Sony slowly going down the drain

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Rich, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Wednesday, November 2, 2005 · Last updated 8:23 p.m. PT

    Sony unit to distribute software patch

    By MATTHEW FORDAHL
    AP TECHNOLOGY WRITER

    SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After a chorus of criticism, Sony Corp.'s music
    division said Wednesday it is distributing a free software patch to
    reveal hidden files that automatically installed to hard drives when
    some of its music CDs were played on personal computers.

    The offending technology was designed to thwart music piracy.

    Sony BMG Music Entertainment and its partner, UK-based First 4
    Internet, said they decided to offer the patch as a precaution, not
    because of any security vulnerability, which some critics had alleged.

    "What we decided to do is take extra precautionary steps to allay any
    fears," said Mathew Gilliat-Smith, First 4 Internet's CEO. "There
    should be no concern here."

    The controversy started Monday after Windows expert Mark Russinovich
    posted a Web log report on how he found hidden files on his PC after
    playing a Van Zant CD. He also said it disabled his CD drive after he
    tried to manually remove it.

    Russinovich made the discovery while running a program he had written
    for uncovering file-cloaking "RootKits." In this case, the Sony
    program hid the antipiracy software from view. Similar technology also
    has been used by virus and worm writers to conceal their code.

    advertising
    A firestorm quickly erupted over what appeared to be an attempt by the
    music company to retain control over its intellectual property by
    secretly installing hidden software on the PCs of unsuspecting
    customers.

    Making matters worse, Sony did not disclose exactly what it was doing
    in its license agreement, Russinovich said. It only mentions that
    proprietary software to enable copy protection would be installed. The
    software affects only PCs running the Windows operating system.

    "The (license) makes no mention that it's going to install something
    that's going to be hidden from view, that will constantly consume CPU
    resources even if I'm not listening to music and it will have no
    uninstall capability," he said.

    Because the technology looks for a specific prefix in the filename, it
    also could be used by malware authors to mask their programs,
    Russinovich said. There's also the question of how a PC user is
    supposed to maintain a system that runs hidden programs.

    "If you've got software on your computer that you can't see, there's
    no way for you to manage it from a security point of view," he said.
    "You don't know if you need updates for it. You don't know if you
    should uninstall it because you don't know it's even there."

    Though there are no known problems with software, that could change
    and leave millions of unsuspecting PC users at risk of having their
    machines taken over by malware, said Ero Carrera, a researcher at
    F-Secure, a computer security firm.

    "The code of the application is not exactly well done," he said. "I
    would tend to believe there are people already working on finding
    exploits."

    The copy protection technology, which limits how many times a CD can
    be copied, was included on about 20 titles, including discs from The
    Bad Plus and Vivian Green, among others.

    Gilliat-Smith and Sony BMG spokesman John McKay said the technology
    had been on the market for about eight months and there had been no
    major complaints prior to Russinovich's blog post. Still, a newer,
    similar technology was in the process of rolling out before the latest
    controversy erupted.

    The patches that reveal the hidden files are being made available to
    antivirus companies as well as customers who visit the Sony BMG site.
    They do not remove the copy protection software, however.

    McKay said customers can request a program to safely uninstall
    everything by visiting the Sony BMG Web site at http://cp.sonybmg.com.
    That site, however, requires a form to be filled out and submitted.

    In a test of the form late Wednesday, an e-mail confirming receipt was
    quickly returned by Sony BMG customer service, but it included no
    instructions on how to remove the software. The message promised
    another reply "shortly."

    The process is unlike the vast majority of Windows software, which can
    be easily uninstalled - by the user, without permission - through the
    "Add or Remove Programs" tool in the operating system's control panel.

    The controversy highlights the need for rules as to what content
    providers can and can't install on PCs to protect their property, said
    Russinovich, who is co-founder and chief software architect at
    Winternals Software, which specializes in advanced systems software
    for Microsoft Windows.

