After a flurry of thousands of blog postings (those pesky bloggers!) exposing the nasty malware Sony CD's had been hiding on people's computers (here's my original discussion of the situation), Sony has, predictably, made an (empty) Public Relations move.
Sony has released a "patch" which the mainstream media is covering with misleading headlines like "Sony Music issues fix to anti-piracy program." But all this "patch" does is make some of the internal files associated with their nasty program appear less hidden. It doesn't do a thing to address the majority of the problems with the malware. It doesn't remove the sneaky DRM. And, rumor has it that this patch will reinfect a machine that was previously cleansed of the malware. (Read Sony's spin here)
Here's the original list of issues from my previous article:
- 1. The hidden software is poorly written, and hogs computer resources at all times, even when CD's aren't being played.
- 2. Its hiding techniques could inadvertently make it easy for others to hide software on the machine.
- 3. It takes actions that could result in a system crash.
- 4. It disguises itself as a legitimate Windows service.
- 5. It doesn't provide a way to remove the software.
- 6. Upon manual removal of the software, the CD drive can be rendered useless.
The new Sony patch only addresses issue #2. It totally ignores the rest of them, and of course ignores the broader issue that Digital Rights Management is bad for everyone. If the movie- and music-industry owned politicians have their way, "forget, realistically, that your computer will ever be under your control again."
Here's a longer article on this subject: Sony DRM is worse than you might think.
By the way, Universal Music uses the same DRM malware. UPDATE 11/29/05: Since First 4 Internet has removed all their pages that admit to this, read the excerpts on Google's search results page instead.
My previous article for more background on this subject: Sony CD's caught installing extremely well-hidden and sketchy DRM software
UPDATE: Lawsuits against Sony for sneaky DRM, and refuted denials from malware author (Nov. 7, 2005)
UPDATE: Sony's Deteriorating DRM Mess: One Month Later (Dec. 1, 2005)