Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sony Spreads Computer Virus

Well. Not exactly. But apparently something close. Some relevant details in the link below:

http://www.eff.org/IP/DRM/Sony-BMG/

The story originally broke on the following blog:

http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/11/more-on-sony-dangerous-decloaking.html

This is slightly news to me, but apparently, it happened about three weeks ago. I had heard mention of it on a podcast (I am becomming even more of a computer/digital nerd by the second). It was revealed around the beginning of the month, that Sony has been incorporating a sort of copyright-protecting software into about 20 or more of its CDs since mid-2004. Something called a "rootkit" would be installed, hidden under the guise of music-playing software. (I don't lay absolute claim to truth on the details, see the above, this is just as I understand it so far).

So anyway, you load in one of these CDs (one of which is, I believe, an Ultimate Celine Dion collection), and under the guise of installing a music player, or something like that, itll install this "rootkit" thing- hidden, and without your knowledge. The rootkit is a sort of spyware that also makes your computer system vulnerable to hacking/intrusion. I think the program also sent information back from your computer to Sony, but again, I can't be sure. The apparent implications are, Sony has distributed hacker-like software through its CD products, with the goal of protecting CDs from copyright infringement. The whole problem is, you, the consumer, didn't know about it, and it was performing spyware activities usually associated with viruses or hackers.

Worse, Sony's first programs that offered to removie the spyware removed the "cloak," the element of the program that concealed its existence, but not the program itself. And apparently, the removal software could also do a great deal of damage to the Windows operating system. And of course, one article quoted something like this:

"And of course, Mac users around the globe continued to use their computers without issue, wondering as always why people bother using Windows anymore."

I'm beating a dead and processed horse, but like I've said, the more I read, the more Mac seems to make a great deal of sense. Though from my end, one hard drive crash later (which could just as well have happened on a Mac), this PC is still running pretty strong. My only complaint nowadays is that it has the aesthetic value of an oversized and uninspired piece of biege tupperware.