    "We need to get some formality about what's legal, what's ethical and
    what's fair - and what level of disclosure there needs to be," he
    said. "It's fine for Sony to say we're not going to do that now. What
    kind of guarantee do we have they're not going to do it at a future
    date or that other companies are not going to do this?"
     
    Rich, Nov 5, 2005
    #1
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  2. Rich

    Tarkus Guest

    On 11/5/2005 10:58:06 AM, Rich wrote:

    > SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After a chorus of criticism, Sony Corp.'s music
    > division said Wednesday it is distributing a free software patch to
    > reveal hidden files that automatically installed to hard drives when
    > some of its music CDs were played on personal computers.


    If you turn AutoPlay off, this is not a problem.
    --
    "Reckon what you is wanting to know is what I'm a-doing in here."

    Now playing: "Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation - Mighty Rearranger"
     
    Tarkus, Nov 5, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Rich

    Stan Brown Guest

    Sat, 05 Nov 2005 13:58:06 -0500 from Rich <>:
    > Gilliat-Smith and Sony BMG spokesman John McKay said the technology
    > had been on the market for about eight months and there had been no
    > major complaints prior to Russinovich's blog post.


    Translation: Nobody complained about these hidden files till they
    discovered them.

    --
    Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    http://OakRoadSystems.com/
    DVD FAQ: http://dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html
    other FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
     
    Stan Brown, Nov 6, 2005
    #3
  4. Rich

    Jeff Rife Guest

    Stan Brown () wrote in alt.video.dvd:
    > Sat, 05 Nov 2005 13:58:06 -0500 from Rich <>:
    > > Gilliat-Smith and Sony BMG spokesman John McKay said the technology
    > > had been on the market for about eight months and there had been no
    > > major complaints prior to Russinovich's blog post.

    >
    > Translation: Nobody complained about these hidden files till they
    > discovered them.


    That's only partially true.

    There were many reports of random crashes of Windows machines that got
    analyzed by other people and pointed to these driver files. The problem
    is that until somebody put two and two together, nobody knew the files
    came from Sony CDs and that they weren't intentional malware.

    --
    Jeff Rife |
    | http://www.nabs.net/Cartoons/OverTheHedge/SlowInternet.jpg
     
    Jeff Rife, Nov 6, 2005
    #4
  5. Rich

    Rich Guest

    On Sat, 5 Nov 2005 23:56:44 -0500, Stan Brown
    <> wrote:

    >Sat, 05 Nov 2005 13:58:06 -0500 from Rich <>:
    >> Gilliat-Smith and Sony BMG spokesman John McKay said the technology
    >> had been on the market for about eight months and there had been no
    >> major complaints prior to Russinovich's blog post.

    >
    >Translation: Nobody complained about these hidden files till they
    >discovered them.


    Much like the hidden camera in the guy's bedroom. I'm sure he'll
    mention it when he finds it.
    -Rich
     
    Rich, Nov 6, 2005
    #5
  6. Rich

    Stan Brown Guest

    Sun, 6 Nov 2005 00:29:38 -0500 from Jeff Rife <>:
    > Stan Brown () wrote in alt.video.dvd:
    > > Sat, 05 Nov 2005 13:58:06 -0500 from Rich <>:
    > > > Gilliat-Smith and Sony BMG spokesman John McKay said the technology
    > > > had been on the market for about eight months and there had been no
    > > > major complaints prior to Russinovich's blog post.

    > >
    > > Translation: Nobody complained about these hidden files till they
    > > discovered them.

    >
    > That's only partially true.
    >
    > There were many reports of random crashes of Windows machines that got
    > analyzed by other people and pointed to these driver files. The problem
    > is that until somebody put two and two together, nobody knew the files
    > came from Sony CDs and that they weren't intentional malware.


    You're quite right. It's one of the big problems of Windows that it's
    terribly unstable, with no practical way for most people to figure
    out what caused any particular crash.

