is the staus quo for corparate America.

And I don't think they had a choice in making the CDs compatible with Apple run iTunes. If they created software that only impedes the importing of the files to a PC, an Apple computer wouldn't recognize it and/or even care about it. That's whay they are stooping so low. They can't break Apple's codes in order to write anything for it's software/hardware.
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