The Sony Rootkit Drama

By Deane Barker on November 9, 2005

Sony aims at pirates and hits users: This is a good overview of the rootkit mess that Sony created with its DRM system.

This has been covered a lot else where, but the gist is that Sony put DRM on an album that hid itself on users’ hard drives and attempted to make itself invisible to anti-virus and anti-spyware systems.

Bummer for them that the guy who owns Winternals Software just happened to play the album on his machine and find the rootkit, which he then revealed to the world in geeky glory. (This is something akin to attempting to rob a bank and finding that God Himself was in line to deposit His paycheck at the same time.)

I don’t know the lasting impact this is going to have, but it’s drawn attention to an interesting issue and made Sony look like an idiot in the process.



  1. This pissesme off to no end. Won’t be buying any Sony CDs for awhile ill put it that way. Besides it only work on windows and stuff protected by was availble for piracy within like 24hours. Completely ….. Lack te word for this kinda Big Bis crap and im conservative.

  2. While I certainly back Sony’s right to protect their intellectual property, this is NOT the way to do it. By stooping to the tricks of fraudsters, criminals and other pushers of Malware, Sony is no better than they are. Protection of IP does not constitute license to hack someone’s computer without their knowedge or permission.

    As I see it, Sony needs to be taught a harsh lesson – and I am certain law suits will be one way Sony is punished. Sending a Sony exec to gaol for a few weeks might send a message to the rest of the Industry that rootkits are not the way forward.

    What is worse, though, is the EULA ‘rights’ you have. See the EFF page at for more on Sony’s astonishing arrogance over their EULA.

    My personal reaction is simple: unless and until Sony pubically apologise, I’m not buying any more recordings of Sony CDs. While this is not something that, by itself, should worry Sony, I think if enough folks rebel, the message will be clear to Sony.

    As an aside, I think Sony (and the industry) has learned another lesson – try to trick your customers and you will get caught.

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