    Please understand: I was agreeing with the people who say these
    hidden files are an outrage, and satirizing the apologists who said
    "nobody's complained about this before". Clearly my satire was not an
    effective one. :)

    <rant>
    Hardly any response to a complaint is more infuriatingly stupid than
    "nobody else has complained about it". Aside from the self-evident
    fact that _someone_ has to be first, it's well known that the great
    majority of people don't complain about any particular problem, but
    either suffer in silence or stop using the product.
    </rant>

    --
    Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    http://OakRoadSystems.com/
    DVD FAQ: http://dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html
    other FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
     
    Stan Brown, Nov 6, 2005
    #6
  7. Rich

    Jeff Rife Guest

    Stan Brown () wrote in alt.video.dvd:
    > Please understand: I was agreeing with the people who say these
    > hidden files are an outrage, and satirizing the apologists who said
    > "nobody's complained about this before". Clearly my satire was not an
    > effective one. :)


    I missed it, but that doesn't mean it wasn't effective to others. :)

    > <rant>
    > Hardly any response to a complaint is more infuriatingly stupid than
    > "nobody else has complained about it". Aside from the self-evident
    > fact that _someone_ has to be first, it's well known that the great
    > majority of people don't complain about any particular problem, but
    > either suffer in silence or stop using the product.
    > </rant>


    Yeah, I have two pieces of software like that where I seem to be the only
    one with a problem, despite the fact I have the same problem on multiple
    machines with different users and configs. What's really bad is that these
    are showstoppers (one causes the program to crash every time you use a file
    open/save dialog, and the other garbles data files because of a temp file
    naming error), yet all I hear is "it must be something in your config".

    --
    Jeff Rife | "The old guy was leading a 'Simon Says' game
    | when he collapsed. On the way down he yelled
    | 'call an ambulance!', but no one moved."
    | -- Wings
     
