Read this article at Mark’s Sysinternals Blog about how a Sony copy-protected CD installed a rootkit on his system, and the lengths he had to go to to get the normal functions of his PC back. I’ll wait.
Back? Confused? Let me summarize:
- By inserting this Sony CD in his computer, Mark’s computer was infected with software that installed hidden processes, modified his CD drivers, and tricked the OS into hiding any directory that started with the sequence $SYS$.
- Using the features in this software (commonly called a rootkit), the Sony DRM could monitor how many times it was being played and limit the burning of music contained on the CD to another disc. However, it also makes the user’s computer vulnerable to other infections.
- When Mark tried to uninstall the software by deleting it, his CD drive completely stopped working.
Over the line? Sony obliterated the line long ago. This is egregious. As one Slashdot poster points out, this inverts the argument about P2P networks being hives of spyware, trojans, and viruses. We no longer have to go to P2P networks to infect our computers; they now get infected by music produced by the major labels.
As if that wasn’t enough: first, Sony’s artists, such as Van Zant, whose CD infected Mark’s computer, have nothing to gain and everything to lose from this DRM madness. Second, technically Mark is now a criminal for undoing the damage that Sony did to his system, thanks to the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA.
As of this moment, I’m boycotting all Sony products—music, movies, video games, electronics. And I call on others to do the same. It’s simple. If you treat me with disrespect, I stop doing business with you; if you treat me as a criminal, I call you on it; if you ship a product that disables my computer, it’s war.
Because make no mistake, this is war. More to come; watch this space.