Sony a slow learner

September 6, 2007 at 11:46 am | Posted in Software, Technology | Leave a comment

A couple of years ago, Sony got into some trouble for using Virus techniques to install copy protection software if you put a their music CD in your computer. They used what is known as a “rootkit”, putting hidden files deep inside the system kernel where anti-virus and file browsing technology could not see it. This creates a couple of issues. But more seriously creates a doorway for virus makers to store their work, undetectable. They don’t even have to create the rootkit.

They’ve done it again with their fingerprint reading USB drives. While it is observed that this situation is designed to benifit the user, unlike on the CD’s, it still creates the same hole.

Microsoft has protected the kernel of the 64 bit Vista OS, blocking such behaviour. But it will take some time for such a migration to occur.

BBC reviews the issue.

The media industry in general is a little too rabid about copy protection. Yes, its true some people give copies to their friends. But a lot of the copy protection out there only handicaps legitimate use by legitimate buyers. It actually pushes some people towards file sharing sites. Real crocks bypass it anyway. In the groups I know, people exposed to work they like through copies will go on to buy their own.

And the backlash over DRM (copy protection) built into Vista has not hit the fan yet. Wait until you discover that you may have to replace your sound card, video card, and monitor to play some media on your included Media Center Vista-designed computer…

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