    Jeff Rife, Nov 6, 2005
    #7
  8. Rich

    Steve K. Guest

    Rich wrote:
    > Wednesday, November 2, 2005 · Last updated 8:23 p.m. PT
    >
    > Sony unit to distribute software patch
    >
    > By MATTHEW FORDAHL
    > AP TECHNOLOGY WRITER
    >
    > SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After a chorus of criticism, Sony Corp.'s music
    > division said Wednesday it is distributing a free software patch to
    > reveal hidden files that automatically installed to hard drives when
    > some of its music CDs were played on personal computers.
    >
    > The offending technology was designed to thwart music piracy.
    >
    > Sony BMG Music Entertainment and its partner, UK-based First 4
    > Internet, said they decided to offer the patch as a precaution, not
    > because of any security vulnerability, which some critics had alleged.
    >
    > "What we decided to do is take extra precautionary steps to allay any
    > fears," said Mathew Gilliat-Smith, First 4 Internet's CEO. "There
    > should be no concern here."
    >
    > The controversy started Monday after Windows expert Mark Russinovich
    > posted a Web log report on how he found hidden files on his PC after
    > playing a Van Zant CD. He also said it disabled his CD drive after he
    > tried to manually remove it.
    >
    > Russinovich made the discovery while running a program he had written
    > for uncovering file-cloaking "RootKits." In this case, the Sony
    > program hid the antipiracy software from view. Similar technology also
    > has been used by virus and worm writers to conceal their code.
    >
    > advertising
    > A firestorm quickly erupted over what appeared to be an attempt by the
    > music company to retain control over its intellectual property by
    > secretly installing hidden software on the PCs of unsuspecting
    > customers.
    >
    > Making matters worse, Sony did not disclose exactly what it was doing
    > in its license agreement, Russinovich said. It only mentions that
    > proprietary software to enable copy protection would be installed. The
    > software affects only PCs running the Windows operating system.
    >
    > "The (license) makes no mention that it's going to install something
    > that's going to be hidden from view, that will constantly consume CPU
    > resources even if I'm not listening to music and it will have no
    > uninstall capability," he said.
    >
    > Because the technology looks for a specific prefix in the filename, it
    > also could be used by malware authors to mask their programs,
    > Russinovich said. There's also the question of how a PC user is
    > supposed to maintain a system that runs hidden programs.
    >
    > "If you've got software on your computer that you can't see, there's
    > no way for you to manage it from a security point of view," he said.
    > "You don't know if you need updates for it. You don't know if you
    > should uninstall it because you don't know it's even there."
    >
    > Though there are no known problems with software, that could change
    > and leave millions of unsuspecting PC users at risk of having their
    > machines taken over by malware, said Ero Carrera, a researcher at
    > F-Secure, a computer security firm.
    >
    > "The code of the application is not exactly well done," he said. "I
    > would tend to believe there are people already working on finding
    > exploits."
    >
    > The copy protection technology, which limits how many times a CD can
    > be copied, was included on about 20 titles, including discs from The
    > Bad Plus and Vivian Green, among others.
    >
    > Gilliat-Smith and Sony BMG spokesman John McKay said the technology
    > had been on the market for about eight months and there had been no
    > major complaints prior to Russinovich's blog post. Still, a newer,
    > similar technology was in the process of rolling out before the latest
    > controversy erupted.
    >
    > The patches that reveal the hidden files are being made available to
    > antivirus companies as well as customers who visit the Sony BMG site.
    > They do not remove the copy protection software, however.
    >
    > McKay said customers can request a program to safely uninstall
    > everything by visiting the Sony BMG Web site at http://cp.sonybmg.com.
    > That site, however, requires a form to be filled out and submitted.
    >
    > In a test of the form late Wednesday, an e-mail confirming receipt was
    > quickly returned by Sony BMG customer service, but it included no
    > instructions on how to remove the software. The message promised
    > another reply "shortly."
    >
    > The process is unlike the vast majority of Windows software, which can
    > be easily uninstalled - by the user, without permission - through the
    > "Add or Remove Programs" tool in the operating system's control panel.
    >
    > The controversy highlights the need for rules as to what content
    > providers can and can't install on PCs to protect their property, said
    > Russinovich, who is co-founder and chief software architect at
    > Winternals Software, which specializes in advanced systems software
    > for Microsoft Windows.
    >
    > "We need to get some formality about what's legal, what's ethical and
    > what's fair - and what level of disclosure there needs to be," he
    > said. "It's fine for Sony to say we're not going to do that now. What
    > kind of guarantee do we have they're not going to do it at a future
    > date or that other companies are not going to do this?"


    Sony Music = Dead Company Walking

    Boycott these bastards!
     
    Steve K., Nov 14, 2005
    #8
  9. Rich

    Bob Guest

    On Mon, 14 Nov 2005 07:46:45 GMT, "Steve K." <>
    wrote:

    >Sony Music = Dead Company Walking


    >Boycott these bastards!


    Damn Straight!


    --

    BOYCOTT SONY!

    SONY IS TRYING TO TAKE OVER YOUR COMPUTER!

    HOMELAND SECURITY TOLD SONY TO CEASE AND DESIST!

    YOU DO THE SAME - BOYCOTT SONY!
     
    Bob, Nov 14, 2005
    #9
  10. In article <FhXdf.1532$>,
    Steve K. <> wrote:
    >Rich wrote:
    >> Wednesday, November 2, 2005 · Last updated 8:23 p.m. PT
    >>
    >> Sony unit to distribute software patch
    >>
    >> By MATTHEW FORDAHL
    >> AP TECHNOLOGY WRITER
    >>
    >> SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After a chorus of criticism, Sony Corp.'s music
    >> division said Wednesday it is distributing a free software patch to
    >> reveal hidden files that automatically installed to hard drives when
    >> some of its music CDs were played on personal computers.


    [rest deleted - wjv]

    And two interesting developments. MS is adding the Sony 'rootkit'
    to their virus scanners.

    And late Friday Sony announced it is 'temporarily' stopping
    manufacture of new CDs with that technology.

    So what excactly definex 'new'. Is that brand new releases, or new
    pressings of current, of something else entirely.

    And 'temporarily' doesn't sound to good but enough people have
    complained that they have noticed.

    Lets see how they handled this further.

    Bill
    --
    Bill Vermillion - bv @ wjv . com
     
    Bill Vermillion, Nov 14, 2005
    #10
  11. Rich

    Goro Guest

    Bill Vermillion wrote:
    > In article <FhXdf.1532$>,
    > Steve K. <> wrote:
    > >Rich wrote:
    > >> Wednesday, November 2, 2005 · Last updated 8:23 p.m. PT
    > >>
    > >> Sony unit to distribute software patch
    > >>
    > >> By MATTHEW FORDAHL
    > >> AP TECHNOLOGY WRITER
    > >>
    > >> SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After a chorus of criticism, Sony Corp.'s music
    > >> division said Wednesday it is distributing a free software patch to
    > >> reveal hidden files that automatically installed to hard drives when
    > >> some of its music CDs were played on personal computers.

    >
    > [rest deleted - wjv]
    >
    > And two interesting developments. MS is adding the Sony 'rootkit'
    > to their virus scanners.
    >
    > And late Friday Sony announced it is 'temporarily' stopping
    > manufacture of new CDs with that technology.


    yeah i saw this and laffed. They're not recalling any discs; they're
    not allowing any tradeins. Their uninstall leaves gaping security
    holes.

    And so they're not "pressing any new discs". Well, gee, I'm sure that
    the demand for Van Zant CDs is so damb high.... I mean, how many YEARS
    will it take to get thru the current stock of the current DRM'd CDs?

    btw, /. has an article on the EULA that comes with the DRM'd CDs. it's
    laffable. among other things, If you have your CDs stolen, you must
    delete the music off your computer; if you move out of the country, you
    must delete the music off your computer...

    > So what excactly definex 'new'. Is that brand new releases, or new
    > pressings of current, of something else entirely.
    >
    > And 'temporarily' doesn't sound to good but enough people have
    > complained that they have noticed.
    >
    > Lets see how they handled this further.


    I can't WAIT to see what joy BluRay will bring.....

    -goro-
     
    Goro, Nov 14, 2005
    #11
  12. Rich

    Bob Guest

    On Mon, 14 Nov 2005 20:05:01 GMT, (Bill Vermillion) wrote:

    >>> SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After a chorus of criticism, Sony Corp.'s music
    >>> division said Wednesday it is distributing a free software patch to
    >>> reveal hidden files that automatically installed to hard drives when
    >>> some of its music CDs were played on personal computers.


    >And two interesting developments. MS is adding the Sony 'rootkit'
    >to their virus scanners.


    >And late Friday Sony announced it is 'temporarily' stopping
    >manufacture of new CDs with that technology.


    >So what excactly definex 'new'. Is that brand new releases, or new
    >pressings of current, of something else entirely.


    >And 'temporarily' doesn't sound to good but enough people have
    >complained that they have noticed.


    >Lets see how they handled this further.


    Homeland Security needs to issue a Terrorist Alert and confiscate all
    Sony products immediately. Then Bush needs to add Japan to the list of
    nations belonging to the Evil Axis. Apparently being bombed twice was
    not enough so it looks like we need to send them a couple of those new
    bombs ought to get someone's attention this time.

    "The Atomic Bomb: Made In America - Tested In Japan".

    Sony has managed to do what sci-fi writers could only dream of - to
    infiltrate society with devices that makes takeover possible. And
    after Microsoft gets done "fixing" the problem, no computer system
    will be unscathed.




    --

    BOYCOTT SONY!

    SONY IS TRYING TO TAKE OVER YOUR COMPUTER!

    HOMELAND SECURITY TOLD SONY TO CEASE AND DESIST!

    YOU DO THE SAME - BOYCOTT SONY!
     
    Bob, Nov 14, 2005
    #12
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